It has taken a remarkably short time for the two of them to settle back into a routine after Sherlock's return. Admittedly, there isn't much in their day-to-day lives that ordinary people would consider routine (miscellaneous body parts in the microwave; violin at three in the morning; toxic chemicals in the kitchen; mad dashes after criminals over rooftops and down alleys and, on one memorable occasion, through a party), but neither John nor Sherlock can really be considered ordinary.
The one regular piece of their lives that doesn't involve some form of chaos is the long evenings spent in the sitting-room of 221B Baker-street, John typing at his blog or watching telly and Sherlock reading some technical book (they tend more towards bees than blood-spatter patterns, lately). These separate pursuits are most often carried out on the sofa, Sherlock cuddling close to John and John's arm tucked around Sherlock. Before they embarked upon a romantic relationship, John didn't really think of Sherlock as the cuddly type, but evidently Sherlock is catlike in more than his grace and his mostly-solitary nature. John loves these evenings on the sofa, especially when the last case has been recent enough that Sherlock isn't climbing the walls in boredom, but not so recent that they're still jittery from adrenalin and desperate from danger.
On one such evening, the cold winter air is calm outside their windows and a cheery fire crackles in the hearth. John is feeling pleasantly sleepy with the warm weight of the laptop on his lap and the warm weight of Sherlock pressed against his shoulder. Sherlock is especially clingy this evening; his arms are draped loosely across John's shoulders and his nose is pressed into John's arm. On a whim, John sets his laptop carefully on the coffee table, turns slightly in Sherlock's arms, tips his partner's chin up, and kisses him softly, chastely, a press of closed lips to closed lips. Sherlock makes a pleased sort of humming noise and promptly rearranges the two of them to his satisfaction, so that he's flat on his back along the length of the sofa and John's draped over his chest and legs. John chuckles softly at this abrupt shift in position and drops another kiss on Sherlock's throat, just above the collar of his t-shirt. A gentle shiver runs through Sherlock and he presses a kiss to the top of John's head, following it with his long fingers, stroking gently through John's short hair. John huffs in amusement and wriggles up a bit to kiss Sherlock properly. It's a slow and sleepy slide of lips and tongues, less about passion and more about love.
They have loved each other for a long, long time, though neither of them quite realised it until after Sherlock's return, when John's relief and Sherlock's triumph were running higher even than after the usually-exciting sort of case. The transition from friends to lovers has hardly changed anything, except now there's kissing and cuddling on the sofa. There are still toes in the freezer, and hazardous chemical experiments on the counter, and bullet holes in the wall (though Sherlock is much better about that lately; perhaps it's because he has John to entertain him). But, really, one expects these things if one is to have Sherlock Holmes as a partner, and they're part of the routine, just like the evenings on the sofa, doing completely separate things but doing them together.
On one such evening, John pulls back slightly from the kiss and smiles at Sherlock. "Hey," he says softly.
Sherlock smiles in return. His smiles are rare, but all the more precious for it, each one spreading across his face like the sun setting, leaving behind the harsh, clear-cut lines of the day for the soft shadows and gentle silver glow of the night. "Hey," he answers.
"I love you, you know?" says John, his eyes like the slowly-fading embers in the hearth, quiet in their warmth but all the steadier for their unobtrusiveness.
Imagine, reader, if you will, a pool in a stream. There is a tree beside the stream that casts a shadow on this pool during some parts of the day, and at those times it is deep and dark and cool. But when the sun shifts across the sky, the shadow of the tree moves and a beam of light sinks through the water of the pool, small but no less effective for all that. The whole pool glows, and the surface of the water sparkles as it dances. Sherlock's eyes are like that pool when the sun first touches it. "I know," he says, and doesn't say the rest of it - not because he can't, but because he doesn't need to.
Imagine, reader, if you will, one evening such as this. There are many of them, and they will continue in a similar way for many years, even when Sherlock and John are both old and grey and keeping bees in Sussex. These evenings will continue on in memory, long after both of them are gone, in a warm, steady, comfortable glow, the last dying embers on the hearth.
On one such evening, John kisses Sherlock and Sherlock kisses John until they fall asleep, limbs entangled, on the sofa in the sitting-room of 221B Baker-street.