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The Second Fall

Chapter Text

It was times like these that Sherlock almost forgot things had changed so much.

He was at his microscope in the kitchen, analysing brick dust that had been found at a double homicide that morning. It was the key to solving the case and Sherlock was giddy with anticipation. Although John was making tea.....distracting him.

Sherlock smirked. His dear John, making ordinary things extraordinary.

“Sherlock?” John was looking at him exasperated.

“Hmm”

“God, did you hear anything I just said?” At Sherlock’s blank look, he continued. “I am trying to tell you something delicate here.”

Yes things were definitely back to normal....although hang on....

“Delicate?” Sherlock queried, as his heart rate quickened “Are you ill?...No not ill you would not have made tea....you would have made me pay attention.” Sherlock started to look at John now, really look at him. He had got into the habit of not deducing him, wanting to maintain the illusion that things hadn’t changed. “You are freshly showered, not unusual, but your fingertips are slightly drier and more wrinkly than usual....meaning you spent longer than needed in there. You are also failing to hide a blossoming hickey by buttoning your shirt all the way up, suggesting that you had company.”

“Sherlock” John warned.

“The bags under your eyes indicate lack of sleep, but your disposition indicates this is a good thing.”

“Sherlock” John was looking away at this point.

“Due to the significant length of your relationship with Mary, to be up all night engaging in sexual intercourse indicates a celebration of sorts and a big one at that.”

“Sherlock would you just-“

“It is neither of your Birthdays soon and a job promotion would only really excite one partner. Pregnancy would not be an automatic celebration, due to your situation with Finn and myself. So that only leaves...” Whenever you have ruled out the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Sherlock thought his heart had stopped along with his deduction.

“Sherlock “ John whispered

Sherlock was speechless, hell he couldn’t even think the word. John and Mary were engaged.

Engaged.

John was going to marry her.

John and Mary were getting married.

John had asked somebody else to marry him. He suspects this one was planned, unlike John’s proposal to him, nearly 10 years ago.

His thoughts must have played obviously across his face, as even his wonderful, unobservant John looked worried.

“God, you are the most infuriating man!” John finally managed to get his words out. “If you had just listened to me the first time or at least try again a second time-“

“Do you really think it would have made it any easier?” Sherlock interrupted, as he moved away from his microscope and towards the living room. John’s chair was mocking him, as he used it to lean against, facing away from John.

Trying to face away from the most devastating, improbable truth.

At length he broke the silence and turned to face John again “My husband wants to marry someone else. Is that why you are here? To finally file for divorce?”

John looked angry, his face pinched and his words forced when they come out, breathy and barely spoken.

“There is no easy way to do this Sherlock and I am trying to be as kind as I possibly can be. I’m sorry that-“

“John forgive me.” Sherlock interrupted, he could never bear to be the cause of John’s anger. He had suffered enough of that after the fall. “Please allow me a moment of weakness. Your facial expressions have taught me over the years when something is a ‘bit not good’”. Sherlock sighed and turned, resigned to his fate.

He walked over to the left hand window in the living room, behind his chair, itching to pick up his violin and drown reality away.

His urge was broken by the smashing of ceramic on the kitchen floor. Had John resorted to throwing things at him?

The sight he found once he turned round was, however, not what he expected. Shock jolted through him, as he registered John gripping the kitchen counter top, his eyes wide and knuckles white. He looked pained, shocked and terrified.

Sherlock rushed towards him, shouting “John!”

Blue eyes looked up and met his. Hands reached out and grabbed his forearms, Sherlock was sure he was the only thing keeping the man upright.

“I remember” John whispered, looking directly at Sherlock and into his soul. “God...I remember”. The shorter man’s face fell forward, on to Sherlock’s chest, as sobs wrecked his body.

Chapter Text

2 years before

“Finn” Sherlock’s voice sounded wrecked.

“Dad what’s up?” He never called, he preferred to text. “What’s happened? Is Pops ok?”

“No...” His voice cut off, unable to continue. “Mycroft wanted to call you, he said ‘I wasn’t capable’. I need to prove him wrong, but....I can’t say it out loud.”

Finn’s heart was pounding hard “Is he alive?”

The answer was quick and breathy “Yes”

Momentary relief swept through Finn. “Then the only thing I need to know is where you are, I can find the rest out once I see you.”

“Bart’s”

“Get Uncle Mycroft to fix the traffic lights and I will be there in 15 minutes.” Finn ended the call before waiting for a reply.

Finn arrived at the hospital and was immediately greeted by Molly. She was without her usual white lab coat and looked beautiful in a flowery blouse, jeans and cable knit cardigan. Her hair was in its usual pony tail. Whatever the bad news he was about to hear, Finn was glad that he had his family’s compassionate friend to help him through it. He had had the biggest crush on her growing up that had faded into simple admiration, as he had aged.

Right now her face was pale as she walked towards him, her expression worried. She released the arms that were wrapped around herself to pull him into a hug.

“What’s the prognosis?” Finn asked into her hair.

Molly pulled back from him and motioned him to follow her through the depths of the hospital. “Severe head trauma and brain swelling.” She looked at the teenager to gauge his reaction, which remained stoic. He motioned with his eyes for her to continue. “Your father is on his way to surgery. The prognosis isn’t hopeful. Your Dad has already worked out the survival probabilities in that big head of his and seems to have shut down completely.”

“That’s why Mycroft goaded him to call me...he’s trying to make Dad feel and accept what’s happening.” Finn thought aloud.

Molly nodded in agreement “And whoever thought we would ever say that, but it’s better than the alternative.”

Finn didn’t want to think that his Dad would turn to drugs, he had never seen it himself, but he knew enough to know it was a possibility. “Whatever happens I won’t let there be an alternative. I promise.” He vowed.

Molly looked over at him, with a soft look on her face “When did you grow up Finn?” she smiled sweetly and despite being over his crush – she still had the capability to give any man butterflies. She stopped at an unmarked door and squeezed his arm. “They are both so lucky to have you and I hope Sherlock doesn’t shut you out.”

“I won’t give up on him” Finn stated.

“I know” Molly replied without a trace of doubt. She opened the door to a private room, where Mycroft and Lestrade were talking hurriedly in the corner. “Where’s Sherlock?” she demanded.

Mycroft sent an accusatory look at Greg. “Don’t give me the death glare Myc” Lestrade blustered.

Mycroft rolled his eyes and leaned heavily on his ever present umbrella “It seems he has outwitted our dear detective inspector here, whilst the rest of us were otherwise occupied. My people are looking into it as we speak.”

Finn looked incredulously at them all “Has anybody thought to check the roof?” There is a gasp from Molly and a startled look on the others’ faces.

Mycroft went to move, but Finn halts his progress, “Let me go” His uncle started to protest. “Please” The younger man stands firm and stares Mycroft down.

“You know he will listen to me and he needs a reminder of what he still has to live for.”

Mycroft seemed to have a similar realisation to Molly a few moments before. His nephew was no longer the little boy he once was. The one who was scared of his umbrella and sulked on his bottom step because he didn’t get his way. He nodded “I wish you the best of luck. Inform me if there is anything either of you need, whatever it is I will sort it. I will also keep you informed of Dr Watson’s status, should there be an update.”

Finn pulled him into an awkward hug. “I love you too Uncle Myc”. He nodded at the other two occupants of the room and dived out to find his wayward parent.

-----------------------

Sherlock was leaning against a cement structure on top of St Bart’s Hospital.

He was smoking.

He hadn’t had a cigarette in a long time.

It was a couple of years ago, when he had deduced that Finn had a girlfriend and they had become.....intimate. He had been blindsided. He was terrified that their little boy had grown up and was opening himself up to all the evil in the world. Danger, deceit, betrayal.

Heartbreak.

John had been angry at him for giving in to his habit, despite secretly being amused by his reaction.

Apparently it was ‘normal’ for boys his age, how was Sherlock meant to know that? John still made him sleep on the couch (he wouldn’t kiss an ashtray), not that he slept much anyway....

Without John.

His beautiful, wonderful John.

It was an overcast day, but dry. Not dissimilar from THAT day, the day he jumped. He was sitting within touching distance of where Moriarty had killed himself. A stone’s throw from where he had given John his ‘note’.

That day had changed his life and here he was again.

This time though there was nobody waiting with a crash mat, no code word to set a plan into motion, no assurance he would survive the fall.

“You know they have a designated shelter to smoke in?”
A voice broke his thoughts.

“Finn” he breathed aloud, turning to stand and wrap his arms around his 19 year old son.

“Dad” was all Finn said before clutching on to his Dad’s distinctive Belstaff.

Sherlock breathed him in. Finn was alive and in his arms, he would keep him tethered to reality. He was his only real connection to John and whatever happened they would remain a family. The smell of perfume started to permeate his senses and he noticed a black hair on the younger man’s beige jacket. A stark contrast to Finn’s dirty blond mop.

“You’ve got a new girlfriend” Sherlock deduced, as he pulled away from the embrace.

“Is that why you're smoking?” Finn quipped.

Sherlock smirked without feeling and turned towards the edge of the roof. He started to make his way to the spot, THE spot.

He felt Finn grab his arm “Dad” his eyes frantically searched his face . “What are you doing?!”

Sherlock looked over the edge, just like he did all those years ago. It still looked a long way down. However instead of looking into Jim’s dark eyes, he found the worried blue eyes of his son. “Twelve years ago I stood on this roof and I jumped.”

“I know Dad, I know, but you need to step away. You can’t jump again.” Finn pleaded.

Sherlock started laughing without humour and pulled away from the edge. He looked manic, like the madman who once stood with him there. He looked at the younger man and said “I’m not going to jump.” Sherlock could hear the sigh of relief from where he stood. “If there is the slightest chance your father survives this nightmare, I wouldn’t let him wake to that....And you must know I would never willingly leave you Finn.”

Finn swallowed, Sherlock could tell the emotions of the afternoon were starting to hit him. “But I came up here, because last time I was here I jumped. I jumped, because I knew it would keep him safe....The fall was worth it.” He lit another cigarette and hid the packet back into the inner pocket of his Belstaff. “I loved him then you know.”

“I know” Finn whispered.

“I loved him and I literally fell. There was something I could do to keep him safe. I had put him in danger and I fixed it. I stopped the threat. This time-“ His voice broke at this point and the wind moved through his curls, as he put his hand without the lit cigarette over his mouth. As if to try to stop the words from coming out. “I put him-I put him in danger again, it’s my fault. I don’t know what it feels like to hit concrete at speed, but it’s got to feel better than this.”

Finn’s expression was pained. “You know Pops is never happier than when he is by your side. He would be berating you for blaming yourself.” Finn put on a fairly bad impersonation of his father’s voice “You know not everything is always about you Sherlock Holmes.”

Sherlock guffawed and said “Well he has definitely trumped me today.” He stumbled back to his sitting spot, before taking another drag of his cigarette and burying his head into the heels of his hands.

Finn joined him “You don’t need to be strong for me Dad.” He grabbed the hand without the lit cigarette and held it firmly. “I won’t let you fall. We’ll fall together, you’re not alone this time.” Sherlock nodded and put his forehead to his son’s. “What happened Dad?”

Sherlock pulled away and looked directly into Finn’s eyes “Your father has a direct trauma to his frontal lobe and has been unconscious since impact. He is currently in surgery to help alleviate the swelling. There is a 87% chance he won’t open his eyes again and a 62% chance he won’t survive the operation. As we have not yet heard from my dear, old brother, his chances of surviving the current procedure are increasing.” Sherlock paused and looked at their joined hands. “He also suffered a fairly minor stab wound to his lower chest.”

Finn blinked and looked away, Sherlock squeezed his hand “You don’t have to stay strong either.” He implored.

The younger man broke at this and turned to his Dad’s shoulder to sob. He hiccupped out some words “You....were...meant....invincible...” Sherlock’s heart broke at Finn’s words, perhaps his little boy was still in there somewhere. “Tell me how it happened.” Finn begged.

Sherlock started to talk into the dirty blonde mop of his son’s hair, perhaps it would be easier this way. “We were chasing a suspect. She had been hiding in the attic, unnoticed by Scotland Yard’s finest.” Sherlock spat out. “We had been assessing a scene at a local residence and the forensics team had already left. Your father and I had stayed behind.” They had been having a bit of a snog actually, but he wasn’t going to divest that bit of information....John had been particularly enthusiastic about his deduction and it had been a while since they had been on a case together. John had tasted of tea and cinnamon and was promising all sorts once they got home. With his lips, his whispered words and hungry looks.

Would that be the last time they kissed?

The last time he held him in his arms? See his cheeky smile? His eyes dilate-

“Dad?” Finn mumbled into his coat, as he pulled away and looked into his eyes.

“We heard a sound and rushed to the back of the house. We saw a woman jumping out of a window and your Dad ran downstairs to follow her. I dashed after him and we chased her onto the street that led to the main road. Your father caught the woman and grappled with her. I didn’t see the knife and the rest is much of a blur....I saw a red patch forming on your father’s shirt and I couldn’t reach him fast enough. The killer pushed him into the oncoming traffic...” he faltered and his voice started to waiver. “I saw his body fly up into the air, as the car hit him, and fall back onto the tarmac. I thought he was already dead.” He stopped there. He couldn’t tell his son how his father’s blood pooled around his head, his body unmoving and lifeless. “I thought he was dead.....although it feels like we are delaying the inevitable and perhaps this is worse.”

“Stop” Finn’s voice was once again strong “Just stop” Sherlock could see the tears now running freely down the boy’s cheeks. “You survived your fall, we have to believe he will survive his.”

He had survived his fall and he had returned to John....John had to return to him. He had to.

Chapter Text

A year after Sherlock jumped

To say John was angry was an understatement.

That infuriating, arrogant and uncaring man....

....but he was alive.

Sherlock was alive.

Sherlock was not dead.

One last miracle indeed.

It had been a year almost to the day since Sherlock had jumped.

Since Sherlock had turned John’s life upside down for a second time. Although this change hadn’t brought him back to life and brought meaning to it again like the first time ...he had jumped and taken all the meaning and sense out of it.

And now the bloody madman had turned it all upside down again and John was still reeling from the shock of it. His hand still ached from the punch he had landed on one of those ridiculously high cheekbones and he was currently sorting out some ice to sooth the pain.

If only it would sooth the pain of the betrayal he was feeling too. The lies and deceit that apparently John wasn’t worthy of being privy too.

John, who had grieved the deepest and the longest.

The lies and deceit that apparently Molly Hooper was worthy of. He would have expected bloody Mycroft, but Molly....that was a hard pill to swallow.

It was taking time to process that his ‘best’ friend was back from the dead....

...and that he was still as much of a cock as ever.

John had been on a date, if you can believe it. John almost didn’t. He hadn’t been on one since Sherlock jumped and the fast approaching year’s anniversary had made him realise how much his life had....stopped. He had stopped seeing his friends, stopped writing the blog, stopped dating. He realised he had been here before, renting a bedsit with his gun in his desk drawer...wondering if today would be the day that he finally used it. In that instance he had - on a murderous cabbie. He didn’t want to think what he would do this time round given the opportunity.

