Sherlock unpacked the boxes, slowly, restless in the dark night.
A pair of Greg’s spare wellies from the time they’d ended up searching twelve garden ponds, two months after they’d first met. Sherlock could remember Greg steadying him, hands gentle on his shoulders, as he’d wobbled about trying to get them off, cursing Greg’s slightly smaller feet.
A notebook that Greg had taken notes in when Sherlock had broken his arm at the bottom of an abandoned and almost inaccessible cellar, a year before he’d moved into Montague Street. Greg had climbed down and sat with him, scribbling copious notes on Sherlock’s pain-addled ramblings so that Sherlock could read them later.
A pile of books, nights and days of Greg’s voice soothing Sherlock’s brain to calm. They’d read on the sofa, on the floor, in bed. In the kitchen once while Sherlock had worked on an experiment. In hospital, too many times. Over the phone every so often, Greg sitting up in his own bed and Sherlock, miles away, curled around the comfort of his phone.
The set of spare clothes, the old toothbrush that used to be in the bathroom. Greg had always been a regular guest.
Sherlock’s violin, the compositions that would soon be scattered around the flat, the music with which Sherlock had sung Greg to sleep, the music which had made him smile, or just stand there and listen until the real world intruded again. The inspiration for the recordings he’d made and left at Greg’s flat before he fell, tucked in the drawer with the takeaway menus for Greg to find.
Six plastic boxes that had once contained portions of the stew which was Greg’s speciality. Even Mrs Hudson could never make it quite right, Sherlock thought, smiling slightly at the memory of his first mouthful of it, stolen from Greg’s plate two days after their first meeting. A fork he’d used to eat some the night before lay abandoned on the windowsill, waiting to be taken back to the kitchen.
A stray sock, mixed in with his so long ago it had its own place in the sock index, a cousin to one now languishing under the bed. That one was worn a little in the heel, but not on its last legs just yet. Its owner was still snoring slightly in the bed above it.
The portrait that Greg had impulse-bought for Sherlock one year, and the deerstalker which Sherlock knew was certainly not an impulse buy.
No case files. Mycroft had done a good job at retrieving them from their hiding places when he’d packed Sherlock’s possessions away. No drugs either, because Greg had put his foot down at that.
Sherlock wondered how much they’d changed in the three years he’d been gone.
Then, right at the bottom, folded up hesitantly as if Mycroft had been unsure what to do with it, a blanket. The blanket Greg had wrapped Sherlock in when he’d found him shivering in an under-heated flat the night after Sherlock had stumbled across that first crime scene. It was an old blanket, from Sherlock’s school-days, but every strand of it now said Greg. Sherlock unfolded it properly, relishing its softness and memories, and wrapped it tightly around himself, protection against the world. Like Greg, in his own way, Sherlock thought, slipping into bed.
‘Can’t sleep?’ Greg asked.
‘Remembering,’ Sherlock said, allowing Greg to wrap himself around him too. ‘Remembering you.’
‘Oh, yeah? Anything interesting?’
‘The day when I stole an entire crime scene and you couldn’t keep a straight face when you tried to tell me off. And when you brought enough soup for both of us on that stakeout for the Kirby case. The day I first saw you really grin. And when you caught my hands that time and just held them until I calmed down. Like this,’ Sherlock caught Greg’s hands and held them, inspecting them. ‘What did you do there?’ he asked, skimming one finger over a short scar. ‘That’s… new.’
‘Knife while I was washing up.’
Sherlock nodded and kissed Greg’s hand. ‘That’s new too,’ he said, tracing a mark on Greg’s wrist.
‘Bashed my arm on the sink. Had the bathroom redone, you’ll like it. Lots of room for experiments.’
‘You’re hair’s longer than usu… than you used to let it get.’
‘Case for the last two weeks, and then someone extremely important to me came back from the dead. Wasn’t going to miss that, was I?’
‘No,’ Sherlock murmured, ruffling Greg’s hair with a quick grin. ‘No.’
‘There’ll be differences,’ Greg said quietly. ‘Course there will. But you’re good at learning, and it’s not as if some things aren’t still the same, yeah?’
‘The important things?’
‘I think so. I bloody well hope so.’
‘Good,’ Sherlock whispered, curling closer. ‘Missed you.’
‘Missed you too, sweetheart.’ He kissed the top of Sherlock’s head, then yelped. ‘Shit, Sherlock, that tickles!’
‘That hasn’t changed, then,’ Sherlock mused, content. ‘Don’t go, you can tell me what I missed tomorrow.’
‘Of course not,’ Greg said as Sherlock dropped off to sleep. ‘Wouldn’t miss it for the world.’