For one very long and very foolish (he would say terrifying, were he to allow himself to think such a thought) moment, Sherlock wonders if this could truly be the end.
All of his planning--from his “death” to his systematic disassembling of Moriarty’s network--might be for naught as he enters his temporary rooms and senses the presence of someone, seated, in the dark. How very cliche, to truly die like some character out of a Cold War novel.
If he’s going to face death, truly die, for who else but his killer would break into his rooms and wait in the darkness for his return, he should at least see his angel of death. He reaches for the light.
Sherlock never expects the figure in the chair to be John.
“This has to end,” John says, his voice a command and betraying no emotion.
John’s face is thinner, his shoulders drawn forward almost imperceptibly. The months since Sherlock had last seen him have taken their toll and there’s a bright twist in Sherlock’s chest.
“John.” Sherlock had known John was no ordinary man. He had never quite realized, however, how extraordinary John Watson was.
“I need you to come home.”
There, on the last word, John’s voice breaks. And it breaks something in Sherlock as well, a wave of emotion crests and crashes and Sherlock is in front of John before he can think. He kneels on the floor and reaches for John’s hands as a drowning man might reach for a life preserver.
“I’m taking you home,” John says, leaning forward.
After that, all other words become unnecessary.