to your scattered bodies go
"You're back then," John said, his face tight.
Sherlock blinked at him from the doorstep, knowing that John was cataloging the differences: his face thinner than before, curls cropped to nothing above a tan he certainly hadn't acquired in Britain.
"Obviously," he agreed with a pale assumption of his old arrogance.
John's lips had thinned to invisibility under the pressure he was putting on them. A long moment dragged by before he gritted out a few words from between clenched teeth.
"I'll let you know when I think I can talk to you without violence," he said and closed the door very carefully in Sherlock's face.
Inside a woman's voice called, "Who was it dear?"
"Just a ghost," John's voice called back. "I'll tell you later."
Sherlock stood there a few minutes longer, watching the light upstairs turn off and the telly switch on in the sitting room. Two shadows behind the curtains seated themselves in front of it.
Sherlock sat on the steps and listened to the sounds of evening in British suburbia.
Sherlock heard the footsteps as they approached the door and it creaked open. "Who knew?" John asked in the unyielding tones of a commissioned officer of the British Army.
"Molly and Mycroft," Sherlock stated with equal brevity. He stood up to face John.
"Molly..." John drew a couple of deep breaths. "I see. Why?"
"Snipers with orders to kill the three of you if I didn't jump. All Moriarty's back-up plans and associates had to go before it was safe to come back."
It wasn't the answer John had been expecting. "Thr... Mrs Hudson. And ... me, and... Mycroft?"
Something cracked behind John's stone facade. He drew a shaky breath. "You knew," he accused, "You had to know. You must have known what it would do to ..." He broke off, struggling for composure.
Sherlock's fists tightened at his sides and unconsciously he leaned forward. "You lived. That had to be my priority, John. You're alive. You, and Mrs Hudson and Lestrade, you all lived."
Slowly John's face crumpled. "Sherlock. God, Sherlock!" It was despair and hope and entreaty, a word dragged from the depths.
Sherlock reached for him and found John's breath sobbing into his shoulder as their arms went around each other.
"John," he said, allowing himself the moment, burying his face in John's hair, breathing in John and home.
Behind John in the hall a woman who must be Mary was leaning back against the wall, her tears streaming down her face. Sherlock raised his head and met her eyes, wondering what he would see in them, but he saw only a deep thankfulness. She straightened up and gave him a tremulous smile.
"Won't you come in, Mr Holmes," she invited. "It's good to meet you at last."