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"To the very best of times, John."

It struck him to his core. His heart ached. John took a deep breath and walked over to Mary. She looked up at him and gave him a small smile as he stood next to her. He couldn't look at her. Must keep it together. It played in a loop in his mind. Must keep it together. You can break down later. Cry later. When you're alone.

Alone.

Sherlock was leaving him alone. Again.

Yes, he wasn't technically alone, but when the person you are left with is a big fat liar and the singular cause of your best friend leaving AGAIN, you tend to not be too pleased with that, but what could he do? The Plan had gone haywire and now he was stuck with her. And who was he kidding? Sherlock wasn't just his best friend. He was his everything. His life. #sherlocklives means #johnwatsonlives.

Don't think about that. Must keep it together.

"Hey. You ok?"

John snapped back to reality. What kind of a question was that? Of course he wasn't ok! His life was falling apart piece by piece in front of his very eyes!

"Yeah," he cleared his throat and nodded, his eyes still on the plane. "Fine."

Mary smiled and hooked her arm in his. John immediately went still. They hadn't touched each other since Christmas. Not really.

He sighed and forced himself to accept her touch. Maybe it would help alleviate some of the pain.

"Should we go?" Mary whispered.

"No!" maybe that was a little harsh. He cleared his throat. "Er.. no let's just... stay a little while longer."

She nodded and followed his gaze to the plane.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting for the inevitable, the plane took off and John's heart broke into a thousand little pieces. He couldn't stay. He couldn't leave. He was stuck to the ground beneath him watching his life fall apart.

The plane had been in the air for exactly 243 seconds when Mycroft got out of his posh car and told them the news. God, he never thought he'd be so unabashedly happy that a certain consulting criminal was back from the dead, but he was. He really really was. He breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Mary. The look on her face was anything but relieved.

"But you told me he was dead, Moriarty."

"He was. Blew his own brains out."

"So how can he be back."

"Well if he is, he better wrap up warm. There's an East Wind coming." John could feel the smile on his face as he said those words.

Sherlock was coming back. His everything. His life. And that was all that mattered.

~~~~~~~~

"To the very best of times, John."

It sounded so cliche, but it was the undeniable truth. Sherlock had been half a man before he met John. Living half a life. The times spent with John were undeniably the very best.

It had been complete and utter torture walking away from John. From his life. From the one person who mattered. He was leaving him. Again. His heart couldn't take it. The heart that he wouldn't even know he had if it weren't for John. The irony of this was not lost on him.

He looked out the window to see John standing near Mary with her arm in his. He couldn't bare to look. He couldn't look away. His eyes refused to focus on anything but John. His John. The love of his life. He did his best to blink away the tears.

The engines rolled and Sherlock was brought back to himself. He could do this. He could. He'd left John to save him before. He could do it again.

Of course, the first time around he had been stupidly unaware of just how much he would miss John. How completely and utterly head over heels he was for the man. How John was his very reason for living.

Stop that. Get a hold of yourself. You have to do this. There is no other option.

That was the truth. He'd made his bed and now would lie in it.

When John had come to him with the flashdrive Sherlock jumped at the chance to help him. To save him. Seeing what Mary had done to those people...it made him physically ill. He had to save John. Save him from her. That monster of a woman. He was determined to.

But unfortunately things didn't pan out the way Sherlock expected -they never do- and he was forced to do the only thing he could think to keep John safe.

Kill Magnussen. Get himself out of the picture. Keep Mary happy.

Once the first two were done, the third would come naturally. The only variable here was John. He had to stay with her. Even though the thought made Sherlock's heart ache.

"Sir? It's your brother."

He'd only been in the air 243 seconds and the plane was turning around.

He had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. He'd spent 2 years dismantling Moriarty's network for christ's sake! How in the hell was he back? It didn't matter. He was going back. Back to John. And that was all that mattered.

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

"Perhaps Mrs. Watson should return home." Mycroft appeared at John's side. "London is in danger and Sherlock will undoubtedly require your assistance, Dr. Watson. I would be happy to provide a security escort to ensure her safety."

John had never been Mycroft's biggest fan, but at the moment he could practically kiss the man.

"RightyesMaryyoushouldgo." He tried not to sound too eager. It wasn't working.

"No. I'm staying. You can't leave me alone!" Mary insisted.

Before John could respond, Mycroft chimed in. "That wasn't a suggestion, Mary. You will be escorted home by one of my top agents. This is a matter of National Security. End of discussion."

Mary's face went cold and hard. "Fine." she whispered as Mycroft's minion escorted her to the car.

John allowed himself to relax. "Thanks for that."

Mycroft smirked. "Trust me. I wanted her here just as much as you did, Doctor."

That made John chuckle. Of course Mycroft knew. He always knew everything.

"We'll discuss this more once Sherlock gets settled back in."

Just as Mycroft had said that the door to the plane had opened and Sherlock appeared at the top of the stairs.

He took a deep breath. This is it.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sherlock stared at John from the top of the stairs smiling like an idiot. Mary was no longer latched onto John's arm like a leech. In fact, she was nowhere to be seen. Thank God. Mycroft's doing most likely. Love him or hate him, but that man did have his redeeming factors.

Sherlock sucked in a breath and took a step. Before he knew it he was practically running down the stairs. To his delight, John was jogging to meet him at the bottom. Once Sherlock's feet were on solid ground, he reached out and pulled John into a crushing embrace which John eagerly reciprocated. He tightened his arms around John's shoulders, put his nose in John's hair and breathed him in. He was home. He was never letting go. And going from John's grip around his waist, he wasn't letting go either.

"I thought I'd lost you again." John breathed. "I don't know if I would have survived, you git."

Sherlock felt his stomach do a flip.

"I surely wouldn't have," he whispered. His lips to John's ear.

John pulled away slightly and looked Sherlock in the eye. "You mean that literally, don't you?"

"Yes."

John pursed his lips for a moment. It seemed to Sherlock that he was deep in thought.

"John, about earlier," Sherlock said, determined to keep John from thinking too hard, "I'm sorry. I should have-"

"Shut up."

Sherlock was afraid that he had angered John in some way, but his fears were unfounded when suddenly John's hand was on the back of his neck pulling him down and pressing their lips together. Hard. A very pleasantly surprised Sherlock wrapped his arms around Johns waist and pulled him in closer. Snogging John Watson was better than Sherlock Holmes had ever imagined. And he imagined it a LOT. John's lips were soft and supple against his own and the hand rubbing small circles on the back of Sherlock's neck sent shivers down his spine. John's tongue darted out to taste Sherlock's plump bottom lip and Sherlock parted his lips slightly, inviting John in. His tongue was warm and slightly rough against his own. John let out a small growl at the first taste of Sherlock's tongue and immediately deepened the kiss. Sherlock definitely wasn't letting go now.

"Ahem."

They immediately froze with their lips still pressed together. It would have been comical under other circumstances, but with Mycroft standing an arms length away from them it was downright uncomfortable. They slowly and reluctantly pulled away from each other.

"Perhaps it would be prudent to first get back to Baker Street."