So he had ‘put himself out there’ and had arranged a date with ‘Jackie’. She seemed nice enough, with easy smiles and an uncomplicated life (she didn’t look like she kept body parts in the fridge) and John found her to be a welcome distraction. She by no means led him out from the fog he was under, but she provided some light.

They had been out for a few coffees and John had been planning to treat her to a meal out that evening. He may have been hoping they could take things a step further and was planning on bringing Three Continents Watson out of the closet to seal the deal.

Then the waiter had turned into ‘an old friend’, which had led John to push said waiter halfway across the restaurant, before headbutting him in the face.

After being politely escorted out, John had had to try to explain to his date where the mild mannered doctor she had met had disappeared to, but to no avail. She had been quite shocked in his abrupt change in demeanour and had left before Sherlock’s nose had stopped bleeding.

Sherlock had chosen this moment to deduce that she hadn’t liked John’s moustache and laughed at the notion of John keeping it.....and that was why John was currently nursing aching knuckles.

He put a second handful of ice in a tea towel and walked over from where he was in the kitchen into the once familiar living room. He handed the second ice pack to the sullen looking man, who was currently sat there, back in ‘his’ chair.

Back where he belonged.

“Thank you” Sherlock whispered.

John placed the other homemade ice pack over his knuckles, whilst Sherlock gingerly put his to his cheek. The doctor looked over at his own chair and childishly chose to sit on the sofa.

He had moved out of 221B not long after the ‘funeral’ and hadn’t been back since. It felt like what he imagined a drug trip would feel like, sat here with the dead Sherlock Holmes, nursing their wounds.

He started to laugh.

Hysterically.

Sherlock looked at him curiously.
“You’re dead” John gasped between fits of laughter.
“You’re dead!” he repeated more enthusiastically. “I watched you jump from a roof and bleed out on the pavement and now your sitting here in ‘your’ chair in bloody Baker Street...and you’re dead.”

John continued his hysterical laughter then, as tears started running down his cheeks. Sherlock had turned from curious to bewildered, as he watched his friend lose himself to laughter.

“You...” John continued between breaths “absolute.....bloody.....cock.” His breath hitched at this and his face started to lose its hysterical mirth. His laughs turned into sobs, as the tears continued to flow. His breathing was coming out stuttered, as he moved his uninjured hand to cover his face. Trying to hide his uncontrollable emotions from his ex flatmate.

John felt the sofa dip with the weight of another person, as unbelievably Sherlock joined him on it. A ridiculously pained “John” was heard and an arm was felt around him.

“You absolute bloody cock” the doctor all but sobbed, as his face fell against a firm chest, with a rapidly beating heart.

The rapidly beating heart of his best friend that was keeping Sherlock alive. A heart that had never stopped.
Sherlock was not dead. His best friend was back in 221B with his arm around John. And despite his brain’s logical protests, John followed his own heart in putting his arms awkwardly around the other man, in the world’s most uncomfortable hug ever. But John didn’t care.
Sherlock was alive.

----------

“Do wonders never cease?” John quipped “Sherlock Holmes making tea. Well uncontaminated tea at least.”
Sherlock smiled faintly and handed him a steaming mug of tea, before joining John on the couch with his own cup.

John’s emotional outburst had reset the mood, causing Sherlock to act tentative around him. He wasn’t used to that...

Maybe it had been a bad idea to come back with him to 221B....

Mrs Hudson had certainly had a fright...

...but he hadn’t been able to face going back to his own flat alone. Despite his anger, a big part of him was too scared to let Sherlock out of his sight, in case it was another trick. In case he had dreamt it...

And now he had had a highly emotional outburst in front of a man who considers his body transport and loathes sentiment. Who was currently acting unusually unsure. John could tell he wasn’t in his mind palace. He didn’t know what to do with his hands and his whole body was fidgeting. It seemed that for once the great detective didn’t know what to do or say.

Christ neither did John.

How does one start a conversation with someone who had been dead for a year? Who you had just physically attacked? Who you had just had a mental breakdown in front of?

“I missed you.” Bloody hell Watson of all things you had to start with that? He quickly continued, looking into his tea and avoiding Sherlock’s face. “I went to your grave and I asked you-“

“I know” Sherlock interrupted “You asked me not be dead. I was there.”

“You bloody bastard.” John spat. He could feel his anger rising.

Sherlock put his tea down, turning towards John and carried on hurriedly. “John you asked for one more miracle and here it is.”

John jumped up and stomped to the other side of the room, slamming his untouched tea on the mantle place. “A year too bloody late.”

“John-“

“One whole year Sherlock. You let me grieve. You let me sink back down to that dark place I was in before I met you. Was it some kind of joke?”

“No John of course not” Sherlock stood up now too. “How could-“

“Well tonight certainly was.” John continued without letting Sherlock finish. The taller man remained silent under John’s scrutiny. “How did you think that was appropriate? Did you think we would have a laugh about it? ‘Oh look there’s Sherlock!’ ‘Oh yes he was dead wasn’t he?’ ‘Oh yes I had forgotten that. Oh what a laugh! He’s back from the dead! Do come and sit down and join us.” John finished sarcastically.

“Of course not John- Don’t be ridiculous.” Sherlock stated incredulously.

“No! No Sherlock it is you who is being ridiculous.” John had stopped pacing now and was pointing a finger directly at the taller man. “For creating that scene tonight and for letting me believe in the whole charade in the first place.”

“I miscalculated. “ Sherlock mumble dejectedly.

“Damn right you did.” John threw back at him. The doctor had gone quite red and he was breathing harshly through his nose. His anger was taking hold of him, threatening to make him lose control again. He turned away and leant against the fireplace, looking into the empty hearth.

“I apologise” he heard quietly from behind him. “I am sorry” Sherlock continued and John closed his eyes in resignation. He could hear the pain in Sherlock’s voice.

He turned round to face the other man, who had once again sat himself on the sofa. His eyes were focused on John and the older man could see the bruise he had put there blossoming on that distinctive cheekbone.

“I-I didn’t know how else to come back to you.” Sherlock started once their eyes had locked. “I found out you were on a date tonight and I thought it would be like old times....Me coming along and ruining them.”

John snorted at that, of course it was always about Sherlock Holmes. How true that was.

“I think I convinced myself that you would be over it by now....over me....and perhaps a little angry, but that you would see the funny side. Call me a cock and be done with it.”

“Well I did call you a cock” John conceded “But we are not done with it.”

“I know.” Sherlock looked up at John determinedly “What do I need to do to ensure that we are?”

John was taken aback by this. Yes Sherlock and he had had their emotional moments, you know when a bomb and a swimming pool had been involved, but he had never seen the other man like this. He was used to the unemotional, unforgiving, unrelenting force that was Sherlock Holmes. That’s who he had fallen in love with
.
Hang on wait.

He did not just think that. He could wallow in his unrequited love with a dead man, but he had to stop that – now that Mr Deduce-a-lot was back.

John coughed and looked at his shoes. Looking back up at Sherlock, he saw how vulnerable the man looked.
He decided at that moment that he wanted to know this side of Sherlock, just as much as he loved the unstoppable force he had known. He also knew that he would forgive him. He wouldn’t tell Sherlock that yet of course, but he knew that he would forgive him. That he would, whatever the reason behind it, because that’s what people do.

Because that’s what people do when they love somebody unconditionally.

So John picked up his now cold tea and joined Sherlock back on the sofa.

“Tell me what happened.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock needed a fix, the cigarettes weren’t cutting it. He was currently smoking his fifth in a row, out of the waiting room window. Night had fallen over his glorious London, but he could no longer feel its beating heart. The city held no vibrancy at this moment, it was dull, grey and lifeless – just like Sherlock was.

Finn was asleep in what looked like a very uncomfortable position in one of the ghastly waiting room chairs. They had spent a while up on the roof, mainly in a thoughtless silence. He didn’t think either of them had had many words, Sherlock had had none. He had managed to get his son to open up about his new girlfriend, although he had deleted the details now. Finn would have to tell John everything again anyway, if he woke up.

When he woke up.

It had started to drizzle, so Finn had insisted that they come back inside. Sherlock would have stayed out there, he already felt numb and a little rain wouldn’t have made much difference. He threatened to go back up there, once he realised he needed to be chain-smoking right now to remain upright. He had made a few trips to the designated smoking shelter outside, which hadn’t turned out so well.

Apparently deducing that a new father actually wasn’t, but his best friend was, wasn’t socially acceptable. He had been trying to help. Mycroft had swiftly organised a private waiting room for them, where he could chain-smoke out of the window.

He needed a fix, he couldn’t do this, not without John.

Finn snuffled in his sleep and the detective looked over to his son. He was elegantly drooling into his Belstaff, his signature coat swamping the young man’s slight form. He had loved that coat (and its many incarnations) since he was a young boy. It was almost like a security blanket to him and, seeing him wrapped up in it now, reminded him he could protect someone. He could provide comfort and he had to maintain his resolve. Finn did not deserve a weak father, he had already had one before...before Sherlock and John. He had promised him then that he would be there for him and he needed to keep that promise.

Plus if John woke up, he would kill him if he was high.

When...when he woke up.

He looked down at his left hand, at the simple silver band; standing out on his long, pale fingers. Bloody hell how had he got here?

Caring is not an advantage.

He had lived his life by that motto for so long and then one day he had looked up from his microscope in this very hospital.....

...and everything had changed.

Caring was not an advantage, he was living proof of that. His thoughts were focused on statistics, what ifs and his mind palace was inaccessible. He had spent the best part of 10 hours in a blank, grey room in a suffocating hospital- doing nothing but thinking about statistics and what ifs. He wasn’t engaging his brain in anything useful.

He couldn’t help John.

He couldn’t help anyone. He couldn’t leave, he could barely stay.

Caring was not an advantage, love was not an advantage - it rendered you useless.

He looked back over to Finn. Love also had its advantages, Sherlock reminded himself in a voice that sounded suspiciously like his husband’s.

He looked at the blank, lifeless, hospital walls and wished he had a gun to keep him entertained; although he was far from bored, it would at least provide a distraction. He could pretend it was the faceless woman who had put them in this mess, in this chaos. In the blur of the moment, she had got away. Sherlock hadn’t been focused on anything else but John at the time. She had been wearing a hooded jacket and the detective hadn’t seen her face....but John would have, as he tried to tackle her to the ground. If he woke up, he would be able to provide a description....they could find her.

When....when John woke up.

His eyes found their way to his wedding ring again and he screwed his eyes up in frustration – his useless, inanimate brain was running round in circles.

He needed a fix.

He was saved from going through the cycle again by the door to the room creaking open. Mycroft Holmes was standing in the doorway.

“You’re still here?” he asked unkindly. His voice was a whisper, so as not to disturb Finn.

Mycroft was....dishevelled and not in a ‘good’ way (he had seen him in such a state after he had called into a certain DI’s office – they both pretended that Sherlock hadn’t deduced that particular scenario numerous times over the past 7 years). His brother had a certain weariness about him; his ever-present tie and waistcoat were nowhere in sight and the detective deduced that he was on about his 6th cup of coffee. The older man was currently rolling his eyes at his brother’s comment.

“Sherlock, now is not the time for stupid questions, you will not get a rise out of me. You know why I am here.” He replied, keeping his voice low, as his eyes reached Finn’s sleeping form.

“Caring is not an advantage, oh brother mine,” Sherlock mocked, almost hissed, “as you have physical evidence of right before your eyes.”

“It’s not an advantage, as you have physical evidence of right before your eyes,” Mycroft threw back at him “but it is also unavoidable, even for people like you and me. I know that now.”

“Huh finally admitting you feel more than lust for our dear detective inspector Mycroft? Your super villain facade is slipping.”

His brother stared at him, a smirk forming on his reptile face. “My my Sherlock 7 years later and you finally have the guts to bring it up. I’m impressed, alas I wasn’t referring to Gregory, although recent events have made me re-evaluate my feelings, our dealings thus far have been purely of a primal nature.”

Sherlock shuddered at the word and he could see Mycroft’s delight at his expense. “I was referring to you, my nephew and despite my best efforts your husband,” He paused for effect “who is now out of surgery.”

Sherlock reeled in shock “You couldn’t have led with that?” his voice furious, despite the low tones. “He’s stable?” he asked more calmly.

The other man nodded. “You can see him in a few moments, they have taken him through to intensive care. I have secured a private room.”

“Good, God that’s good.” The two brothers were surprised by the voice coming from the corner of the room. “Definitely better than hearing about my uncle’s sex life.” An apparently awake Finn continued.

Mycroft went beet red and Sherlock smirked. “Ah Finn, good to see you awake” he said.

Finn stood and handed the Belstaff back to his father “He’s alive Dad, he’s alive – that’s the first step.”

Sherlock nodded and Finn grinned at his uncle, before stepping past him out of the room. The detective took a deep breath “Lead the way Mycroft. Let’s go and see my husband.” His brother nodded and followed Finn’s path down the bustling corridor.

The numbness had fully taken over again, after the brief respite, with his anger at Mycroft, which had evaporated now. He doesn’t remember getting to the ward or how he ended up watching his son going through the door to a private room. He stopped at the threshold and he could feel his brother breathing down his neck. The door had closed behind him and Sherlock could see a distorted form in the door’s small window.

He was afraid of what came next. He was afraid of what was behind that door. He didn’t have his son’s bravery or his husband’s courage. He had logic and reason....but he also had love, despite the disadvantages, he had to hold on to that.

He had to hope.

And perhaps now was a good time to impart some advice to his brother, just like Mycroft had done to him all those years ago. “This is the only time I will talk to you about this and I will likely barely acknowledge it in future, whatever happens....but if you love Lestrade you should tell him. Your sexcapades have been going on long enough.” He shuddered again, he was still facing the door – god knows he wouldn’t be able to say any of this to his brother’s face. “You never know what’s round the corner or through the next door. If love already has you at a disadvantage, you might as well embrace it for the advantages.”

He felt a hand grip his shoulder in acknowledgement and used the support to open the door and face the music.

Sherlock’s eyes fixed on the pale man lying on the bed in front of him. Looking back it was a clichéd scene, like something out of those hospital dramas John made him watch. He had a breathing tube protuding from his mouth, there was a constant beeping from the intimidating machine beside the bed and his bruised and battered faced made his husband barely recognisable.

How did he get here? Indeed.

“Hey Pops” he heard Finn say, as he reached for John’s right hand. His voice was filled with all of the emotions Sherlock should be feeling. “What have you gone and done now eh? Chasing after murderers?! Who would have thought it?” he joked. “You are going to be alright. Dad and I are here now and we are going to look after you. You’re safe now.” Finn looked over his shoulder at him “Right Dad?”

Sherlock nodded in recognition. He had said those words to Finn during the first days of their acquaintance. He had stolen them however from a much wiser man, who had said them to him many years before.........

Chapter Text

Sherlock flinched against the flick of the whip against his bare back. His captor had been ‘entertaining’ him for over an hour. He was furiously speaking to him in Russian, humiliating him in the most vulgar way. The detective was blocking him out, retreating to his most important and most visited room in his mind palace.

