“It started with a kiss, and turned out something else/The blood courses through my veins, I think of no one else. I never believed in much, but I believe in this/I’m incomplete without you; I’d kill to taste your kiss.”
-Atreyu, Wait For You
John Watson sat on the bed that had belonged to his best friend and cried.
He cried noiselessly, but tears streamed in rivers down his cheeks and his whole body was wracked with deep, passionate sobs. He cried, not for the first time since that fateful day exactly six months ago. It wasn’t the first time by a long shot, but never had he cried like this, in all those long lonely six months. Today, though, the sky looked exactly as it had that day, and everything felt the same, although nothing would ever be the same again. He cried because today, all the painful, bitter memories he’d tried so hard to suppress with alcohol, pills, everything, for the last half-year had resurfaced in an enormous wave of sadness and angst. He had woken up (in Sherlock’s bed; he’d taken to sleeping there) and was nearly paralyzed when everything came flooding back- the day they’d met, Sherlock’s last words to him, the silhouette of his body as he fell, their first kiss, their last kiss…even John’s own anguished cry as he watched his best friend and the man he loved die.
Sherlock. Everything about him was perfect, to John- his thick dark curls; those magnificently sculpted cheekbones; the lively, piercing eyes that were never the same shade of blue-green-gray. The determined look on his beautiful face when he was concentrating especially hard on a particularly difficult problem, and the triumphant gleam in his eyes when he solved it. The mischievous expression he acquired when he was playing with Anderson or Donovan’s heads, insulting them subtly but sharply and proving his extraordinary intellect once again. The way he looked when he was sleeping, vulnerable and calm, curled in the sheets next to John in the soft light of dawn. And the curve of his slim, lean body, covered in smooth purple silk or elegantly cut grey tweed- or nothing at all, bare and cool under John’s fingers and lips.
The first time they kissed had been the past Christmas Eve. It was a mild night, and they’d been walking to the supermarket to get some last-minute things for Christmas dinner the next day. When they left it had started to snow gently, and they started back along the street, purchases in hand, chatting about the current case- or rather, Sherlock spoke at rapid-fire speed about the case while John half-listened and nodded when appropriate. (He remembered being distracted by Sherlock’s slimly cut jacket and the elegant lines of his trousered legs.) It started to snow harder then, and the wind picked up. They reached a soft halo of light cast by a streetlight, and Sherlock stopped suddenly. ”John”, he had said abruptly, “would you mind very much if I were to…kiss you?”
John’s heart had leapt. Yes! So he hadn’t been imagining things, in all those weeks of wondering whether it was really necessary for Sherlock to keep his hands on John’s waist for such a long time during one of his “experiments”; whether that significant glance was really significant; and if he really had seen that jubilant smile on Sherlock’s face after John broke it off with his last girlfriend- they all did mean something! His pulse thudded in his ears and he shook his head mutely, a smile spreading itself across his face as they leaned in. John knew he would never forget that perfect image of Sherlock- eyes closed with snowflakes dusting his dark eyelashes, pulling him close as their lips touched for the first time. They dropped their Tesco bags almost simultaneously and Sherlock wrapped his slim, muscled arms around the shorter man’s waist, pulling John to him as they hungrily explored each other’s mouths. When they finally broke apart, neither man spoke. Sherlock smiled gently, almost angelically, and they picked up their bags and walked back to Baker Street in peaceful, perfect silence, hand-in-hand.
The flood of painful recollections kept coming, and John groaned and clutched his head in agony. This was actually hurting him, remembering the events of the past year- the happiest year of his life, with the obvious exception of six months ago to now.
The last time they kissed had been the night before it happened. It was a rainy, windy night, and they’d been happily cozy inside with Chinese takeaway and bad television- the usual. John was half-laying on the couch typing on his blog with Sherlock sprawled across him, dozing under a blanket with his cold pale feet in John’s lap. About an hour after they’d finished eating, Sherlock had suddenly awoken and pushed John’s laptop to the floor with his foot. He stood up with a grunt, the worn flannel blanket sliding off his slim shoulders. “Come here,” he said with a soft smile. John stood, wincing slightly when he put weight on his bad leg. Sherlock stepped close to him and put his hands on the army doctor’s face. “John,” he breathed softly, staring into the shorter man’s blue, blue eyes with nothing short of raw love and adoration. The intensity of Sherlock’s gaze made John blink, but he quickly responded by slipping his arms around Sherlock’s waist and standing on tiptoes for a kiss. He closed his eyes and let himself melt into their embrace. He was acutely aware of Sherlock’s hips against his; the touch of his long slim fingers on his cheeks, and the growing heat where their lips met. They kissed passionately and deeply, and John could feel every fibre, every molecule of Sherlock radiating love. He held Sherlock, if possible, even closer to him, and deepened their kiss even more. He thought of nothing but how much he loved this man, and how he never, ever wanted to let go.
That night was the last time Dr. John H. Watson had been truly happy.
The barrage of memories finally subsided, and John found himself able to move again. He stood up off the bed and sighed, pressing his fists to his eyes and rubbing until he saw spots and was able to think clearer. He went to the wardrobe and pulled Sherlock’s favourite navy-blue dressing gown off its hanger, then washed the last of the tears off his face and made his way slowly to the kitchen for some coffee. This was how most of his mornings had gone since That Day- waking up in Sherlock’s bed, mentally preparing himself to face yet another day without him, getting up slowly and painfully and putting on that dressing gown. (It had gradually lost the scent of him, but John still wore it every morning without fail. It was comforting, just like sleeping where he had slept and switching to the brand of tea he’d liked- it was like having a part of him back.)
