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Written On The Wrist

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The thing about the Mate Mark was that it didn’t mean you’d find your soul mate. It just meant you had one. And everyone had one. Your soul mate could be anybody, anywhere on the planet. Sometimes the names were written in languages you couldn’t read, sometimes they were full names, sometimes they were nicknames, sometimes they were names of a gender you weren’t usually attracted to. And sometimes they were extremely common names, which made you think you’d found your soul mate at age thirteen, just because the name on your dominant hand’s wrist and the name of the first girl you fancied were the same. The strangest thing was that sometimes, very rarely, the name changed.

John Watson boarded a plane to Afghanistan with the name Mary on his wrist, beneath the privacy band. When he woke up in a British hospital, with a bullet in his shoulder and the sinking feeling that nothing would ever be the same, he saw that the name on his wrist was longer. Now it read William. He stared at it in horror for a long time, until the morphine pulled him back into unconsciousness.

Later, when he’d rejoined society to some degree, he decided that it didn’t matter. He trusted the Mate Mark, and he knew that if his soul mate truly were a man, then he would have to be a spectacular man. He certainly didn’t think his Mark was lying to him. But he couldn’t fathom it, couldn’t even imagine a man affecting his life that way, so completely. Because it was very unusual for soul mates not to engage in every level of affection – romantic, sexual, friendly, the whole hog. It wasn’t impossible, just unlikely. John spent a few days eyeing up men surreptitiously in pubs and found they did absolutely nothing for him. He decided to push it from his mind. Most people never found their soul mates anyway. Most people settled down with whomever they thought was good enough. It was normal, and John felt he was nothing if not painfully, obviously normal.

 

“Mr. Holmes,” John said, limping over to the tall man crawling out of a cab.

“Sherlock, please,” he said, extending his hand. John smiled and took it.

 

There was something in the way Sherlock moved. He slid about, surprising John constantly in their flat. One moment, John thought he was lounging on the sofa, the next he was sitting in the kitchen in front of his microscope, the next he was curled up in his chair, begging for tea. He was a sly cat of a man and John found it very entertaining.

But there was more – it wasn’t just that Sherlock managed to slink around without John noticing. When he ran after a suspect, he ran. He pursued. His whole body was dedicated to his task, and when he slammed them into the ground or against the wall with a triumphant gasp, the thrill of victory evident in his eyes, John thought he looked positively mystical.

When he told Mycroft Holmes that he was “never bored,” John thought he’d rarely ever spoken a truer statement. He knew Sherlock would take it as a compliment, and he felt rewarded at Sherlock’s little smile.

 

John was kidnapped. It happened a little too often for his liking since he’d met Sherlock, but this time it was particularly awful because this time, he was strapped to Semtex. There were red lights pointed at him – he could see them shining – but what held his attention now was the look on Sherlock’s face. The look of terror, of betrayal, and he wanted this psycho who’d kidnapped him to say something to assure Sherlock that John hadn’t – wouldn’t, couldn’t – betray him.

“What would you like me to make him say next?” John repeated after the voice in his ear, pulling open the jacket to reveal the bomb. Sherlock’s eyes widened further, and it wasn’t any better, because he still looked horrified. But then his emotions slid beneath a mask, and John waited.

Moriarty left and Sherlock dropped to his knees, pulling the bomb off of John frantically. His head fell back and he gasped for air as Sherlock questioned him. He heard Sherlock shove the bomb across the floor and he leaned against the wall.

His heart was pounding, and he wanted to laugh. Above him, Sherlock looked lost, confused, and John knew he needed to ground his friend back to earth.

“I’m glad no one saw that,” he said.

“Hm?”

“You, ripping my clothes off in a darkened swimming pool. People might talk.”

“They do little else,” said Sherlock, calming down. He grinned at John, and John relaxed. They were safe, they’d survived, no one had been blown up, and John felt such an immense sense of satisfaction at the smile he’d put on Sherlock’s face.

Of course, the rug was pulled back from underneath them. The standoff, the mutually assured destruction, and then, somehow, after a phone call, it was over. Moriarty walked out, snapping his fingers and the red dots lifted away.

 

They carried on. They solved crimes. John blogged about it. Sometimes, Sherlock was unbearable, so John would go out and get pints with Greg or Mike if he needed an evening of normality. But in general, John found that he was happy. He looked at the name William on his wrist and scoffed.