The one labelled ‘John’.

They were drinking tea. John in his chair at 221b, smirking like he had just outsmarted Sherlock and was loving it. Sherlock in his chair, watching his doctor’s bright blue eyes shining with mirth and happiness. He held on to that image as pain filtered through to his brain.

Suddenly his head was pulled roughly upwards by his hair. “Sherlock!” his attacker spat into his face. Sherlock’s vision was blurry, but he found himself staring into the same blue eyes he had just been finding comfort in.

John? His attacker was John? That’s not right....John couldn’t speak Russian...wait that was the part he was focusing on? John wouldn’t torture him, treat him so cruelly....would he? Is he working for Moriaty? Had he been fooled this whole time? Was everything he thought that was good in the world a lie?

“Sherlock!” the angry and forceful John continued. The face didn’t really look like John, just the eyes. It was more the voice....the voice was John’s “Sherlock!”. The voice was becoming more gentle, but firm. “Sherlock wake up” his torturer pleaded.

Sherlock sat bolt upright and brought himself back into the real world. The distinctive features of 221b’s sitting room came into focus, he was on the couch. It had been a nightmare....well a nightmarish memory. One that had been distorted by John. His doctor now had a hand on his shoulder, his blue eyes searching his face. Sherlock was panting and he could feel the cold sweat on his face and back.

“Good you’re awake then” he muttered before leaning back and removing his hand. “You were thrashing about in your sleep and murmuring my name. I thought you may have been having a nightmare.” Sherlock’s heart was pounding hard and he couldn’t distinguish the John in front of him with the angry, nasty John of his dream.

His lack of reaction must have registered, as a look of concern covered John’s features. “A nightmare based in reality” he elaborated, when he finally found his voice.

John’s eyes came alight in understanding - Sherlock had told him what had happened in the year they had been apart. The year he had been dead. What he had done....what had been done to him. How he had dismantled Moriaty’s network piece by piece.

John had listened, clenching his fists and noticeably holding his tongue at times, but he had managed to keep his anger in check....for the most part. He had let out derisive snorts and rolled his eyes at various intervals. He had blurted out questions when his frustration got the better of him.

“What do you mean you let them torture you?”

“I needed to bide my time.”

“Bide your time?! Sherlock you will have those scars forever!” John had run his hands through his hair “I should have been there with you.”

Sherlock hadn’t known what to say to that. They had eventually come to a charged silence, which was broken when John had thrown his mug across the room. The sound of the ceramic smashing against Baker Street’s walls, releasing the tension that had built up.

“I need time Sherlock,” John said, as Sherlock watch cold tea run down the wall. “but I can’t leave you right now. So I am going to sit on my chair and you are going to lie on the sofa until morning – when I know for sure this isn’t some messed up hallucination in the light of day.”

He had nodded in disbelief and had settled in for the night on the sofa. That had been in the early hours of the morning and he must have fallen asleep.

John moved from his position on the coffee table to perch precariously on the edge of the sofa, next to Sherlock’s knee. “I wish I knew how to play the violin” he said wistfully. Sherlock had a small smile on his face at the reference, he had soothed John’s own nightmares by playing his violin at all hours. It had always gone unspoken between them. The vulgar version of John from his nightmare started to disappear at this. He came up into a sitting position, jostling John slightly.

The doctor grabbed his hand and made sure Sherlock was staring directly into his eyes. He made sure the detective was listening. “You are going to be alright. I might not be able to play the violin, but I’m here. I’m here and I’m going to look after you. You’re safe now” John’s blue eyes were brimming with emotion and Sherlock could feel how much the doctor meant those words. How much he cared...after all this.

Caring was not an advantage.

But he was safe.

He was home.

He was with John.

The sunlight from the dawn was basking the flat in light. It highlighted the bags under John’s eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes that had kept him going. That had got him through some of the worst moments of his life and his ‘death’.

The dawn reminded him of the doctor’s words last night about this being a hallucination. “I’m still here.” He ventured, voice still croaky. John looked startled that he had spoken and confused by his words. Sherlock could see when the penny dropped in his mind.

“Yes you are.” John smiled without humour and removed his hand from where it had been holding Sherlock’s own. “Unbelievably you are...” he sighed and rubbed his face with his hands, ruffling that hideous moustache. “I can’t believe the past 12 hours have happened. I imagined you coming back to me so many times. I sat in that very chair” A firm finger pointed at his forgotten chair “and I spoke with your ghost. I asked for one more miracle and I’ve got it...but I don’t know what to do with it.”

There was a pregnant pause, as John looked at his feet. “Forgive me” came Sherlock’s whispered suggestion.

John snorted and laughed in disbelief, standing up and pacing away from the coffee table. The reaction stung. “Of course Sherlock it’s just that easy.” He responded sarcastically. He took a deep breath “What you told me last night was horrific and I hate that you went through that for me. I hate that I didn’t know that you were going through that. That bloody Mycroft and Molly perfect Hooper knew and didn’t do a pigging thing about it. That they let you fake your death to save my life.” He air quoted at those last words and turned to look at Sherlock again. “But you weren’t here Sherlock, you don’t what I went through. You don’t know how close I came to becoming the man I was before I met you...” John looked at his feet again, before staring Sherlock dead in the eye. “...The man who regularly eyed the gun in his drawer.”

Sherlock gasped, fully sitting up and awake now “John – You can’t be serious?!”

“Deadly” John snapped viciously. Sherlock’s face must have paled, because John closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, the anger draining from his body. “I need time Sherlock...I’m not like you, my body isn’t merely transport and I’m ruled by my emotions, I can’t just go back to ‘normal’” There were those air quotes again.

“John I-“ Sherlock tried to explain, but John held up his hand. “I think we have talked enough for now. I’m going to go and I don’t know when I will be back.” John said with a frightening finality.

Sherlock’s throat tightened at this, words of protest trapped there. John had gone to collect his coat and the detective was frozen in his seat, as he shouldered on the garment. “But I will be back” A flame of hope burst through Sherlock’s soul “I just don’t know when. I meant what I said before, I am here now and you’re safe.”

Sherlock was numb, but the underlying hope from John’s words caused him to dumbly nod in acceptance. “I look forward to seeing you again John, whenever that may be.” He offered, his voice shaken.

John nodded and hung around at the doorway for longer than necessary, before leaving their flat, which now felt as empty as Sherlock’s heart.

Chapter Text

13 days 6 hours and 42 minutes

That’s how long John had been in a coma.

The doctors had said that the sooner he woke up, the less chance there would be of significant brain damage. The brain, however, was such an unknown entity and they wouldn’t know the full extent of John’s until he woke up.

If he woke up.

He had spent the time sitting by John’s bedside, watching his unmoving eyes and the bruises develop on his pale skin. He had spent the time bickering with Mycroft and mollycoddling Finn, to the point that his son had snapped at him in frustration. He had spent the time pouring over cold cases, with the reassuring beep from the monitor of his husband’s heart.

Nothing changed.

Molly had been giving him body parts to analyse out of pity. The morgue was only a couple of staircases away from the ICU and John’s room. Sherlock was comfortable with that distance and usually ventured down there to give Finn sometime alone with his father. He had finally convinced him to get back to Uni and Finn usually came back to the hospital after classes, keeping vigil with his books and essays. His time in the morgue with Molly was helping him focus his mind and keeping away his itch for a fix, although his resolve was fading.

Lestrade had also started to badger him about taking cases, actual cases that weren’t accessible in the cold confines of John’s room. Lestrade was persistent in trying to lure Sherlock away from John’s beside, making all sorts of gruesome and intriguing promises of what would await him if he left the hospital walls. Sherlock suspected that Mycroft was behind the whole scheme, perhaps with assistance from Finn.

Sherlock had adamantly refused from the outset. John was going to wake up and Sherlock was going to be there when he did. Lestrade continued to come in each day with a different case to tempt him into leaving and each day Sherlock lost a little more hope. Six days after Lestrade started his quest, something in Sherlock finally snapped.

“Come on Sherlock it’s a ten – at least!” Lestrade emphasised, as he stood at the bottom of John’s hospital bed. “We can’t solve it without you.”

Sherlock snorted “You might as well get on your knees Lestrade if you are going to beg” he was dishevelled and sounded worn out. He spun round to face the DI, as if struck by inspiration. “-or do you only do that for Mycroft?” he sneered.

Lestrade rolled his eyes and Sherlock could feel the anger from his remark (and maybe the situation in general) radiating from him. His hands were on his hips, his teeth clenched. He sucked his lips in and seemed to make a decision “You know what I do”

Sherlock was confused and his expression must have shown this, as Lestrade continued unprompted “Mycroft Holmes is the only person I get on my knees for and I love it and I love him.”

Sherlock felt sick – that was far too much information than he needed. At least his brother seemed to have had a word with his sex buddy to establish the parameters of their relationship.

Lestrade’s next words broke his thoughts “But Mycroft isn’t why I’m here. I’m here for you and for him,” a stern finger was pointed in John’s direction. “Because I care about you. John wouldn’t want you losing yourself in this goddamn hospital room, getting closer and closer to the day we find you in a drug den.”

“Don’t be dramatic Graham.”

“I am not being dramatic!” Lestrade was going red. “If John were here right now, he would be saying ‘Make sure he’s alright, make sure he has something to do, don’t let him withdraw....Make sure I have someone to wake up to.”

Sherlock was feeling his emotions prickling his senses “Well if you take me on a case, I won’t be here for him to wake up to.”

“You would be a 15 mimute car ride away” Lestrade countered “and how many birthday parties, anniversaries and dinner dates have you been late for because of a case? If he did wake up in the hour we are gone, don't you think John would just roll his eyes as you rushed through the door? And then you could just kiss him silly in apology?”

Sherlock halted at this and considered. He looked at the cold cases strewn across the room, in his usual messy fashion. John would have something to say about that, he was sure. The hospital room had started to resemble Baker Street, except without the warmth and homeliness. He didn’t want to admit it (and he never would out loud), but Lestrade was right. John wouldn’t want him camping out here and, as he looked over to his unmoving husband, Sherlock was losing that hope that he would ever wake up......and the longer Sherlock stayed here, the sooner he would have to face that fact.

Sherlock wasn’t ready for that.

“Sherlock” Lestrade prompted.

“Fine” he finally conceded “just give me a minute, I’ll meet you outside.”

Lestrade looked shocked, wide eyed and face aghast “Right....err....ok” he turned and reached for the door handle. He paused and turned back to face Sherlock, pointing a finger in his direction “Oh and you know full well it’s Greg, you floppy haired git.” With this he stormed out and Sherlock half smiled.

He shouldered on his Belstaff and sat by John’s bedside. He gently reached for his husband’s hand, the clinical grey finger monitor getting in his way to properly hold it. “I miss holding your hand” he mused “and you grabbing mine back......You grabbing mine in the middle of a case, dragging me to somewhere safe. I relished those moments before we were together and when you did it after we were together, it always made me smile – once I knew neither of us were going to die. You make me feel like such a teenage girl sometimes.” He brought his other hand to reach over and also clasp John’s. He brought it to his mouth and kissed the knuckles. He remembered the number of times that said knuckles had punched him and chuckled. “I would give anything for you to punch me again.” He looked into the unresponsive face. “You really must be in a coma to not react to that comment.”

He stood and placed a kiss on his cheek, avoiding the bandages on his forehead. “There’s a case John!” he said in mock enthusiasm “Leatrade says it’s a ten, but it’s probably barely a seven. He’s been pestering me to get out of this hospital and leave you and.....I couldn’t.” He could feel that goddamn emotion finding it’s way to the surface. “But then your voice was in my head, telling me that what I was doing was a bit not good, so I’m going to go. I’ll be back soon, not a Sherlock soon, but actually soon. Finn will be here in an hour or so, after Uni and I can tell you all about the case when I’m back. I’ll probably solve it in seconds. Lestrade has become more incompetent in our absence, so I must go.” He leaned down and kissed John’s other cheek and moved to leave.

“Oh and I love you, never forget that.” At John’s heart-breaking silence, he finally turned and left the room.

Just as the door snicked closed, John’s eyes opened.

Chapter Text

John opened his eyes and saw an unfamiliar, yet familiar ceiling.

He groaned as the night before came back to him.

The rats

The train carriage

The plot

The bomb

His ‘forced’ confession. He had forgiven Sherlock and the detective had ended up making a joke of it. Of course he had – what else had John expected? Tears, hugs and an outpouring of emotions? Had he forgotten who Sherlock Holmes was?

Despite the trickery, his heart had certainly been racing, more so than it had in Sherlock’s absence. God he had missed the thrill. He had missed the excitement, the risk, the danger....the man.

It had been a month or so since Sherlock had come back and things had been.....awkward. The detective had been being nice. John didn’t know how to deal with that and in a way it had made things worse.

John’s anger had still been there (a few chip and pin machines had felt the brunt of it). He was also still trying to adapt to the fact that Sherlock was back. Being away from him and 221b would lead to moments of him to almost forgetting.

It didn’t help that Sherlock hadn’t been pestering him. He had had barely any contact from him at all and Sherlock had never initiated it. Perhaps something in the way that John had reacted that night had got through to the detective. It seemed that he had actually given John some space. Maybe he was actually in touch with someone else’s feelings for once....and wasn’t that a scary thought.

John hadn’t liked it. It had made him feel....unsettled.

He wanted Sherlock to want him....to need him. He knew how desperate that made him, but he still hadn’t been ready to forgive the other man. His therapist had said that he was angry and hurt and he needed time to process things....John however had come to a different conclusion.

He had felt humiliated.

His pride had been hurt. He had felt stupid for believing the lie, for not seeing the clues Sherlock had left him. He had felt like an idiot for grieving....for falling in love with a dead man (although maybe he would not admit that bit as often to himself). The worst thing was that Sherlock had done it all for him. All those unmentionable things he had seen, felt and done had all been for the people he cared about.

John had felt inadequate....unworthy, yet that anger and hurt was still coursing through him. He was a selfish human being when it came to emotions and the people he cared about. John was meant to be the soldier, the one who looked after other people. The one who made tea and shot down murderous cabbies. How dare Sherlock jump off a roof for him? John could look after himself and he didn’t need Sherlock to protect him. He needed the detective here with him.....always.

John self realisation had made him accept that he needed a new therapist, but also that he wasn’t invincible and he needed to stop being selfish.

Mycroft had chosen this moment, in John’s journey of self discovery, to follow him round London in his black vehicle of doom. John’s attempts to avoid the inevitable chit chat had been for nought, as he had found him self opposite the smarmy face, in the back of said vehicle.

The puppeteer of the British government had said that Sherlock (and subsequently his country) needed him for a case. Apparently that had been what John had needed to hear and for once he had done what Mycroft Holmes had wanted him to do.

He had gone to visit his best friend.

He had found a surprised, but happy Sherlock at 221b.Then.....

The rats.

The train carriage.

The plot.

The bomb.

The forgiveness.

After his heartfelt statement, he had thought they were going to die and that Sherlock was shaking with tears. Then his detective had looked up and grinned at him. In that moment he had known that they were safe, both literally and figuratively.