After breakfast, John half-heartedly debated going into work at the surgery, but knew deep down that he wasn’t going to- there was no way he could go and face the world, not after being awoken the way he had. So he settled himself into Sherlock’s favourite armchair with another cup of coffee and opened his laptop, but after staring blankly at his blog for a while, turned it off and closed his eyes. He sighed deeply and pulled that old flannel blanket down over himself. He curled up and turned on the telly, and although it was just ten a.m., soon fell fast asleep.
That was how Sherlock found him, about an hour later. He let himself back into 221B for the first time in six months (or 182.62 days, or 4383 hours, or 262 974 minutes, he thought.) He padded softly up the stairs (Mrs Hudson was out, he noted with relief; this meant far less explaining and being shrieked at and scolded) and quietly, oh so quietly, turned the door handle. And there he was, in the armchair- John, his John, his beloved ex-army doctor, his love.
He was snuggled into a ball beneath a blanket (the flannel blanket Sherlock himself had worn the night before he left Baker Street for the last time, he remembered) and his chest was rising and falling softly. Sherlock took note of a cup of coffee on the floor (cold) and John’s laptop (humming softly with a light flashing occasionally) on the living-room table), and for some reason he began to smile absurdly. He didn’t know why, exactly; perhaps he was just glad to be back in the place he was happiest with the man he loved most (although said man didn’t know it yet.) He tiptoed quietly closer to the chair, hoping not to wake John, but in his haste to reach him he knocked over the coffee cup, which broke and spilled its contents on Sherlock’s right shoe (expensive Italian leather wing-tips, a gift from Mycroft). He swore a little louder than he’d meant to, and John started awake, standing bolt upright and giving a small shout.
“Oi! Who’s th-“ John broke off abruptly when he saw Sherlock- Sherlock!- in the living room, wearing his usual long black coat and a sheepish expression. Oh, and the best part?
He wasn’t dead.
“Sherlock! Sherlock, what- Bloody hell!” John stopped. He was too disoriented and confused to form a coherent sentence, and stood there in his pajama pants and Sherlock’s dressing gown with his mouth hanging open stupidly. Alright. Think, John. Sherlock was here. Sherlock was standing in his (their) flat. Their living room. At 221B Baker Street. He was standing there and he looked beautiful and he. Wasn’t. Dead.
It took John about five seconds to process this, and then he closed his mouth and just stared, heart pounding. They stayed that way, just looking at each other, drinking each other in, for about a minute; and then Sherlock spoke.
“John.” He said the name softly, lovingly, tasting each letter. “John, John, John, you would not believe how much I have missed you-“ He was quickly interrupted by the man himself, who exclaimed
“How much you’ve missed me? God DAMN it, Sherlock, at least you knew I was alive! At least you didn’t have to remember and dream about and be haunted by the image of the name of the man you love on a tombstone! A fucking tombstone, Sherlock! I…I was so lonely, I was going mad without you, absolutely mad; and then you come back and say I wouldn’t believe how much you missed me-“ Whatever else he was going to say was quickly cut off when Sherlock strode across the room and closed the short distance between them. He pulled John close and kissed him, twining his arms round his waist and breathing him in and yes. Finally. He had been craving this for so long, and now here it was- his perfect, perfect John, back in his arms and kissing him, just how it was meant to be.
John kissed him back, responding with a fierce passion and intensity. This was it, what he had craved and wanted and needed during all those days and weeks without Sherlock. This was it, and now he could have it whenever he wanted once again. Sherlock was his, forever, and nothing would ever take him away. John would go with him, wherever; he couldn’t survive without him ever again.
Too soon, they both remembered the need to breathe, and Sherlock broke the kiss reluctantly. He stepped back, his hands still around John’s waist, and took in every detail of his appearance. Same scruffy dirty-blond hair streaked with gray, same slight dusting of stubble along his jawline. Same deep blue eyes that were now looking at him with a passionate combination of anger, relief and love. He was wearing Sherlock’s favourite dressing gown, Sherlock noted with glee; and an old faded pair of gray pajama pants. He was John, and he was Sherlock’s. Mine, he thought with a smile, all mine.
John took a deep breath. “Sherlock. I want to…I need to know how. And why. And…everything.” Sherlock started to speak, but John held up a finger and continued. “I need to know why you left me. I need to know why you thought it necessary to fake your own death, nearly killing me by doing so, and leaving me all alone. Sherlock, I missed you so much. So. Much. I was going out and getting completely wasted and popping pills and not speaking to anyone; anything to try and forget. But mostly, I was just waiting. Waiting for an email, or a phone call, or a fucking smoke signal, or just something. Something to let me know that the one man I love more than anything in the entire universe wasn’t dead, after having watched him pitch himself off a building. Do you know… do you know how hard that was?” His voice wavered, and he felt himself getting choked up. “Th-the waiting, Sherlock, was the hardest part. But do you know what?”
Sherlock pulled John close, resting his head on top of the army doctor’s fair hair. His heart was breaking as John spoke, and the only thing he could think to do was hold him and let him say everything he needed to. “What?” he said soothingly.
John sighed into Sherlock’s chest and snuggled closer into his embrace, tilting his head to look at Sherlock as he finished speaking. “I would have waited forever. I would have waited my whole entire life for you, Sherlock Holmes, because… because you are my life. I love you, I love you so much, and I will literally die if you ever leave me like that again.”
He was crying in earnest now, tears streaming down his tanned, lined face. Sherlock held him close and whispered soothingly into his hair.
“Shh, John, shh. Don’t you worry; I’m not going anywhere.”
And the world’s only consulting detective took his lover’s face in his hands and kissed him once more. It was a sweet kiss, a kiss full of longing and dreams and promises; and both men wished it would last forever.