 

He’d never told anyone about the change. Everyone who knew about his Mate Mark thought it still said Mary. So when he introduced Sherlock to Harry, she had no idea.

“Wow, Sherlock,” she said. “John’s not even looking for Mary anymore now he’s met you.”

“Mary?” asked Sherlock, raising an eyebrow.

“His soul mate,” said Harry, waggling her eyebrows. She was tipsy. John clenched his teeth and tightened his privacy band to the point where it hurt. “Aw, look how embarrassed he is. Yeah, John’s Mate Mark says Mary. Isn’t that sad? He’ll never find her with a common name like that. But he’s not even interested in her anymore, whoever she is. He’s got you now.”

“How utterly fascinating,” said Sherlock sarcastically, glaring at Harry and fiddling with his privacy band. Sherlock got along with Harry even worse than John did, much to John’s satisfaction.

 

Soon enough, they met Irene Adler. John walked in and there was a naked woman straddling Sherlock and what he felt was not lust. He didn’t wish he was in Sherlock’s place. With the prick of envy in his heart, he wished she would get away from what was his. She moved away, and the world righted itself.

She flashed her wrists along with the rest of her body, effectively distracting John because they were blank. He’d never heard of such a thing – someone without a Mate Mark. He saw Sherlock’s eyes linger on her wrists for a moment too long, but then Sherlock barreled on with their plan, and though he was astonished, John thought no more of it. Sherlock and Irene were not soul mates. That was all John needed to know.

 

After Irene Adler, John noticed that Sherlock began to wear his privacy band constantly. Sherlock usually wore long sleeves that covered the Mate Mark anyway, but occasionally he’d go without it during his sulks. Now, though, Sherlock would lay on the sofa with his right arm curled defensively into his chest, band tightened, wrist to his breastbone. This added precaution made John’s curiosity burn. He’d never given a single thought to Sherlock’s Mate Mark until it was conspicuously covered, and he found himself desperate to know what it said.

He’d heard that sometimes soul mates were not reciprocal. They usually were, but it was generally a social nightmare if they weren’t, and most explained it away with “this is obviously not the Insert Name Here I was meant to find.” They insisted there was another person with that name out there, with their own name on the wrist. Perhaps some of them were right.

Perhaps Sherlock had the name Irene gently scripted onto his wrist. For some reason, the thought made John angry. First he was angry that Irene wouldn’t reciprocate, but then he realized he didn’t want her to anyway. He didn’t want anyone to come between him and Sherlock. He wanted their life, together, solving crimes and arguing and making tea, to last forever between them. He didn’t want anything to change. He watched Sherlock mourn for this woman he barely knew – but perhaps the woman who completed him – and resolved that he was done with the dating for now. He didn’t want to meet anyone new – not the Mary he’d been meant for before or the William he was supposedly meant for now. He wanted this life with Sherlock more than any soul mate.

He comforted himself with the thought that if Sherlock’s wrist did read Irene, it meant that Sherlock was done looking as well. Mycroft had assured John that Irene Adler was dead, and her Mate Mark had been blank anyway, so all that was left was the life Sherlock had with John. John was content to be second-best in Sherlock’s life, as long as he still had Sherlock with him.

 

And then it all fell apart, as good things in John’s life were wont to do. Sherlock stood on the roof of Bart’s Hospital and plunged, and John felt his whole life come crashing down with him. He shoved his way through the crowd in front of Sherlock – Sherlock’s body – pleading, insisting, saying whatever would get him closer, because this was unbearable, impossible.

But it was true. Sherlock was dead. And John could feel how much he loved Sherlock in every nerve. The realization was just as agonizing as Sherlock’s death, because he understood. He understood why Sherlock was more important than dating. He understood how a man could completely alter his life, make him burn with desire and hope and love, just as much as a woman could.

His therapist suggested looking for William, but John couldn’t bear it.

“No,” he said, shaking his head lightly. There would be no men. Sherlock would be the only man, because he was the most exceptional man John had ever met. He didn’t want a man. He wanted Sherlock.

But after all, the point was irrelevant, because Sherlock was dead.

John pleaded with his gravestone, begging for a miracle he knew wasn’t really coming, but he had to get the words out, to beg for Sherlock to fix it. He didn’t tell the black stone about how much he loved Sherlock, though. It was a secret he decided he’d take to his own grave.