Sherlock Holmes was back and maybe John Watson was too.

Now he was lying in his old room at Baker Street, waking up from the eventful night before, where he had forgiven Sherlock Holmes for not being dead.

What happened next?

He groaned again and rubbed his hands over his face. How does one rebuild a friendship when so much has happened?

He sat up on the bed and looked at the long forgotten surroundings. His old wardrobe, the worn carpet, the bedside table with the broken handle. This was his life once - could it be again?

There was only one way to find out – he had to try. He had to put one foot in front of the other and see what happened.

Now that the anger and hurt had faded, he realised he had been given a gift – a miracle that he had once begged for.

He had his best friend back.

If he had been offered after the fall to have Sherlock back in a year, whatever the reason, he would have taken it with open arms.

He had been reminded of that last night with the bomb. In that moment he had faced losing Sherlock again, but more significantly losing the second chance he had been taking for granted. Once he saw that Sherlock was laughing, realised that the git had set him up; he was annoyed sure, but he was also relieved.

He still had his second chance.

Or was it his third, fourth, fifth? This wasn’t their first bomb threat or the first time they had faced death.
Maybe once again Sherlock had known him better than himself and used the situation to force his forgiveness. His demanding detective was still there and ready to come out to play. Maybe it meant that Sherlock had also forgiven himself.

After the police had arrived and they had assured Lestrade that they would return to produce a statement, they had still been high on the adrenalin of the evening. They had headed out into London, bought fish and chips and ended up wondering around aimlessly.

Sherlock had told him about how he had been reacquainting himself with the city, he had been quite poetic – talking about heartbeats and breathing it back in. He had also talked about the cases he had solved since his return. The excitement and passion had shone through his eyes. John had been keeping an eye on what the detective had been up to (there had been a media explosion once his return from the dead had been made public), but it had still been something to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

His detective had been exuberant and alive and John had basked in it. In different circumstances it might have felt like a date.

It might have felt like a date, if Sherlock hadn’t just come back from the dead.

If John hadn’t just forgiven him for dying.

If Sherlock actually expressed emotions or was remotely interested in love.

If John wasn’t scared of losing his best friend all over again.

It would have felt like a date, if Sherlock wasn’t Sherlock and John wasn’t John.

One thing he was sure of was that he had never been more in love with the man in that moment. The near-death experience may have helped, but John knew it was more that that....bigger than that.

He was also sure that he wouldn’t let his feelings jeopardise this. This wonderful connection with another human being that he had only just got back. That he had only just remembered the worth and importance of. He wasn’t going to let his emotions get in the way again. Before it had been his anger and pride; he wasn’t going to let lust and love do the same.

They had automatically found their way back to Baker Street and it had seemed like the most natural thing to do. He had fallen asleep to violin music in his old bed, with hope for tomorrow.

The reality in the cold light of the morning was slightly different, but still.....hopeful and John was determined to make something of it.

He made his way downstairs to an empty sitting room and kitchen. He found his way to the kettle and optimistically opened the fridge for milk.

His endeavour was abruptly interrupted, as Sherlock’s door burst open, revealing the man himself. “A case John!” the detective exclaimed. He was actually dressed and was shouldering on his jacket, as he moved through the kitchen.

He turned to John and looked puzzled. “What are you doing? We don’t have time for tea John – there’s a case!” he repeated and threw up his arms in enthusiasm.

John stayed in his spot and smiled to himself. His demanding detective was definitely back.

Sherlock’s head and shoulders (now complete with his customary scarf and Belstaff) reared round the door to the kitchen. “John!” he expressed impatiently. “Come now! The game is on!”

Chapter Text

John was awake.

John was awake.

That was all that was going through Sherlock’s mind.

Once again his ordinary doctor had quieted his brain and given him focus. And he was focused, he had left Lestrade in his wake and rushed to the hospital.

And now Sherlock was running, as if his life depended on it......and maybe it did. His Belstaff was flying behind him and his long legs were striding as fast as he could make them.

His adrenalin levels were skyrocketing almost as if he was on a case, but instead of running away from someone he was running towards someone, towards John.

John who was awake.

John was awake and he hadn’t been there. John had finally opened his eyes and what was the first thing he saw? Some dreary hospital ceiling? It hadn’t been Sherlock that was for sure. Had anybody been there or was he on his own? Sherlock had promised a long time ago that he would never leave John alone again.....he had to get back to him and keep his promise.

He rushed passed a nurse and almost pushed him to the ground. He ignored the subsequent shouts of angry annoyance that followed. He noticed that people kept out of his way after that.

He must have looked quite a sight. His distinctive curls were stuck to his forehead with sweat and the look of sheer determination on his face would put fear in anyone.

He could vaguely hear Lestrade shouting his name urgently behind him, but he paid him no attention. He had finally reached his destination.

Once he got to John’s room, he didn’t think, he didn’t breathe – he had one thing on his mind – getting to his husband.

He burst through the door without warning and saw said husband sat up in the bed, his blue eyes startled by his entrance.

“John” he breathed, as his face broke in to a grin. He hadn’t really believed that it was true, until that moment.

John was awake!

He made to move towards the bed to embrace John, to kiss him and hear his voice. He was in touching distance of the scratchy hospital blanket covering John’s knees, when he was abruptly pulled back and away from his goal.

He flailed inelegantly and started to fight against the arms around him.

What the hell was going on? Why was he being pulled back? Was something wrong with John, could he not touch him? He looked at John for an answer, as he continued to struggle against his captor. He took time to really ‘see’ him. His look was confused, frown lines formed on his forehead and his face was lacking a smile. There was the smallest hint of fear behind those blue eyes and Sherlock knew, he just knew.

This wasn’t his husband.

Sherlock stopped struggling, as his body registered the shock. This wasn’t his husband....not in mind anyway. The arms around him tightened in some sort of embrace, before letting him go. He looked behind him and saw a flash of silver hair, Lestrade had caught up with him then.

He also acknowledged the absence of his son, his brother and even Molly from the room. If this was some big happy reunion, wouldn’t they be here?

“I am guessing that you are someone I should know?” the achingly familiar voice broke his thoughts. How he had longed to hear that voice again. Perhaps not those words, but he still closed his eyes in relief and recognition.

He took a deep breath and opened his eyes to look at John once more. He swept his curls out of his eyes and tugged on the lapels of his coat. If he was going to meet his husband for the first time, he wanted to look the best he could. “You guess correctly.” He confirmed “What’s the last thing you remember?”

John sighed “I’ve already been asked this question and my answer hasn’t changed. I am so confused.” He was frustrated and Sherlock could appreciate the feeling. “The last thing I remember is being in Afghanistan and getting shot.”

Sherlock’s body mentally shut down at his words, he could almost feel the colour from his face draining away. He could not process this.

John didn’t remember him. He didn’t remember their love, their cases, their adventures, their son....their life.
He swiftly spun out of the room, giving John his first glimpse of his trademark Belstaff flair. He was once again moving through the hospital, but this time he was moving away from John. He didn’t see anybody he knew in the corridor, which was just how he needed it. He deduced the surroundings and located the nearest supply closet. A quick pick of the lock later and he had ensconced himself in there.

His knees gave out and he succumbed to the sobs overtaking his body.

- - - - - -

Sherlock was found by Finn eventually. He found himself staring at a shelf full of toilet rolls, when the sound of a lock being picked broke his thoughts. How long had he been sat here? He had been in his mind palace trying to lose himself in the wing called ‘John’.
He felt the draft from the door opening and shutting again before a familiar figure sat down next to him.

There was silence for a while, Sherlock was back to the overwhelming numbness he had experienced after the days of John’s accident. Finn was the only thing that had kept him focused then and the need to protect his son was starting to bring him out of the fog.

He had to say something comforting, something that would reassure Finn that everything would be ok, even though he knew it wouldn’t be. What would John say if their situations were reversed? Hmm....probably something along the lines of ‘Your Dad was an arrogant cock when I met him, although not much has changed, he didn’t accept love then and it make take us a while to find the man we knew again.’ He would certainly be optimistic (and he would be facing greater odds) and he would infuse Finn with that optimism and hope.
Sherlock didn’t think he had an optimistic bone in his body and he lived by logic and sense, not hope and belief.

Before Sherlock could formulate a sentence, Finn’s raspy voice filtered through his brain. “I’ve sent Mycroft to the roof.”

Sherlock half smiled that’s one way to break the ice. “He actually believes I will be there? Let’s hope he jumps.”

“You don’t mean that.” Finn replies earnestly, Sherlock grunts in response. He takes the time to fully look at his son and takes in the red eyes, dishevelled hair, bitten finger nails and most of all the defeated look on his face.

“No I don’t” Sherlock admits, “but I appreciate you putting him off my scent. I need time to....process.”

Finn nods in acknowledgement and stares at his fingers, his arms crossed over his knees. “I get it. I was the first one to see him, so I’ve had a bit more time to.....process.”

Finn was the first one to see him?

“The doctor said he was a bit disorientated, but I never expected him to not know who I was. I have never seen him look at me so blankly, so devoid of emotion.”

Sherlock’s words of comfort were still not coming. He reached for the young man’s hand, hopefully that would be enough. Sherlock could fully empathise with his son though. In his haste to reach his husband, he hadn’t considered he might not be fully....awake....and seeing those blank blue eyes had brought him back to reality with an unwanted bump.

“It’s unlikely he will regain his memories.” Sherlock offered finally.

“Dad!” Finn shouted in disdain. He stood up and pulled his hand out of Sherlock’s grip. “That’s what you choose to say to me right now?” He questioned, as he looked down at Sherlock. “Can’t you hear his voice in your head, saying it’s a bit not good?”

Sherlock was stunned by the outburst and felt his own rage bubbling up in reaction. He stood himself and gripped the toilet rolls, he had spent the last God knows how long staring at. “I don’t know, I haven’t heard his voice for nearly two weeks. I don’t know what to do, what to say, how to act properly. I don’t know how to comfort you or how to make it all go away!”

Finn’s eyes stare at him in anger, watering with unshed tears. “Bullshit!”

Sherlock has a moment to be shocked by the reaction, before his son continues. “That’s absolute bullshit and you know it. You are withdrawing, pushing me away. I am your son. You chose to be my Dad. I wasn’t.....I’m not some biological obligation. You chose me and you know me and I know you. I won’t let you hide behind your ‘stunted emotions’ - that ship sailed a long time ago, when you met Dad.”

Sherlock was gaping like a fish. Finn turned and put his head in his hands, some of the fury draining from his body.

“Do you think I know what to say?” He continued more gently. “What do I say to a man who’s partner doesn’t remember who he is? Who’s lives have been so intertwined for so long that anybody who knows them couldn’t imagine them any other way?” He turned back to look at Sherlock. “I’m just as lost, confused and hurt as you Dad. You don’t have to say anything; we are in the same boat. We are lost in the storm, but we have an oar each and we can get through it together.” He looked at Sherlock then. “No more negativity.” He clarified.

Sherlock, still stunned, nodded dumbly. “No more negativity.” He agreed. “That was very well put Finn, your father would have just punched me.”

His son laughed “Ha, well maybe I can teach him some lessons too.”

The detective nodded. He looked down at his hands still gripping the toilet rolls and the glare of his wedding band caught his eye. Extracting his fingers from their purchase, he fingered the ring with his right hand. “I was trying to access my mind palace before. I had this silly notion that if I could remember everything- if I could spend some time with him there that I could remember enough for the both of us.”

“That’s better,” Finn conceded. “And, as you so bluntly put it, it’s likely that you will have to remember for both of you, for the three of us. Maybe that’s what we need to do to get through the storm.”

Sherlock looked back up at his son. The younger man had lost his bravado and he could see hints of that lost little boy they had found all those years ago. He could see his vulnerability showing through the cracks.

He knew what to say.

“Well let me take you there,” he offered. Finn frowned. “To my mind palace.” He clarified. “Let me relive a memory with you. Not the big stuff - The Fall or the wedding or how we got together. Just a day of normality.” Finn raised his eyebrow in disbelief. “Well normal for us.” Sherlock felt a small smile forming on his face.

“Ok, let’s hear it.” Finn gestured to their previous spot by the toilet rolls and they both settled back down on the floor.

“It was after my return from the dead,” Sherlock began “but before I revealed my feelings to your father.” He swallowed, remembering that uncertain time, being filled with anticipation. “He had forgiven me for being dead, but we were still finding who we were again together. I knew I was in love with him, as you know, I loved him when I jumped. I was however in denial about it. To me it was a disadvantage, a lesson that your dear Uncle Mycroft had taught me. Yet during my year away, being without John was the worst thing I had ever endured at that point. I knew then that it was unavoidable and there was no way to.....un-love him.

“So I had resigned myself to loving him and keeping it to myself; making the most of what I had. I didn’t want to lose him completely and, as you know, the way my feelings eventually did come to the surface was out of frustration more than anything else.” Finn nodded in recognition and Sherlock continued.

“Before he forgave me, I had been.....not me. I had been careful, polite and considerate.” His son let out a bark of laughter in disbelief at this. The detective half smiled, a mischievous glint in his eye. “Once I had his forgiveness however, I felt I could be myself again. So I pushed the envelope a little bit and caused some mayhem at Baker Street......”

Chapter Text

Coming back from the dead had been a not boring experience for Sherlock Holmes.

Being dead had been a not boring experience too, but for different reasons.

When he had faked his death, leaving John had been harder than expected (and he had thought it was going to be fairly difficult). Standing on top of that roof and seeing the worry, disbelief and despair on John’s face had been....disconcerting.

It had broken his heart.

The bomb in the swimming pool had made him realise he loved John, but he hadn’t fully accepted it until he was standing on top of a roof willing to die for him.

Willing to leave him.

Caring was not an advantage.

Mycroft’s theory had been proved right. Caring had left people vulnerable and at risk. His colleague, his housekeeper, his best friend had all become Moriarty’s targets.

But maybe Sherlock was ok with that, because he could do something about it. Even though he knew suicide wasn’t the real end game, he knew in that moment he would have done it anyway. To save them. To save the lives they could live.

During his subsequent time away, he had worked with an unrivalled determination that he didn’t know he possessed to destroy Moriarty’s web. It had been difficult, but he had wanted to get what needed to be done as quickly as possible. He had needed to get back to John.

He almost hadn’t believed it when his goal had become a reality and he had been on his way back to London, to Baker Street....to John.

He had been so excited to see John again and relieved to finally tell him the truth. No more lies, no more secrets and he could get his grumpy, lovable flatmate back. He had been almost bouncing with anticipation. Unfortunately their reunion hadn’t gone to plan and, as the blood from his nose had been running down his face, he had suspected he maybe had done something a bit not good.

The evening that had followed at Baker Street, his first back, had had more impact on him than John’s knuckles. He had been brought back to reality with a bump and John’s non-violent reaction had deflated his bubble of excitement and....hope.

John hadn’t been a player in this particular game, just a pawn used by Moriarty to get what he wanted from Sherlock.

