Sherlock came back from the dead, and John was angry, then John forgave him, then they had the most godawful row John could ever remember having with anyone. Then they had really, really amazing sex. Then they were a couple. Then Sherlock mass texted everyone they knew. It honestly happened just like that; it made John’s head spin.
Three weeks after the mass text Mrs Hudson made him tea and broke out the good biscuits. They had a good chat and at the end she said. “It’s good to see Sherlock so happy, dear. Don’t let him down now will you? It’d be a shame to have to find him a new flatmate.” Honestly John just thought that was sweet, if slightly disturbing.
A couple of days after that he found himself summoned to Mycroft’s club, given a glass of very good scotch and told, “If you ever hurt Sherlock in any way, no-one will ever discover what happened to you. It will be a mystery lost to the ages.”
John sipped his drink and looked Mycroft straight in the eye. “Same to you,” he replied.
Molly gave her version of the ‘don’t hurt Sherlock or else’ speech while holding someone’s lungs. She couldn’t meet his eyes but her voice was steady and she had blood on her hands. It was surprisingly disconcerting. But it was Molly, who always loved Sherlock without compromise or quarter, so John caught her eye and smiled. “I’ll look after him,” he promised.
Molly smiled back shyly. “See that you do,” she said.
Just over a month after the big announcement John got a drunken phone call from his sister.
“Jonny!” called Harry down the phone, far too cheerful for two in the morning. Cheerful, but with the manic, sharp edge that John hated to hear in her voice.
“Harry, what’s up?” he asked scrubbing a hand over his face and pulling himself into a sitting position in the bed. Sherlock murmured a complaint and rolled away.
“Why does anything have to be up, little brother?” There were tears in her voice and her words were slurred.
“You tell me,” said John with a sigh.
Harry laughed but it was anything but happy. “She’s getting remarried, she sent me an invitation. I can take a plus one.”
John didn’t need to ask who ‘she’ was. He got out of bed and headed downstairs. This was probably going to take a while and he hated to wake Sherlock when the other man was actually sleeping.
She sent a text just saying ‘sorry’ two days later.
It was a week and a half after that when Lestrade cornered him at a crime scene. “Hey John, could I have a word?” asked Greg. John glanced at Sherlock’s retreating back. “Won’t take long.”
Sherlock disappeared from view. “Sure,” said John turning back to Lestrade with a smile.
Lestrade gave John a long and knowing look. John fought the urge to fidget under his gaze. “I like you John; I think you’re a good man. And nobody knows Sherlock like you do…”
“I’m feeling a ‘but’ coming on,” said John crossing his arms over his chest and giving into the urge to shift his stance.
“He’s fragile, John. You know that better than anyone. He doesn’t trust people and you…”
“And I, what?” asked John, not liking where this was going at all.
“John, I don’t mean to be rude. But you tend to be a little love ‘em and leave ‘em,” Greg had the grace to look uncomfortable to be saying it, but he was still saying it.
John turned and left, in case he said something he couldn’t take back. Greg was Sherlock’s friend, and John’s reputation was less than squeaky clean.
Then came the fight. Every couple has fights and this one was an extra vicious. When you love someone it’s easy to get under their skin. To find the soft places to dig into and do the most damage. It started when John found out Irene was still alive. He accused Sherlock of deceiving him. Sherlock pointed out that John had been the one who’d lied. But as with all really good fights it didn’t end there. Soon they were both pulling at the damaged parts of each other. Sherlock disappeared for two days. Long enough for John’s anger to turn to worry. Long enough for Sherlock to get some kind of understanding of the hurt he’d caused, and the hurt he was feeling. But just as Sherlock was ready to come home his protectors were doing their misguided best to protect. John had a phone call from Mycroft demanding his presence to explain this situation. Two separate visits from Greg asking where Sherlock was and what had happened. Molly even turned up once and gave John such a disappointed mournful look that he wished he could feel worse than he already did but it was completely impossible. Mrs Hudson even tutted at him.
John found himself wandering just so he wasn’t at home to be found. Cowardly he knew but all he wanted right now was Sherlock back, even if it meant more fighting, and he didn’t want to fight with anyone else right now. His feet took him to Harry’s without a great deal of input from his brain. He stood outside her door. It was late, nearly midnight. He leant his head against the door and took a deep breath. He really had no other place to go and that was just tragic. The door shifted against his forehead and opened. Light spilled out into the street and Harry was stood in the doorway in jeans and an old t-shirt. Hair pulled up into a messy ponytail.
“You know little brother, it works better if you push the doorbell,” she said.
John felt his eyes fill with tears and did his best to hold them back. “Hey,” he said softly.
Harry pulled him inside by his arm. “Come on, I’ll put the kettle on. Tea, okay? I don’t have anything stronger right now.”
John smiled at her. “Tea sounds amazing.”
John went home the next day to find Sherlock spread out on the sofa like he never left. They talked and some of the broken parts started to heal. Everything was good again. Or at the very least was getting there.
Five days after the fight Sherlock had a visitor while John was at work. Harry rang the bell; Sherlock had to answer the door as both John and Mrs Hudson were out.
“Sherlock Holmes?” she asked.
Sherlock looked at her, her features and her height. The state of her shoes and the tiny stain on her left sleeve. “Harriet Watson,” he replied. “On the wagon again I see.”
“Harry, not Harriet,” she corrected. “I can’t stop, so I won’t come in.”
“Good,” said Sherlock.
“You are really unpleasant, do you know that?” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.
“I’ve been told,” he replied. “If that’s all you came for?”
He went to close the door but Harry stopped it with her foot. “You hurt, John,” she stated coolly. “Don’t do it again, or you’ll regret it.”
Sherlock regarded her with something akin to distain. “What could you possibly do to me?” he asked.
“Not me,” she said. “I’m not threatening you, I’m warning you. If you keep hurting him like that, he’ll pull away from you. Oh, he’ll still be your friend; he may still even love you. He still loves me after all, even after the times I’ve let him down. But it will never be the same again. And trust me when I tell you, you will regret it bitterly. Do yourself a favour, look after him better.” She turned and walked away from the doorway, after a few steps she turned back. “Oh, and get your nearest and dearest to lay off him will you? He already tries to carry the world on his shoulders, he doesn’t need extra guilt. Just because you have armies of people to worry about you…” Harry shook her head as she walked away.
Sherlock was left on his doorstep wondering who on earth would have tried to make John feel guilty about his treatment of him.