 

John worked. He avoided talking to Greg. He only took off his privacy band to shower. He felt his muscles getting weaker, because he no longer ran after Sherlock running after criminals. On the first anniversary of Sherlock’s death, he went to the grave and tried not to cry. The next day, he moved out of Baker Street.

 

London felt grey. Even on sunny summer days, John felt like the colour had been sucked out of the world. He forgave Greg for his mistakes in the Moriarty fiasco when Sherlock’s name was officially cleared. They went out for pints, and for the first time in nearly a year and a half, John felt a spark of something.

Certainly not happiness. But something beyond the numbness he’d been experiencing for ages. He and Greg toasted to Sherlock’s memory, swapped stories – both the horrific and incredible ones – and John laughed. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d laughed. Greg looked startled, but then he smiled, and John was glad. He wondered if maybe he could possibly begin to move on. Or if not move on, then at least move forward.

 

A new nurse began working at John’s surgery soon after John began his weekly pints with Greg. Her name was Mary, and John jolted as he remembered the name on his wrist from long ago. He knew it was rather pointless now – Sherlock was gone and his wrist said William anyway – but he felt drawn to her. She was blonde and had a pretty smile and a laugh that made him want to be the cause of it. He realized he hadn’t had a date for years, and so he asked her to dinner. She said yes.

He fell in love with her. It wasn’t the same as what he felt for Sherlock, but it was love, and it was enough. They moved in together after two months. Every day, John felt his life with Sherlock receding behind him, and some days it was almost impossible to bear. Moving forward was just as difficult and living in the past. But now he had Mary, who held his hand as he sat still as a stone on the sofa, staring forward, blinking back tears.

“Do you want to talk about him?” she asked one day and he turned to look at her, astonished. They’d never brought Sherlock up, not once. She raised her eyebrows. “Do you really think I didn’t know I was dating the man who blogged about Sherlock Holmes?” she asked, and John broke. He let out a cracked laugh and a tear slid down his cheek.

“He… He…” He couldn’t get the words out.

“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to,” she said softly, but John shook his head.

“I can’t believe I lost him,” John said. “I was… so in love with him.” God, it felt like freedom to say it out loud. “And I didn’t know it. I didn’t save him even though that’s what I was there to do. That’s all I wanted was to save him.”

“You were in love with him?” asked Mary. Her voice was still soft, but there was a hint of surprise. John nodded, trying to swallow the lump in his throat.

“He’s dead, though,” he said. “He’s gone. I was in love with him then. But I have you, now.” He squeezed her hand.

“I want to show you something,” Mary said, and she unloosened her privacy band. On her wrist was John’s own name, and the lump in John’s throat grew. He opened his mouth to speak, but Mary cut him off. “From the sound of it, my name isn’t on yours.” He looked at her and pulled off his own band.

She stared at his arm, uncomprehending. “Not… not Sherlock?”

“No,” he said. “But… I’m not looking for William, whoever he is. I don’t want any man to replace Sherlock. I just want to move forward.” He thought about telling her that his Mate Mark had changed after the war from her name to William. But he decided not to, because as much as he wanted this to work, there was no guarantee that he was the John on her wrist.

Mary nodded slowly.

“Do you… still want to be together?” John asked. He didn’t know what he’d do without her if she said no.

“I’m going to be honest with you, John,” she said, taking his hands. He nodded. “I thought it was Sherlock’s name on your wrist. I thought… if that was so, then it would be alright because… well, because he’s dead. I thought that meant that… I wasn’t in danger of losing you. Because I love you, John, so much, already. It came on so quickly. I’m as sure as I can be that the John on my wrist is you, because I’ve dated a lot of Johns. And none of them felt anything remotely like this.”

She ran her thumb of the back of his hand and he wished he could love her more.

“But now I know there’s someone out there better for you than I am,” she said. “William. He could be dead, he could be alive, he could live in Canada, or he could be down the street for all we know.”

“But that doesn’t –”

“Let me finish,” she said. “It’s possible that you’ll meet him and it’s possible you won’t. And so you say, you aren’t planning on going looking for him. So, with all that taken into consideration, I think you’re a risk worth taking.” She smiled at him and John had never felt so relieved. He squeezed her hands, pulled her close, and kissed her. He would prove to her than she was what he wanted, Mate Mark or no.