The detective had forgotten that or perhaps never fully realised it. Had never fully thought about it, too focused on keeping John safe and if he were honest playing the god damn game. Watching the range of emotions John had gone through that night had been an unwelcome, but necessary dose of reality.

John had left the next morning and, despite the doctor’s assurance that he would be back eventually, Sherlock was frightened that his doctor would never forgive him. It was this fear that ruled his actions in the following months. He had kept his distance, didn’t initiate contact, didn’t pester.....didn’t ‘Sherlock’. It went against Sherlock’s very nature, but he would do it for John so he could have some space. He would do it to get him back.

Maybe dying was unforgiveable (despite the reasons behind it), maybe he would have to get used to a life without John – John had had to get used to a life without him. But John was a better human being and Sherlock was selfish....he was not sure it was something he could get used to. He had trialled Molly Hooper as a replacement assistant, with disappointing results.

Maybe you had to be in love with your sidekick to enjoy them and their stupidity. Sherlock had certainly missed John’s stupidity...his statements of the obvious and his interest in the inane.

Bizarrely it had been Mycroft that had come to Sherlock’s rescue and for once he had been glad for it. His brother had somehow convinced John to assist Sherlock with the plot to blow up parliament. When he had seen his doctor outside his door, he had been filled with hope and excitement. He had felt like a teenager (or what he expected it felt like to be a normal teenager).

Having John by his side had allowed his inspiration to flow. He had felt like he was on fire and before he knew it he had been in a train carriage with another bomb. For a few desperate moments he had thought that it was really over, that it had all been for nought and it would end there for both of them.

Finding the safety switch had been a stroke of luck and Sherlock had had a moment of disbelief, before relief and happiness had took over. The resulting adrenalin had made him be bold in that moment, he had goaded John into forgiving him. Had withheld the truth for a minute so that he could seek a ‘deathbed’ confession. He hadn’t expected it to be so full of emotion, of care....of truth. He had been very close to kissing him in that moment and if the bomb really was about to go off he almost certainly would have done. Instead he had laughed and, unlike the restaurant, his ruse had been met with laughter and....acceptance. Seeing the amusement in John’s eyes had been sublime and a long forgotten treasure.

The evening that followed had seen them riding on the highs of their success, the thrill of the case and for Sherlock the thrill of forgiveness.

He had felt untouchable.

It had been so long since he had truly spent time with John and it felt like they were them again. They had giggled and bickered. They had caught up, well Sherlock had deduced John and the doctor had looked at him in amazement. The detective had missed his praise and his smile. The way he coughed and looked at his feet when he was nervous. The way he looked at the sky in exasperation when Sherlock said something ‘a bit not good’. He had missed him, he had missed his John.
He had fallen in love with him all over again.

Since then things had almost got back to normal, well Sherlock and John normal. The detective was just glad that their names were being said in the same sentence again.

Lestrade and his gang of incompetents had been appreciative of John’s return. Murmured comments of ‘He’s less of a freak with the doctor back’ had led to John bruising his knuckles again. Sherlock had found it quite amusing when he wasn’t on the receiving end.
He was currently working out how to convince John to move back in, without actually making John aware. He had started with leaving spare toiletries and basic clothes at Baker Street. This meant the doctor could stay over during cases without too much hassle. He would even sometimes delay his deductions, so that the case would drag out a bit longer. Some would call it manipulation, Sherlock called it friendship.

He had been on his best behaviour before the bomb, but now that he had been forgiven, he had found that behaving was boring.

This thought process had led him to his current situation. He was wearing his bed sheet and doing an experiment on one of John’s shirts. He was often covered in one of those Grandad jumpers (that Sherlock secretly adored and if one were to look under the detective’s bed, one might find one of said Grandad jumpers), but the other day, for once, it had been too warm to wear one. Sherlock had been able to admire John in a shirt. It had stretched over the shorter man’s muscles and Sherlock had found it quite distracting. He had ensured that the item had ‘accidentally’ been left behind and he was currently watching how it reacted to a Bunsen burner.

“Coo-eee!” Mrs Hudson’s voice broke through his thoughts “Sherlock dear you have a visitor!”. Her head popped round the doorway and he smiley disposition fell as she saw him. “Oh Sherlock! Why aren’t you dressed and you have a perfectly good shirt that you are ruining!”

“Thank you for the observation Mrs Hudson, I don’t what I would do without you.” Was his sarcastic response.

“Oh Sherlock” she shook her head and disappeared with a frustrated “Oh I’ll leave you to him” as John’s head replaced hers at the door.

His face showed his slight shock at Sherlock’s appearance and he rolled his eyes before revealing take away bags. “I brought Thai.”

“Not hungry” was Sherlock’s reply, as he turned back to burning the shirt.

“What are you doing?” John asked as he placed the food on the kitchen counter, taking two plates out and opening up the take out containers.

“I’m bored,” Sherlock ‘clarified’.

John looked back to the other man and his experiment and did a double take. “Is that my shirt?”

“Yes”

John took a deep breath, Sherlock could tell he was trying to weigh his words carefully. “Why are you burning my shirt?”

“Well I wasn’t exactly going to use mine.”

The doctor spluttered in disbelief at this “Of course not – it’s not like you are actually wearing one!”

Sherlock looked at his sheet and shrugged.

John snatched the shirt out of the other man’s hands and doused the small flames. “Hey!” Sherlock protested.

“Do not use my shirts or any of my clothes for experiments!” John quite firmly shouted “Or because you are bloody bored!”

The doctor had become quite red in the face and angry at this point, Sherlock always found him irresistible in these moments. He loved the fire in John’s eyes when he pushed his buttons. “Fine I’ll burn the sheet then” he countered, as he whipped off the sheet and stood naked in the kitchen.

John looked at him wide eyed and shocked, before he averted his eyes from the sight before him. “You god damn drama queen” he spat out “have the bloody shirt”, as he shoved it back at Sherlock, before storming out of the kitchen.

Sherlock smirked, oh it was good to be back.

Chapter Text

"So you’re my husband?” John asked the dark haired man in the hospital chair by his bed.

“Yes.” Came the quiet reply.

John was struggling in this new world he had found himself in. The last thing he remembered was the pain of getting shot in Afghanistan. There he had been surrounded by brutality and danger and now he had woken up with a husband and a son. Apparently he had got shot a long time ago and John could feel the truth of that in his bones. He could see it in the corners of his eyes and in the colour of his hair. “And the young man who was here before is our son?.” He continued.

“Yes, Finn.” ‘Sherlock’ replied.

Well if he had to imagine his life in the future, being married with a son would be pretty lovely. Especially when his spouse was bloody gorgeous. How the hell had he managed that? John coughed and looked down at his hands in his lap. He glanced up to see that his husband was half smiling. “What? Is this your deducing thing?”

“Partly” Sherlock conceded “but it is also me knowing your habits very well.”

“Oh” he eloquently replied. He felt exposed and a little frustrated. How was he meant to interact with someone who had known him for so long, but he had only just met? “What happens next?” that seemed like a reasonable place to start.

The beautiful man looked a bit shocked at the question. John hadn’t really thought how much this must be affecting Sherlock, too lost in this new reality.

“Well your doctor says you should be discharged in the next few days.” Sherlock started, as he stood and moved to look out of the room’s only window. “The most logical thing would be for you to come back to our flat, in the hope that something will jog your memory.” He turned to look back at John. “Despite what’s logical or whether you ever reclaim the memories you lost, you will always be welcome at Baker Street. There are two bedrooms and you don’t have to remember our life together to be a part of it.”

“Thank you.” John simply stated. He was touched by the words and truly grateful for the man’s patience. How hard must it be to not be recognised by the man you love and still welcome him into your home?

“I play the violin when I’m thinking and sometimes I don’t talk for days...” Sherlock stated and John felt confused by the interruption in his thoughts. “Potential flatmates should know the worst about each other.” Sherlock finished, as he looked at the other man with hope in his eyes.

John knew he should already know that and much more besides.

At his silence, Sherlock looked back out the window. “I said that to you when we first met.” He explained wistfully “Although now I play more violin than I ever did, since I met you and Finn, to soothe nightmares and such. You also make me talk every day, so perhaps they aren’t my worst habits anymore.” He turned round and walked to stand behind the chair he had just vacated, hands in his pockets. “You probably had a list as long as your arm of my bad habits now, but keeping human body parts in the fridge is probably at the top.”

John laughed at the joke, but Sherlock’s face remained unmoved. “You’re serious?”

“Deadly”

John didn’t know what to say. How was this his life? His distress must have shown on his face, as Sherlock sat back down in the chair. “John I-“ he went to reach for the doctor’s hand, but pulled away before their fingers could touch. “I know our life may seem strange, but you did thrive in it. The first time round I was able to impress you with my deductions and the thrill of a case. Now you are joining a life we have already built together. To me it seems the most normal thing in the world, but you have taught me to pick up on social cues and learn more about human emotions, plus I know you better than anyone, so I can tell you are finding this situation...abnormal.”

“That’s putting it lightly.” John interjected.

Sherlock half smiled and looked away “I’m trying to balance not scaring you off, whilst trying to prepare you the best way I can for the reality of things. You must know that I will do everything I can to make this as easy as it possibly can be for you. I don’t want you to feel any pressure to be something you don’t feel comfortable with. If that means you don’t stay with me at 221B or never see me again-“

John grabbed the pained man’s hand “Sherlock I have no intention of giving up. I’m sure the memories will come back and if they don’t, we will figure it out.”

Sherlock nodded, as he rubbed his thumb over John’s hand. The doctor liked the feeling. The other man started to talk again “Thank you for saying that, but whatever happens between you and I, please don’t let that affect your relationship with Finn. If your memories don’t come back, he deserves to still have his father in his life. You can make new memories, you don’t need the old ones to-“

“Sherlock” John interrupted, a tinge of anger in his tone. “From what you know of me and my character before I met you, does any of that indicate I would abandon any child of mine?”

Sherlock’s whole expression fell at his words. “No of course not, forgive me I-“

“It’s fine, it’s all fine.” He said as he squeezed the hand he was holding. Sherlock closed his eyes. John wasn’t sure what was going through the other man’s head.

“We have always found a way to muddle through together, since we first met. I have every confidence we will do the same on this occasion.” Sherlock had opened his eyes again and was staring right into John’s soul.

“Tell me about it.” John implored. “Tell me about our lives together.” Perhaps it would help John remember how he became worthy of such a man.

Chapter Text

John opened the door to the living room at Baker Street and called out to Sherlock. After no reply and not spotting the detective in the living room or kitchen, he pottered over to the kettle to make some tea.

They had arranged for John to come over and the duo would likely order takeaway and bicker over bad telly. John was looking forward to it, once the other man showed his face.

It was good to be back to this...simplicity. If that word could ever be used to describe Sherlock Holmes. John had thought he would never have nights like this again and here he was back at Baker Street, making tea. He smiled at the kettle.

“Feeling nostalgic?” Sherlock’s voice made John jump.

John gave him a dirty look “Git” he verbalised, as Sherlock swept in the kitchen.

“Tea would be lovely.” He quipped, as John rolled his eyes.

“Case?” John questioned Sherlock’s previous whereabouts.

“Morgue.” The other man replied “Molly was feeling generous.” He finished excitedly.

“Wonderful” the doctor retorted. He finished off the tea and brought it through to their respective chairs, before he took a seat.

Sherlock joined him not long afterwards, his Belstaff gone and replaced with his distinctive dressing gown. He faced him, with his legs elegantly crossed, teacup balanced delicately on his left knee. He was gorgeous like this, John couldn’t stop staring at those long legs.

“So when are you going to move back in?” The voice attached to those legs broke his daydream.

As ever with Sherlock, John was a bit startled at the topic of conversation. “Is this one of those occasions where you think we have discussed this already, but I actually wasn’t in the room?”

Sherlock stared at John, teacup paused between his saucer and his mouth. After a few moments, he blinked and finished the movement of taking a sip of tea. He brought the teacup back in place and regained his composure. His left hand came up in a flourish and John rolled his eyes at the extravagant motion. “Whether you were there or not is irrelevant.” John always liked to feel wanted “We both know it will happen eventually, so why bother delaying the inevitable? You were getting wistful over tea not five minutes ago.”

John tried not to let his anger rise at Sherlock’s comments. “I can’t just waltz back in here Sherlock. I need to adjust to the fact that you are alive, sat across from me being your usual charming self.” John couldn’t help adding. More calmly he continued “We need an opportunity to get back to ‘normal’.”

“It’s been three months John!”

“And you were dead for a year.” John countered, eyes hard.

“Is that what we are doing tit for tat?” Sherlock was becoming unusually emotional “How long are you going to punish me? I have explained myself and you claim to have forgiven me.” Yes a bomb and an empty train carriage had assured that. “I can’t understand what you need to adjust to.”

‘The fact that I am in love with you’ John thought. He hadn’t really accepted it until after Sherlock had jumped, it had seemed less risky to admit it to a ghost. And now he was back with his ridiculous cheekbones and John was struggling to handle his ‘new’ feelings.

Before John could verbalise a less honest response, a sound broke his thoughts. A sound he didn’t ever think he would hear again. A sound he hadn’t wanted to hear again.

Irene Adler’s moan echoed through the flat, causing John’s supressed anger to bubble to the surface. “She’s alive then?” Sherlock remained silent “You bloody saved her didn’t you?”

Sherlock looked at his now cold tea “I could not leave the business unfinished” He explained.

“Oh I bet you got her business finished.” John muttered under his breath, his anger becoming fully fledged now. “Did she know?”

“Did she know what?” Sherlock seemed confused.

“Don’t be bloody stupid Sherlock” John’s voice was tight and breathy, a sure sign that his temper was starting to get the better of him. “Did she know that you faked your death? Like Mycroft, your parents and bloody Molly Hooper?!” John was fully shouting now, in his distinctive way, making certain words louder and becoming quieter towards the end.

Sherlock’s face remained impassive and emotionless, but John could tell that his anger had affected the other man. “No of course she didn’t John, she worked for Moriarty. Why would you think that?”

John stood in frustration at Sherlock’s words. He stomped away from his chair, his hands on his hips. “Because it seems everyone bloody else knew but me. I have forgiven you, but god that still hurts. Even after you have explained the whys and the hows; you trusted Molly Hooper before me....Now The Woman is back and once again things aren’t what I thought they were.”

Sherlock looked bewildered at John’s words. “But I had to include Molly, she offered and she could see that I was not...right.”

“Right, so now I’m an incompetent friend.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes “Enough John, stop being an idiot.”

“Careful Sherlock” the other man warned, anger lighting his eyes.

“You know I couldn’t show any of it to you....show what I was really feeling. I had to play the part. If you had doubted it, the game would have been up and you would have been dead.” He paused and stared up at John “But Molly sIipped under Jim’s radar, which is ironic, as she was the person who meant the most.”

John’s train of thought stuttered, as the words filtered through to his brain. To be honest the train crashed and burned. His heart started to break, he could feel the parts of it falling into the pit of his stomach. He finally found his voice, “You and she then...you er...like her?”

The other man frowned at him “Yes of course I like her. I thought that was obvious.”

“Right, right” the doctor had calmed, though still reeling from the shock.

Sherlock hadn’t missed his reaction “John? What’s wrong? Why do you look like you are in shock?” The confused look hadn’t left the detective’s face, he looked genuinely concerned.

He ignored the questions laid at his door, too focused on the task at hand “So have you told her how you feel?”

“How I feel? – John I- She knows how I feel. Why are you-“

“So when did things develop?” John interrupted “When you were....away?”

The frown lines on Sherlock were going to become permanent at this rate, but then a light seemed to reach Sherlock’s eyes, relaxing his forehead. “You believe Molly and I are romantically involved” he deduced.

“You said she meant the most to you.” Sherlock tried to speak, but John wouldn’t let him get a word in. “And if that’s the case Sherlock, you should grab it with both hands.” His voice had a frayed, emotional edge to them.

“John I am not romantically interested in Molly Hooper. She meant the most to me, as she could provide me with a dead body. Despite your numerous skills and qualities, I don’t feel they stretch to that.”

Oh....well that did make some sort of sense to John. He could feel himself to start to feel a little lighter, but “What about Irene?”

Frustration was starting to show on Sherlock’s face “What about Irene?” his voice was exasperated “John as I have told you before, a romantic entanglement-“

“Would complete you as a human being.” John finished for him determinedly “And if you have an opportunity you should take it. Whoever it is, whether it’s Molly or Irene. If you love somebody, you should tell them, take the risk, because before you know it that chance is gone....seemingly forever.”

Sherlock’s frowny face returned with a vengeance “Once again John your stupidity ceases to amaze me.” The doctor stared at him, as he clenched his fists, trying to keep calm. Sherlock stood up and towered over the other man “Surely you must know that if I was ever going to romantically entangle myself with anybody, it would be with you.”

John’s heart stopped ‘What?!’

“What?” he verbalised.

A blush reached the other man’s famous cheekbones “You must know this by now, surely. I gatecrash your dates, monopolise your time and jump off roofs to keep you alive.”

The shorter man didn’t seem to have registered what the detective had said. “But you are married to your work.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes “Really John! I said that when I had known you less than a day. I appreciate that you might not want to hear this. You have consistently stated that you are ‘not gay’” Sherlock air quoted, which John did not appreciate. “And you shoot down any notion that we may be a couple.” He sighed “But I cannot let you continue to fixate on Irene Adler and Molly Hooper. How could they compare?”

John’s answer was a stunned silence. He could feel the intensity from Sherlock’s gaze.

“You are more exciting than any drug, more interesting than any case. You still my mind, make me focus on the normal, make me understand it’s worth. A cup of tea....a bad taste TV programme...a bullet through a window.”

“That last one isn’t so normal Sherlock.” John had finally found his voice.

“But you are normal.....to everyone else that is. To me you make the ordinary extraordinary. It amazes me that so few people see it, but I’m glad that I can keep you for myself. You are my guide to the ‘normal world’, my conductor of light.”

John could feel his eyes welling up. Was this actually coming out of Sherlock’s mouth? He coughed and looked at his feet.

“I am more than happy just being friends with you. After everything I have put you through, I fully appreciate still being a part of your life in any capacity. I do not ask for nor demand anything more, although I can’t promise I won’t sabotage any potential life mates. I will most certainly pick them apart, but I can’t have you thinking that there could possibly be anybody else but you for me.”

John tried to steady his beating heart. Was this actually happening? He would always look back at this moment as the one that changed Sherlock and him forever. It also scared him to think that they could have easily not had this conversation. They could have continued being ‘friends’, not exploring or admitting how they really felt.
Maybe John would have got married and Sherlock would have been best man. Both of them believing this was the best it could be, pretending that they weren’t the most important people in each other’s lives. John had never been more grateful for a text from Irene Adler.

“John why are you not saying anything?” Sherlock said after a unknown amount of silence from both men. “Have I ruined everything? John please say something. You always have something to say when I have crossed a line or you stomp out and say you are going to get some air. You aren’t doing anything. John why-“

The doctor stopped his detective with a finger on those full lips. They were soft. John knew that Sherlock’s lips were soft. This was something he now knew, god what else could he find out. His body was thrumming with excitement. He would be surprised if Sherlock couldn’t feel it. His finger had moved out of the way and his thumb was now stroking the lower lip. “Once again Sherlock your stupidity ceases to amaze me” his eyes moved from his own thumb up to Sherlock’s eyes, which were open and wide. “Surely you have deduced my feelings.”

The detective shook his head, his wild curls bouncing with the movement. John’s other hand found its way to one of those cheekbones. “Well first of all I have been obsessed with your cheekbones for longer than I will admit.” The lips under John’s thumb broke into a wide smile and another blush adorned the cheek under John’s other thumb. “And second of all I am madly in love with you too you great git.” And with that John Hamish Watson kissed Sherlock Holmes for the very first time. It was chaste, unhurried, but not unsure.

John vowed to himself in that moment it would be the last first kiss of his life and he planned to keep that promise.

Chapter Text

John had finally been discharged from the hospital, after a few days of awkward meetings and conversations. Both Sherlock and Finn had been telling stories from their lives, trying to jog the soldier’s memories. They hadn’t had much luck so far, but John was keen and seemed interested in learning more about himself. He had particularly liked the story of how they had got together, although it had been difficult for Sherlock to relive it, the memory tinged with this new reality. The next step was to bring him back home to Baker Street.

Sherlock watched as John looked blankly around their flat. His husband was putting on a brave face, but Sherlock knew nothing was registering. The memories hadn’t come flooding back. Would they ever?

“It looks.....cosy?” John questioned, as he eyed the gunshot holes on the wall.

“It’s home” Sherlock offered.

“I wish I could remember that it was.” John looked at him and half smiled. “I was hoping something would come back to me, even something small.” He looked at his feet and coughed.

“It will come back Pops” was heard from behind them. Finn smiled, as he brought John’s duffel bag through the living room. Sherlock could tell his son’s smile was forced and that he was finding the situation a lot more difficult than he was projecting.

John’s responding smile was genuine however “I still can’t get used to you calling me that.”

Finn’s smile dropped “I can stop-“

“No” John grabbed his son’s hands “No please continue. In all of this you are one of the few bright spots. I am so proud to apparently be a parent to such a caring and strong young man. I only hope I can live up to the man you knew.”

Sherlock made an involuntary noise at that comment and moved away into the kitchen. He could still hear a murmured “You are still that man” from Finn.

“Tea?” he called through, trying to bring some normalcy to the situation.

“Yeah sure” came Finn’s reply “I’ll just put Pops’ bag away.” He continued, as he passed Sherlock in the kitchen, John’s duffel in hand.

“Finn” the older man stopped his son’s journey. Would there be any part of this that wouldn’t rip out Sherlock’s heart? Finn was looking at him confused. “Your father’s bag needs to go upstairs.”

Finn’s eyes widened in realisation. It must be like his parents were going through some weird divorce. He gripped his son’s shoulder in silent support. To lose the love of a husband is one thing, but to lose the love of a father and have your status quo become unbalanced, is something entirely different. Sherlock and John had been the one steady thing in Finn’s life to date. After everything the young man had been through...They were meant to protect him from the cruelty of the world that had plagued his early life.

“That’s going to take some getting used to.” Finn sighed.

“Tell me about it” Sherlock half smiled. “Hopefully we won’t have to get used to it.”

Finn nodded and looked at the duffel in his hands “I’ll take this upstairs and try to de ‘teenage boy’ my room.” Finn was currently living in halls at Uni, but still stayed at home during the holidays.

Sherlock let go of his shoulder and patted him on the back, before he turned back to the tea and Finn moved towards the stairs.

John popped his head through the kitchen doorway. He had likely overheard their exchange, which must have also been difficult for him to listen to. “Anything I can do to help?”

“No I’m finished here.” Sherlock replied, as he handed John a mug. They headed back to the living room and Sherlock stopped in his tracks, as he saw John sit down in his chair.

John was sitting in Sherlock’s chair.

Of course he was. Why wouldn’t he? He doesn’t know it’s Sherlock’s chair. He doesn’t remember the many afternoons they had sat opposite each other, playing chess, drinking tea. The many evenings in front of the fire reading Finn stories or once he had gone to bed, sitting in each others laps snogging like teenagers. The clients....the arguments....the memories.

“Sherlock?” John questioned. The detective was frozen.

How was he meant to deal with this? John was his guide to human emotion. How does one deal with the most difficult situation you have ever faced without your conductor of light? How does one explain the importance of a chair?

At this point, Finn came back from upstairs. He took one look at the scene in front of him and burst into tears.

Ok that’s how.

Chapter Text

Sherlock was in a bit of a daze.

For once his mind wasn’t whirling at a thousand miles a minute. It had stopped.....halted. It almost felt like The Big Bang had happened in his head and there was a whole new universe developing inside of him. He was reeling from the shock of it, watching his mind palace rebuild itself.

John had kissed him.

“You ok?” he heard in the periphery of his thoughts. He looked down at John, who was still wrapped around him. “I’ve been trying to get your attention for a while.”
Oh the doctor had definitely got his attention. He found John’s eyes and......started to panic.

How had this happened?

“This changes everything” he verbalised, as he pulled himself away from the enticing man in front of him.
He had confessed his interest for John, backed into a corner by the other man’s ineptitude to see the truth and continued insistence to attach Sherlock to every woman in sight. How had he let that happen? Because now John knew.

Now John had kissed him.

“This changes everything” he unknowingly repeated, as he looked John firmly in the eyes.

“You said that already.” The other man pointed out. He continued gently “Tell me what you are thinking.”

Sherlock held John’s eyes, despite the space he had put between them. “I can’t lose you again.” He admitted.
The doctor frowned and grabbed Sherlock’s arms, to pull him back into a loose embrace. “We have just found each other.”

“But what if it doesn’t work out? I am bound to mess it up at some point, forget something important – do something ‘a bit not good’” He air quoted, exasperated.

“Sherlock....you just faked your own death and I forgave you.” The other man paused for effect. “There’s not much worse you can do than that.” Sherlock opened his mouth to speak, but John put his finger up to halt him “And that’s not a challenge.” He warned.

His finger had found its way to his lips again, a mirror of the kiss they had shared earlier, his mouth soon replaced it to bring about their second kiss.

This kiss had more passion to it and soon their mouths were opening up to each other, tongues dancing. Sherlock pulled his doctor closer, their bodies coming together. John’s hand had moved up to his neck and was pulling him down to him as close as possible. They were snogging like he had heard people did when they were teenagers. John eventually ended the kiss and pulled him into a tight hug.

Sherlock held him like he would never let go. He had never had chance to just hold the other man. Does he get to do that now, just hold John whenever he wants to? He had never sought human contact before. He had had sexual encounters before, mainly in a drug induced haze or for a case. He had never had any sort of emotional attachment to it, he saw sex like food or sleep – just another requirement for his transport. But with John he had had urges to....hold him in the past. His hands, arms, head – his body. Especially when a bomb had been ripped safely off it or when he was stood over an empty grave, mourning a man that wasn’t dead.

Of course he was attracted to John, but he had not expected this...comfort, this security. He shouldn’t have expected anything less from John, he had always been tactile with his girlfriends and those he cared about. He had witnessed Sherlock’s doubts and had soothed him with reassuring words, but now.....now he was physically reaffirming this by holding him. This was a new dynamic that was now open to them after their declarations. Maybe John needed this too. Had he thought of this during his death? Did he crave it as much as Sherlock was realising he did? He can’t remember the last time he had been held like this, most probably by one of his parents when he was a child.

“I have no doubts.” John reassured him with a whisper in his ear. “As long as you don’t leave me for some crazy dominatrix, we’ll be fine.”

The detective squeezed John a little tighter, he could feel the smile forming on his face. “Never.... I’m more interested in meeting ‘Three Continents Watson’ myself”

The smaller man laughed and finally pulled away from the embrace. “I’m sure he can come out of retirement.”
He coughed and looked at his feet, looking a bit awkward. “Erm....speaking of which...err where d-do we go from here?” He saw John roll his eyes at himself, maybe Three Continents Watson had been in retirement too long.

His confusion must have shown on his face, as John shook his head and blushed. “I mean- how” he stuttered “how do we do this?” he moved his hands between the two of them.

Sherlock frowned “John if you are unsure of what happens between two men when they have sex, I am sure there are many educational videos on the internet. I would also be happy to guide you through the basics, although I am a little surprised I must admit, as I had deduced you were at least bisexual, but perhaps you have not acted on that yet.”

“Sherlock-“ John tried to interrupt.

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about John, in fact we could make it an experiment and we could-“

“Sherlock!” The doctor finally broke the tirade with a loud shout. “I know what I am doing with a man, I can assure you.” He leaned a little closer and gripped Sherlock’s hip tight. “And once I am through with you, you will know it too and forget any other man or woman you have ever been with.” A shot of arousal coursed through the detective at the words. The doctor’s eyes held his with determination.

“Noted” he gulped.

John broke eye contact and stepped back. “Good....what I am trying to say is I don’t know where to go from here. You aren’t ordinary Sherlock. I don’t think you will want to go on a date or for me to buy you flowers, unless they can be used in an experiment....I guess.” He drew his eyebrows and then looked back at Sherlock with determination “This also isn’t just about sex for me Sherlock, but I don’t know how to woo you. I don’t have any spare body parts to give you. I can’t make a case appear out of thin air and –“

Sherlock cut him off with a kiss, it was the first one he had initiated and he could see that it was a good way to shut someone up. He brought his hands to John’s head, holding him securely in place and bringing the kiss to an end. Their eyes opened and found each other’s again.

“My dear doctor, we have been courting each other since the day we met.” John face became full of confusion at this. Sherlock moved his hands down the other man’s neck, fluttering along the tendons there. “I took you for a candlelit dinner.”

The doctor’s eyes closed at his continued ministrations, but was still able to find his voice “And cut it short for a mad hunt for a serial killer that ended in a gunshot and you almost getting yourself killed.”

John’s eyes opened again to find Sherlock’s, but he continued as if he hadn’t heard his words. “I took you to the circus.”

“And almost got me and my date killed”

“I teased you with the obsession with another man.”

“Who almost killed us both”

“...and who made me realise I couldn’t live without you.” Their eyes held each other’s at this admission and John’s thumb stroked his hip, where the doctor’s hand had come to rest.

“Trust you to make a bomb a symbol of love.” The doctor smirked.

“I tried to woo you with a double bedroom at a cosy B&B.”

“Then you drugged me into believing I was being attacked by a hound, who almost killed me – in my head.”

“I told you had done the impossible and become my friend.” Sherlock paused for effect at this and John squeezed him a little tighter. “Then I flaunted my naked body at you,” a burst of laughter came from the other man, “before teasing you with an interest in another woman.”

“The Woman” John corrected “who almost got us both killed.”

“I seduced you with danger from the very beginning John that has been the core of courtship.” He pressed a quick kiss to John’s lips and moved his hands to the blond wisps of hair. The emotion of what he was about to say getting to him. “Finally I did what I was told you should do if you love someone.....I let you go.” John’s own hands found the detective’s neck, bringing their foreheads together. “I pushed you away and jumped off a roof.”