 

He went out a bought a ring. He made reservations at a very fancy restaurant in the city. He told her to get dressed up for their six-month anniversary. He told Mrs. Hudson that he was moving on now. He started writing his proposal speech in his head. He looked up from the menu into the eyes of a dead man.

 

With John’s ring on her finger, Mary was good to Sherlock. She encouraged them. She supported John reconnecting with him. And, much to John’s surprise, she never once hinted at fear or jealousy with Sherlock’s return. She never joked about John’s previous feelings, either, which John found immensely relieving.

Sherlock, for his part, was astonishing. He seemed to like Mary just as much as he liked John. He welcomed her with John and, for the first time, made no effort to separate John from his romantic attachment. John wasn’t sure how to feel about it, so he settled for pleased. Unannoyed. Perhaps grateful.

When Sherlock started helping Mary plan the wedding, though, John was confused. He came home and found Mary and Sherlock in the living room, spreadsheets everywhere, colour samples on the floor, and a bridal magazine in Sherlock’s hands. He stared at them until Sherlock pulled him out of it.

“Wake up, John, we need your opinion on some things,” he said loudly and John jumped.

“Right,” he said.

“Want some wine?” asked Mary, standing from the sofa and walking over to him. “I was just about to get some for Sherlock and I.”

“Sure,” said John, unsure of what else to say. Mary kissed him on the cheek and went into the kitchen. John walked over and sat in his chair, looking over at Sherlock.

“So, why are you helping plan my wedding?”

“Because you have awful taste and Mary asked me to,” said Sherlock with no hesitation, turning a page in the magazine. He picked up a pen and made a note.

“But you… don’t usually…” John wasn’t sure how to ask it. Sherlock was doing more than tolerating Mary. John wasn’t sure what to think about it.

“Well, she is your… whatever,” says Sherlock, flapping his hand in the direction of John’s left arm, and it came together. He remembered the conversation with Harry from years ago. Sherlock thought that the name on his wrist was Mary.

“Oh right,” said John. He wondered if he should correct Sherlock. But perhaps not. The current dynamic was a bit uncomfortable, but John found he wanted Sherlock to have a relationship with Mary. He wanted them to get along. And even Sherlock wouldn’t help plan the wedding if he didn’t actually enjoy Mary’s company somewhat. No. It didn’t matter anyway, because John was never going to meet William.

Mary came back with wine, and Sherlock barraged John with questions about colours and cakes and table decorations, taking notes all the while.

 

Sherlock blinked with surprise as he figured out that he was John’s best friend. John’s heart twisted and everything he’d felt for Sherlock came rushing back. He wanted to reach out and take Sherlock’s hand, kiss him, promise him that they would always be together. But then Sherlock said “Yes, of course, best man,” and John remembered. He said “Great,” and left.

 

Sherlock still wore his privacy band. Just before he stood to make his speech at the wedding, John saw him tighten it.

 

There was no longer any doubt in John’s mind that his Mary was the Mary on his wrist before the war. It had to be because she was no longer what John needed. She’d shot Sherlock. Shot him. Tried to kill him. Sherlock said it was no such thing, but John couldn’t quite believe it.

She’d given him the flashdrive with her whole horrible history on it. He turned it over between his fingers every day, unable to convince himself to look but incapable of getting rid of it either. It had raised so many questions. The most important of them to John, though, was whether she’d done it to remove Sherlock from his life. Did she see him as competition? John hadn’t decided if that was a founded accusation himself.

He stayed at Baker Street for a few weeks, staring alternately at the flashdrive with Mary’s real initials on them, his wedding band, and the back of Sherlock’s head as he did experiments.

He could end this. He could end this marriage and have Sherlock again, he knew it. They were going on cases again and in the post-case adrenaline high, sometimes John forgot that any of it had ever happened. He realized that he could have that again, for real.

But there was a baby now. Mary was pregnant. He had a responsibility to the child, whether or not he stayed with Mary. With that realization, John understood that it would never be the same again, just as it was never the same after he woke up in hospital with a bullet in his shoulder. So he moved back in with Mary and tried to start over. He tried to remember what he loved about her. He tried to forget that she’d almost fatally injured one of the most important people in John’s life. He did not look at the flashdrive.

 

At Christmas, he’d made his decision. He could still have all of the people who mattered, even if it wasn’t all the way he wanted. He could still have Sherlock and the child and the woman who’d healed him in the wake of Sherlock’s death. He knew just as much of Mary’s past as he knew of what Sherlock had done in the two years away. So he threw the flashdrive into the fireplace and hugged the woman he married.