“Sherlock-“ the other man started to speak, but Sherlock did not want to dwell on that a moment longer.

He loosened the embrace and looked John in the eyes again. “So you see, my dear doctor, we have done all the necessary components of courtship, I would call it a few years of interesting foreplay.”

John laughed “I don’t know if anybody else would call it a courtship Sherlock.”

“We are not anybody else John, we are you and me – we can just do whatever the hell we want. We already know what we are in for with each other, most people would take this long to accept your taste in jumpers.” he joked, which earned him a frown. “We know the very worst and the very best of each other.”

John’s smile at this took over his whole face. “Who knew that Sherlock Holmes could be romantic?” He said, as he drew the detective in for another kiss.

The taller man pulled away and moved his mouth to John’s ear. “Of course there are some things I don’t know about you that I am very interested in finding out about.”

John smirked and blushed, as Sherlock pulled away to look at him “Like an experiment?”

“Yes! I want to find out about every noise you can make, every spot that is sensitive – what will make you scream my name.”

John swallowed and his hands firmly gripped him hard. “Yes” he whispered. Sherlock kissed him firmly, before taking his hand and leading him towards his bedroom.

His brain was now fully functional again and he was going to embrace this moment (and John) for all it was worth. Caring wasn’t an advantage, no it wasn’t he knew that from experience – but it also felt bloody brilliant.

He felt John’s hand pull him to a stop in the middle of the kitchen and he turned to look at him in confusion. “John?”

“Don’t ever let me go again Sherlock....please” the other man’s voice was thick with emotion and the words almost broke Sherlock's fragile heart.

He pulled John to him in a strong embrace. “I won’t, I promise.” He kissed his forehead. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

Back to the present.

Sherlock was shivering, wedged into the corner of the abandoned barn he had found to avoid the storm. The thunder rumbled outside, shaking the flimsy structure. He scratched his beard (something he was now used to) and rubbed his cold hands over his tired face.

He was so cold and so...lonely. He felt like he would never be warm again. He wanted John. He missed John. He wanted John here with him, to hold him, to make him laugh....to die with him? He closed his eyes to push that thought away. He tried to reach his mind palace, tried to find the wing labelled ‘John’....maybe he could be here with him after all.

Sherlock woke up gasping and shivering from his nightmare/memory. It had been a long time since his subconscious had taken him to that awful place. He instinctively reached for John beside him and found cold, empty sheets. His heart plummeted as reality came back to him. John no longer shared his bed, he no longer comforted him after his nightmares....he no longer held him as they slept to help keep them at bay in the first place.

His surroundings slowly came in to focus and he could see why this particular memory had chosen to rear it’s ugly head this evening. There was a thunder storm raging outside and he had left the window open, and slept in nothing but his boxers and a sheet, as it had been a particularly warm evening. The joys of summer in London. John would have checked the forecast and prepared. He didn’t do well with thunderstorms either.....in fact he was probably being affected by this one – even worse than usual, as his mind thought Afghanistan was only a few months ago.

Sherlock jumped out of bed and grabbed some pajamas . If John couldn’t comfort him, he could comfort John, as he always had – with his violin. It might even help with his memories. After three and a half weeks, they were getting nowhere with John remembering anything about their life, their love, their family and Sherlock was willing to try anything.

He was still shivering and found his favourite Grandad jumper of John’s to keep him warm. If he couldn’t hold John, this was the closest thing. His mind was brought back to their first night together, after their declarations and first kiss. He had wondered then if he would get to hold John whenever he wanted to and he had during their life together so far (except perhaps when he had done something ‘a bit not good’). There had been lazy mornings snogging on the couch and relaxed evenings curled together watching James Bond or other inane action programmes John made him watch. He had loved wrapping his arms round John as he made tea, loving how his smaller frame fit perfectly against his own. Or John would jolt him out of himself during an experiment or a case in the same way, arms tight round his chest and his voice just reaching over his shoulder, telling him to eat. There were the ‘I’m glad your alive’ hugs or the ‘that deduction was so sexy’ hugs on cases – much to the amusement of Lestrade and the rest of Scotland Yard. Sherlock had blushed a lot at first.

Then there were the comforting hugs, the it’s not real anymore hugs, the I’m safe, you’re safe hugs – the hug that Sherlock could use right now. The last time he held John was the day he got hurt and it now felt like a physical ache to have that contact. It was all John’s fault of course, he didn’t need to be held before he met him. He had abhorred physical contact, unless it got him what he needed. Now he feels like he will never be warm again...

With a sigh and a resolve to soothe John in the only way he could at the moment, he opened his bedroom door to go find his violin. He was shocked to find John standing at the kitchen counter, making tea. The other man turned at the noise, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” He looked back and down at his tea and coughed “I couldn’t sleep with this storm.”

Sherlock was very much resisting the urge to wrap his arms around his doctor and protect him from his demons. “Nightmares?” he offered instead. John looked resigned, as his eyes found Sherlock’s, he nodded “I was having my own, so you didn’t wake me.”

John seemed surprised at this. “Nightmares from the crash?” he asked curiously.

Sherlock had had his fair few nightmares about that, but “Not this time” he confirmed. He moved over through to the living room and motioned John to sit in his own chair (the doctor had not made that mistake again). “No this dream was a memory from my time when I was dead.” In the weeks that John had been at Baker Street, most of the big moments of their lives had been regaled to him by himself and Finn mostly. Him faking his death had been a bit difficult for John to comprehend to say the least, which wasn’t a shock as it hadn’t exactly gone down well the first time. He picked up his violin and stood by the rain splattered window. “I was sleeping rough and there had been this almighty storm. I was caught out in it and found this abandoned barn for shelter. Its structure was questionable, but it was better than being out in the storm. I got inside and wedged myself in the corner. I was so cold and it felt like I would never be warm again, never escape the storm.” He looked at John, who was listening attentively. “I thought of you and how I wanted you there with me.”

“We weren’t romantic at this point right?” John queried.

“No, but I was starting to accept that I wanted that.” He put his violin under his chin and started to test it out. “When you or Finn have had nightmares in the past, I have played the violin for you to help soothe you.”

A small smile appeared on John’s face “That’s quite...sweet.”

Sherlock stopped tuning his violin at this, “I’ve never thought of it like that...yes I suppose it is....Don’t tell Mycroft.”

John smirked “Your secret is safe with me.” He looked down into his cooling tea “What would I do for you?” At Sherlock’s curious look, he elaborated “When you had a nightmare. What would I do for you?”

Sherlock pulled the violin off his shoulder. “You would remind me that it wasn’t real, that I was safe, that you were safe, that....that I wasn’t alone and then you would....hold me.”

John nodded “That sounds like me” he coughed, put his tea to the side and stood up. “I imagine you have been in a bit of a living nightmare since I woke up?”

Sherlock was a little stunned at the doctor's words “Er...yes” he stuttered “I guess you could say that.”

John took a few steps closer. “Well I can’t tell you that it’s not real, because it is. I wish it wasn’t, but....” he looked directly into Sherlock’s eyes. “You’re safe, I'm safe and you’re not alone.”

The detective’s eyes widened, as John came closer and wrapped his arms around his tall frame. He tucked his head under Sherlock’s chin and the taller man was frozen for a moment; his arms, still holding his bow and violin, hung unmoving at his sides. His brain caught up with what was happening and he dropped his precious instrument, to wrap his arms around his husband. He tentatively brought his hand to the other mans hair and rested his cheek on his head.

John was in his arms. He had promised all those years ago that he wouldn’t let John go again and he planned to keep that promise. Even if his doctor couldn’t remember it, it would have to be enough for him to remember for them both.

Chapter Text

Sherlock heard John clatter through the door into 221B and jumped right up out of bed at the sound. He scampered to the doorway and collided with the doctor in the kitchen. A muffled “Oof!” could be heard somewhere around his shoulder. He started peppering John’s face and neck with kisses and only stopped when the other man pulled himself away, a small smile on his face.

“You’re very keen today" John smiled and then fully took in the detective. "You’re naked”

“And....?” he queried “It’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before, even before we started having sexual intercourse...” John put his head in his hand at this “....and now you have sucked my-“

“Yes alright Sherlock” John interrupted as a small giggle escaped him, followed by a quick kiss to the detective’s lips “Despite how well I know your body, it’s still a bit unusual to greet someone in the nude when they come over to see you.”

Sherlock pulled a disgusted face “When have I ever been usual? And since when are you just someone?" At John’s silence, he continued “And if you would just move in like I want you to, I wouldn’t have to greet you at all, because you would live here...and you would probably be naked too, well if I had anything to do with it.”

John rolled his eyes and moved to put the kettle on. “We have talked about this.”

Now it was Sherlock’s turn to roll his eyes and he plonked himself dramatically on one of the kitchen chairs, which earned him a raised eyebrow from John. He had been pestering the other man to move back in, well since he came back from the dead, but more since they began....their new found intimacy. Sherlock refused to call it dating. It had been a few months since the change in their friendship and they had explored each other in all the ways they had hinted at that night and more. It had been a very enlightening experiment, one that he very much wanted to continue with. John however was making it difficult for him to get as much data as he would like to, because he kept going home to his pesky flat. Sherlock couldn’t understand why John was avoiding moving back to Baker Street and when he had asked John had stated it was too soon. This was where they had become friends, where they had started to fall in love with each other – why was he hiding from it?

Sherlock had started to have doubts that this was still related to the fall and the pain he had caused, John had assured him that wasn’t the case, but the detective felt that that part of their history would haunt them forever. He let out a huge sigh at the thought.

“Come on Sherlock it’s not that big of a deal.” John broke through his melancholy thoughts, as he brought him a cup of tea over and joined him at the table.
“You’re still naked.”

“I’m aware.”

John rolled his eyes and giggled again. “It’s distracting.”

The detective smiled slowly, almost predatorily “Good”

“You’re insatiable”

“I know...and you’re stubborn.” He countered.

John seemed surprised at the change in tone, but sighed and said “I know.” He looked down into his mug and fiddled with the handle.

“Are you finally going to tell me the real reason you don’t want to move in?”

“Can’t you deduce it?”

“You know I can’t, when it comes to emotions.... especially yours.”

“You’re getting better, a couple of years ago you wouldn’t have even picked up on the fact there was something wrong.” John conceded, taking a sip of his tea.

Sherlock’s heart dropped at John’s words – something was wrong? With what? With them, with him? Something must have shown in his eyes or his face, because John quickly retracted his words “No I don’t mean it like that, nothing’s wrong with us.” He reached his hand out to Sherlock across the table. He paused and brushed their fingers together. “I love you Sherlock, never doubt that.” The detective would never tire of hearing those words from John’s lips. “These past few months have been.....extraordinary.”

“Well you do make the ordinary extraordinary my dear doctor.” Sherlock interjected.

“Only to you” John countered.

“Perhaps, but that’s the way I like it.”

“And that’s kind of why I’m.....hesitating.” the doctor’s blue eyes found his. “You’re it for me Sherlock, ‘til my last breath. When you...died a part of me died with you. I was less....me without you in my life. As time went on I finally admitted to myself what that meant, what I had been denying to myself for a long time. That I was in love with you and I had been holding myself back.....and it wasn’t because you were a man or my best friend, it was because I was scared. How much.....you meant to me scared me, because I had never felt that before and I didn’t know if I could handle admitting that, accepting that. Then you died and I was.....hollow.” John paused and looked down to their still joined hands, Sherlock was speechless. “When I move in here Sherlock, I’m not going to move out again, unless it’s with you. It will be it for me, it will be me and you living together, sharing our lives together. There won’t be dates with women or jealous deductions. It will be nights curled up in front of the fire and make up sex on the kitchen table.” Sherlock’s eyes lit up at that last comment. John chuckled and continued. “So I don’t just want to move back in, I want to savour this part, because I’m never going to be ‘dating’ again and despite the inconvenience of not having my naked body available 24/7, it’s actually quite fun. Plus I have actually lived with you before and the longer I can avoid the body parts the better.”

Sherlock took a moment to process everything that John had just said. He was a bit overwhelmed by feeling, a completely foreign concept to him. “I knew it was really about the body parts.” John laughed and then followed Sherlock’s movements with his eyes, as he stood up and came to sit in John’s lap. “There was a lot of....sentiment there....I liked it.”

John’s eyes widened dramatically and his eyebrows reached his hairline. The detective kissed him, with his arms on the blonde’s shoulders and his hands in his hair. John’s hands found his hips. “You’re still naked” he murmured.

“I’m aware...care to join me?” he asked cheekily.

Before the other man could answer, the door banged open to reveal Dectective Inspector Lestrade. Who, upon seeing the scene before him, had begun to speak, but found his mouth moving without any sound coming out. Sherlock found the sight amusing, if not frustrating “Ah Graham, what do we owe this pleasure?”

“You’re naked?” was Greg’s response.

“Yes John and I had just established that.” He got a pinch from John for that comment. “Ow!”

Lestrade looked between the two of them “About bloody time”

“Well it would have been if you hadn’t interrupted us. Are you finally going to get to the point of your visit or are you just here to deny my sexual gratification? Because if that’s the case, I can assure you I am not shy.”

“Clearly” He heard John mutter.

Lestrade seemed like he was about to launch into an indignant speech, but seemed to shake himself out of it. “There’s a case. I would say it’s at least an 8 and it’s time sensitive, so I need your help.”

Sherlock stood up, in all his glory, “Why didn’t you say so?” he said, annoyed and reached for his Belstaff.

“Er Sherlock” he heard from behind him, where John still sat. “Clothes”

Ah “Yes right of course.” He kissed John firmly on the mouth “I’ll be right back.”

On his way to heard Lestrade murmur to John. “Are you sure you’re sure about this?”

He heard John’s louder reply. “More than anything.”
Sherlock smirked, who knew caring could feel so bloody damn brilliant.

Chapter Text

John was sitting in a coffee shop by the window, so he could be seen easily. He had a pot of tea in front of him and kept glancing through the rainy window; the lettering from the name of the cafe obscuring his view. He had got here way too early, nerves playing a part.

He had asked Finn if he would meet him here, so they could spend some time together one on one. The boy was living at halls in Uni and most of the time he had spent with him had been with other people, mainly at Baker Street. Things with Sherlock had been difficult...strained....and he wanted to spend some time with his son out of that environment.

His son.

He had a son. He still couldn’t quite believe it. He knew Sherlock and he had adopted Finn when he had just turned 11, but he didn’t know the details. Sherlock had said it wasn’t his story to tell and John didn’t want to restart his relationship with Finn by bringing up the demons from his past. Especially when he should already know the details. To be honest he didn’t need to know, not if Finn didn’t want to tell him or relive it. All he needed to know was who Finn was now and how to be part of his life.

Finn had suggested they meet at a coffee shop local to his halls, after his last class of the day. He saw him now striding across the road, towards where John was waiting, he was grimacing in the rain with no umbrella or hood in sight.