 

Only a few hours later, Sherlock killed a man for the Watsons. Magnussen had laughed and crowed over them, and Sherlock had killed him. For Mary. For John. And John could not understand why.

Sherlock was taken away. Mycroft kept John as informed as he could. Mary reached out to him and John buried himself in her comfort. It was all he had left. Weeks passed before a decision was made about Sherlock’s future; until one day, Mycroft’s name popped up on John’s phone.

“Yes?” he said.

“The deliberations are at an end,” said Mycroft. His voice was cool. “Sherlock will be sent away from England. His skills will be put to use for Queen and country, so he will be kept busy. But he will not return.” John let out a breath.

“Can I –”

“You and your wife may see him one last time. He leaves tomorrow morning. I’ll send a car. You’ll be picked up at eight.” With that, Mycroft hung up.

 

John got out of the car and saw Sherlock standing across the tarmac. He shoved down every emotion. He wouldn’t have Sherlock remembering him as a weepy, broken man. He would be happy in Sherlock’s memory. He would be boring in Sherlock’s memory. It was easier to be boring than it was to let the truth of this take over him. He’ll live the lie, just to make Sherlock Holmes’s last actions for him worthwhile.

Everything he’d already known was staring him in the face: that he’d made the wrong choice. Ever since Sherlock had jumped from the roof of Bart’s three years ago, John had been making all of the wrong choices. He looked up into Sherlock’s beautiful face and realized he’d never get to let his thumb stroke over his cheekbone. He’d never get his hands into those curls. He would never find out how that lush cupid’s bow felt against his lips. He hadn’t realized that he’d been operating under the assumption that those things would still happen. John had spent his entire marriage ignoring the fact that he expected to end up with Sherlock, in every way he could end up with Sherlock.

But now it was truly being denied to him. That future was not an option because Sherlock was leaving, going away forever. And if Sherlock’s last action was to keep Mary and John safe, John would oblige. He would be strong and he would continue on. He would do what he had to do.

 

“Since it is likely that this will be the last conversation I ever have with John Watson, would you mind if we took a moment?”

They left them alone and John couldn’t face it, couldn’t face Sherlock. He couldn’t bear to lose him all over again.

“So, here we are,” he said, aching for it to be over but wishing to draw their goodbye out as long as he could. There was a pause, and then –

“William Sherlock Scott Holmes,” Sherlock said, and John turned and gaped at him. “That’s the whole of it,” Sherlock added. “If you’re looking for baby names.”

“What?” said John. Sherlock smiled sadly.

“William Sher –”

“W-William?” John repeated, staring at Sherlock. His heart was beating hard in his chest and he’d never been so terrified in his life.

“Ye-es,” said Sherlock, now eyeing him uncertainly. “I just thought that maybe you could honor my excellence in your child. What are you doing?” As Sherlock spoke, John was pulling at his privacy band. He ripped it off and thrust out his left hand to Sherlock, staring at him in a mix of horror and perfect understanding.

Sherlock paused, then his curiosity overtook him and he stepped forward. He took John’s hand delicately between his own and saw the name written there. William. He looked up at John, his face utterly blank. John had no idea what to think. There was no surprise, no reproach, nothing.

Sherlock shoved the sleeve of his great coat up and carefully loosened his own privacy band. He slipped it into his pocket and held out his arm.

John.

The name on his wrist… was John.

He stared at John and John stared back. He had no idea what to do.

“I hadn’t… meant to tell you this,” Sherlock said. “I was just going… going to go. I thought… I thought… You said,” Sherlock said accusingly. “When you were engaged, you said she was – And Harry said, and you didn’t contradict her either!”

“Mary’s name was on my wrist before Afghanistan,” said John. “When I woke up in hospital after I got shot, it said William. I thought… I thought yours said Irene. You never took your band off after you met her.”

“Mine was blank for years,” said Sherlock. “Blank like hers. I wore the band to keep people from staring and asking stupid questions. But after the pool, and after what Harry said, it changed, and I saw you look at The Woman’s wrists… I thought you’d look at mine and see your name there.” John could hear the fear behind his words. It was the same fear he’d felt when his own Mark had changed. They were special that way – they’d both had their Marks change for each other. John reached out, joyous, determined to touch him, to kiss him, now that this last hurdle had finally been overcome. But Sherlock stepped back. John could see that it pained him to do so, but he did.

“No,” he said. “No, John. I have to leave. I’m going and I’m not coming back. These are the consequences and I – I must have them. I need you to promise me you’ll be happy.”

John said nothing. He stared at Sherlock. His body ached as Sherlock took a few more steps back, then turned and walked towards the aircraft. Mary walked over to him and slipped her hand into his.

“Where’s your band, love?” she asked.

The plane took off and John watched it carry his soul mate into the air, away. He wondered if he’d ever be able to contact Sherlock again, even if they never saw each other. He wondered how long Sherlock would be able to bear working for Mycroft before he lost it. He wondered if Sherlock might come back anyway.

 

The plane turned. John’s eyes bugged. Sherlock swept out of it, smiling so widely, so beautifully that John thought he’d die from happiness.

“Did you miss me?” Sherlock asked.

Sherlock descended from the plane with a flourish. He strode up to John, his smile widening as he got closer and closer, and he stopped abruptly. They were chest to chest. He grabbed John’s face and kissed him. John grabbed the coat and pulled Sherlock closer, kissing him back.

This was what it felt like to kiss his soul mate. The person who was perfect for the man he had become. He knew, now, how the cupid’s bow felt against his lips. He was complete in a way he hadn’t known he could be. It was better than post-case takeaway, better than getting married. It was simply the best.

Sherlock broke off the kiss and wound his arms around John’s shoulders.

“We will never be apart again,” he said. “I don’t care what it takes.”

John nodded against him, trying to reign in his emotions, trying to keep himself in check. He was in danger of crying.

“Excuse me?” said Mary incredulously. “What are you doing with my husband, Sherlock?”

“His name,” said John, “is William Sherlock Scott Holmes.”

Mary said nothing, and in her silence John read her understanding. But he could not feel unhappy, even while he hurt Mary. Not when he had everything he wanted in his arms. He looked up at Sherlock, who had tears in his eyes.

“What are you crying for?” asked John, his voice quiet.

“I’m not crying,” said Sherlock, laughing. A tear escaped and slid down his cheek, and John didn’t even try to stop his hand as it moved towards Sherlock’s face. He brushed his thumb along Sherlock’s sharp cheekbone, brushing away the tear, and Sherlock closed his eyes.

“Nothing stops you,” said John.

“No, well, I’m the peak of excellence in humanity,” said Sherlock. He moved back a bit, letting his hands slide down John’s arms, and turned to Mary. “Sorry,” he said, and John was surprised to hear that it was not completely sarcastic. Mary shook her head.

“No,” she said. “Don’t be.”

“I don’t actually intend to be, since you shot me,” said Sherlock, unforgiving. “I wanted him to be happy, so I took care of you both. Don’t expect that from now on. But… I am sorry for you. I know what it feels like to lose him.” Sherlock’s hands tightened on John’s arms. “I suppose I can pity you that.”

Mary nodded. “And now what, for me?” she asked.

“Go on and do what you like,” said Sherlock, looking away from her back to John. “Mycroft will have the divorce done within the day. And the fact that John and I have each other’s names on our Marks will speed even that along. Goodbye, Mary.”

John turned to look at her.

“Mary,” he said. “I’m…”

“Don’t,” she said. “Just. Don’t.” She tightened the band around her wrist. “Goodbye, John.”

“Goodbye,” he said, and she walked away. On her way over to Mycroft, presumably to ask for a lift elsewhere, she passed John’s band on the ground. He pushed himself away from Sherlock and went over to pick it up. He was about to put it back on, but Sherlock stopped him.

“No,” he said. He pulled John’s wrist to his lips and kissed it. “Don’t cover it up yet. I haven’t memorized it.” John smiled and looked at Sherlock’s Mate Mark. Just as before, John hadn’t imagined it: His own name, legible in Sherlock’s skin. He let his thumb outline the J, and Sherlock shuddered.

“John,” he said, and John looked up. Sherlock leaned his forehead against John’s. “This never even entered my mind as a possible outcome.”

“You know you should never draw conclusion without all the data.”

“It helps if people don’t withhold relevant data,” said Sherlock, and he leaned forward and kissed John. John melted into the kiss, perfectly content. He twined his fingers between Sherlock’s and nothing in his life had ever seemed more right.