He bustled through the door, the bell tinkling and Finn dripping water everywhere. He caught sight of John and beamed “Pops!” He walked over to join his Dad at the table “I’d give you a hug, but I’m sopping wet.”

John laughed “Well yes, probably best. How are you? How was your class?” Finn was studying social work, he had expressed to John his passion to help young kids, like him. Despite the little the doctor knew about his son, he knew that it would be a perfect fit for the young man. He was kind, understanding, could get on with anyone and had experience behind his eyes that was beyond his years. Plus he had Sherlock Holmes as a father, so if he can deal with him...

“Yeah it was good, I just wish I didn’t have to go through all this ‘paperwork’ you know. I wanna be helping people now.” Finn replied, as well as ordering a sugary coffee with the waiter.

“You volunteer at the youth centre.” John reminded him

“I know, but I wanna do more.” He sighed.

“I know” John sympathised “But think how much more you can help, once you have your education.”

“I know.” Finn conceded.

"Plus Sherlock tells me you have met a girl there.”

His son blushed. “Dad and his big mouth.” He sighed. “He deduced it whilst you were in hospital actually and I let him ask questions to provide a distraction. Normally I wouldn’t give him any ammunition that he didn’t already deduce.”

John laughed “And me? Would you usually tell me?”

Finn’s coffee arrived, cream and syrup slathered on the top. “You would usually be able to pick up on a change in my...demeanour. You could tell if I was happier or quieter and Dad would deduce the rest. You two make a formidable team, no teenager would be able to keep a secret from you two, believe me I’ve tried.”

John laughed “We have always Mycroft as a fail safe too.”

Finn giggled “Right of course, how could I forget.” There was a pause, as they both took a drink.

“Your Father seems to think that this girl is more serious though.”

Finn sighed “Is he worried?” At John’s frown, he continued “Since...” he gestured to John. “He’s been asking how serious it is, how I feel about her, whether I really want to tie myself down. I think he’s trying to save me from heartbreak.”

John looked down and coughed “Ah well, you can blame me for that.”

“Never” he said vehemently, John looked up. “I can’t imagine how hard this is for you, but no one is to blame except the woman who did this to you.”

“I wish I could remember her, even just to tell her how angry I am.” John could feel himself getting upset, tears threatening to fall. “I had this wonderful life, a gorgeous husband, an exciting job” he looked at Finn “a wonderful son.” Finn smiled. “She has taken that all away from me.”

“No she hasn’t” his son argued “We’re still here.”

“But I’m not....he’s not. I’m walking blindly through a life that everybody understands, but me. I’m trying to live in someone else’s shoes. I’m trying to save a marriage that I don’t remember vowing to. I am trying to be a father to a son I don’t even remember meeting.” Finn was crying at this point, slow tears running down his cheek. “Oh god, I’m sorry” he put his head in his hand “I shouldn’t be saying this to you. I should be supporting you, protecting you from this. I can’t even get that right, some father I am turning out to be. Forgive me.”

“Dad” John looked up at this, Finn had never called him that. “You have nothing to forgive. I can be here for you too, plus it gives me experience for my future career.”

“I don’t think you plan to deal with pathetic old men.” John scoffed.

“I do.” The other man raised an eyebrow. “I plan to look after you and Dad for as long as I can.”

“When did I get so lucky?” The doctor wondered.

“Well I can actually help with that too.” Finn offered. “I can tell you about how we met and how I came to be you son.”

John looked surprised at this “Finn you don’t have to, I-“

Finn halted him with his hands “I want to help you with this ‘new’ life.” He explained. “Plus how can I help other people and get them to move on from their past, if I can’t deal with my own?”

John nodded in understanding, “Okay, thank you.”

Finn smiled and sighed. “I was 10 when I met Sherlock. He had been working with the homeless network and he was trying to find the man behind a human trafficking ring. That man turned out to be my father, well my biological one at least. Sherlock met me as part of his investigation and....I liked him. He was kind to me and he treated me like I was.....worthwhile.” John was trying to process what Finn was telling him. He had so many questions, questions he was afraid to ask. He didn’t feel like this was the moment to ask them, if there ever was a ‘good’ time to ask.

Finn was physically withdrawn, the emotion of the topic clearly getting to him. “It’s funny, that time of my life is something that is a part of me everyday, something that I think about everyday. I’ve learnt to live with it, to move forward and to be happy, but just actually saying things out loud makes the memory as fresh as if it was yesterday.” John reached out to Finn at this and his son gripped his hand in response. The doctor didn’t think an ‘I’m sorry’ would be appropriate somehow.

“With what’s happened to you this past few months, I have been wishing that I could wake up one day and only remember my life from the day I met you. That I could forget the first 10 years of my life.....but after seeing you today I’ve realised that, despite all the pain and suffering, it is a part of who I am and I wouldn’t be me without it.”

“I’m glad I have been able to help you indirectly, but it doesn’t make the memories any easier.”

“In a way it does, it helps me realise that I can’t do anything about the past, but maybe I can use it to help others move past their own demons and have their own futures.”

John was pretty overwhelmed by that. “You are an extraordinary human being Finn Watson-Holmes.”

Finn smiled “That’s all down to you and Dad Pops.”

“I don’t think so son, we just helped you on your way.”

“Thank you Dad,” Finn wiped his eyes “but out of the two of us, I’m the one who actually remembers our history and I say you had a hell of a lot to do with it.”

John laughed at that, “So tell me about it. How did we meet?”

A happier smile came across Finn’s face then. “Well Dad had taken down my father’s...empire and I was set for foster homes, a life in the system. They couldn’t find any living relatives. Sherlock, as he was to me then, and I had bonded and he had helped me with my police interviews. I found him so fascinating and he didn’t want anything from me. In fact he had helped me, no one had helped me before, especially not an adult. I idolised him and, in my naivety, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go home with him. He had told me about Baker Street, about his experiments and about you. To me it sounded idyllic, exciting. A proper apartment, where I could do cool experiments and fight crime, he sounded like a super hero.”

John was now smiling too, he could see how a young boy, especially one with Finn’s history could be come swept up in the fairytale of being rescued.

“The way he spoke about you was so full of....love and I had never witnessed or experienced that before. I wanted to meet this man, who was worthy of my Sherlock.” Finn laughed “It’s so embarrassing to think of that now, how much I was in awe of him.”

“It’s not a bad thing to idolise one’s parents.” Especially when your first father had let you down so spectacularly. John thought, but didn’t say. “Anyway why wasn’t I with him on this case? I got the impression that I joined Sherlock on his cases.”

“You did and do, but you also work in the ER and were on shift for a lot of this case, plus for part of it Dad went undercover as a drug addict and didn’t tell you.”

“Ah, ok” The doctor was aware of his husband’s drug history. “How did we get from you being in the custody of social services? 221B doesn’t seem like the safest environment for a child.”

Finn laughed and then sobered “It was for me.” And the emotion behind it took John’s breath away, he squeezed the boy’s hand. “Basically it’s helpful to have the man who is running the government as a brother.”

John’s eyes widened in surprise. “Mycroft?”

“Yeah, apparently it took a very impassioned speech from Dad about how you would be the best option for me and how you both could help me be a child again and a short outburst from you about how you could both give me love, which is all I would need.”

“A child needs love Mycroft and Sherlock and I can give him that. That’s what he needs most...”

The words flickered through John’s head and were gone just as quickly. He physically shook his head, to clear it – was that a memory?

“Anyway I came to 221B temporarily at first, at least until another suitable home was found and that’s when we first met. I was terrified. I mean Sherlock was the only person in the world who had ever really liked me and I knew how much he loved you. So if you didn’t like me, I knew there was no hope for me to stay at Baker Street permanently. I remember stressing about my clothes and my hair and I was convinced you were going to hate me.”

John felt for 10 year old Finn, feeling like he had to prove something, prove himself. "So how did we meet?"

Finn smiled "Well...."

Chapter Text

John sighed as he glanced over at Sherlock. They were sat in their chairs in Baker Street and his lover was....sad....defeated. The doctor had never seen him like this before.

John had been living at Baker Street for a few years now and they had been....happy, dare he think it.....content. Being content for the two of them included dead body parts, arguments about when to eat and putting their lives at risk at least once a week. Oh and there was sex, quite a bit of that. Since they had started their romantic relationship things had gone surprisingly well, it was like they were before Sherlock’s fall – just with kissing and shagging thrown into the mix. It was the longest relationship John had ever had (even without the friendship years and really John had been Sherlock’s since the moment they met) and he was in disbelief every day that this was his life. After everything he had been through, he was actually happy and.....content.

So to see Sherlock so despondent was worrying. He still got bored of course, but John now had several, inventive ways to bring him out of that (his dog tags had been a surprising and pleasurable hit).

John knew why his detective was feeling this way and he knew that there was potentially something he could do about it. Sherlock had recently got to know a young boy during his work on a case (John hadn’t known about the case for a while, as drugs had been involved and to say he was displeased with Sherlock about it was an understatement). The case was over and Sherlock had become attached to the young boy – Finn was his name. He was currently in the care of social services and was about to be put into the system, one that the detective did not trust. Hence the despondency from his lover.

John was apprehensive about saying what he wanted to say however, as he wasn’t sure if it would be the best option. One thing he knew for certain was that Sherlock would think it was the best option, once he heard it. So John was scared to say it, because once it was out there it couldn’t be taken back and the other man would not rest until it happened, until they got that option. He was surprised Sherlock hadn’t thought of it himself, perhaps he cared too much in this – perhaps for once Mycroft was right - caring was a disadvantage.

Now all John needed to decide was whether it was what he wanted. He was happy, content – why mess with that? He had taken a leap of faith years ago and kissed Sherlock and he couldn’t even begin to imagine his life if he hadn’t done that, how worse off he would be. Would this be another of those moments? He can’t be lucky enough for it to pay off twice, but if it did pay off?......Well that would be something else entirely. There wasn’t anything missing from his life with Sherlock, nothing he would wish for, but if given this option he would take it with both hands.

He looked once again at his disheartened partner and put the tea he had been holding down on the side table. He coughed and looked down at his feet. Sherlock glanced over in disinterest. “We could adopt him.” John finally said.

Sherlock’s eyes widened almost comically at this. It definitely hadn’t entered his normally brilliant head then. John continued “Or foster at least at first. See how we fit, we could at least give him a safe space and....love, until he finds his forever home. We can make sure it’s somewhere perfect for him, even if that place isn’t with us. I don’t know how safe our lifestyle is for a 10 year old, but we can adapt and maybe.....with some luck and hard work we could be his forever home.”

Sherlock was gaping a little now, eyes still like saucers. After a few moments, he stood up in a flourish out of his chair and kissed John on the forehead with a loud smack. He grabbed John’s face in his hands and looked him directly in the eyes. “I love you John Hamish Watson.” And continued on to the kitchen to call Mycroft.

- - - - - -

Sherlock had met Finn during a case. He had been working undercover as a drug addict (he hadn’t told John) and he had barely noticed him at first. He was focused on the case and bringing down the head honcho of a human trafficking ring.

But the young boy had gained the detective’s attention. He was bright and clearly starved of affection and love. Sherlock had engaged with him as much as he could and Finn didn’t seem put off by his deductions or his perspective on the world. The older man had also listened to him, answered his questions and when possible spent time with him, something that he suspected had rarely happened in Finn’s short life. Once he realised who the boy’s father was, his mind was overwhelmed with what Finn’s life had been like up to this point. He didn’t want to entertain thoughts on what the boy had potentially been through. He became very protective and he.....cared. Despite his relationship with John, he still wasn’t used to.....caring. These feelings were still alien to him and he fully blamed John Hamish Watson with his extraordinary ordinary-ness and woollen jumpers for opening up this world of emotions up to him.

Which was how he found himself in his current predicament. Mycroft was belittling him in his kitchen about how inept he would be as a parent. After John’s (brilliant, amazing, fantastic) suggestion that they look after Finn themselves, he had called Mycroft for help in making it happen and now he was bearing the brunt of his brother’s ‘feelings’ on that. Sherlock had already given the other man a fairly long speech on their capabilities and why it was the best thing for everyone, including Finn, but Mycroft was persistent.

John was leaning against the kitchen table with his head in his hand and arms crossed over his chest, listening to the siblings bicker. Something clearly snapped in him, because he raised his head, a firm expression on his face and interrupted the man “A child needs love Mycroft and Sherlock and I can give him that. That’s what he needs most.”

Mycroft, who was still facing Sherlock, raised an eyebrow “Well yes and who ever thought that would be true.”

“I did” was John’s determined reply and Sherlock’s heart swelled.

- - - - - -

John was nervous, it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure that out, he could see it in his own reflection in the bathroom mirror. Today he was going to meet Finn. Despite his protestations, Mycroft had helped them in the process of trying to foster him and after many trials and tribulations, the boy was coming to Baker Street. He wouldn’t be staying, but hopefully (if things went well) he would be soon.

He had changed his outfit four times, did he try to be suave and cool? Formal with suit and tie? He had settled for wearing what he normally would, jeans and jumper. There was no point in trying to be anything else but himself, he just hoped that that would be enough.

He took a deep breath.....inhale......exhale.

He couldn’t remember the last time he had been this nervous.....maybe when he and Sherlock had shared a train carriage with a bomb.

He splashed water on his face and tried to calm himself down.

The thing was that the kid adored Sherlock. Well at least that was something they had in common, he guessed. He was going to pale in comparison, what child would be interested in him when they had Sherlock Holmes? He stared down at his jumper....maybe he should change, maybe being himself wasn’t a good idea after all.

Before that thought could fully form in his mind a “John!” was heard from the flat. Bloody hell, they were here. ‘Pull yourself together Watson’ he thought to his reflection. ‘You are a soldier.’

He left the bathroom and found the detective, with Finn, in the living room.

“Ah there you are!” Sherlock exclaimed, causing Finn to turn round and face him. His blue eyes were wide and he looked terrified (which selfishly made John feel a little better). His thoughts were disrupted by “That jumper John really? That’s your date jumper. You don’t need that anymore and it never proved very successful, you should bin it.”

“This is my best jumper!” he protested. His thoughts momentarily diverted from his nerves, so he could be indignant at Sherlock’s comments.

“Pfft...please I bought you a much nicer one that you have never worn. We are trying to make a good impression here.” His eyes subtly moved downwards to Finn, who was looking between them with his mouth agape. John was a bit stuck for words, what a great first impression he was making.

“I like your jumper.” Finn interrupted. His voice was strong and confident, but he gulped and looked up at Sherlock after he said it.

John’s eyebrows lifted in challenge at Sherlock, before he knelt down and met Finn’s eyes. “I like you Finn, I think we are going to get along just fine.” The boy broke into a beautiful smile and John held out his hand. “I’m John Watson, a pleasure to meet you.”

Finn grasped his hand “I’m Finn, nice to meet you.” John smiled and looked up at Sherlock, who was grinning like he had planned this all along (he probably had).

John stood up “Would you like some tea Finn? One thing you need to know is that we drink a lot of tea in this home, although we sometimes don’t get chance to drink it.”

Finn frowned and looked a little confused. “Home?”

John almost regretted using that word, but it was the truth. “Yes” he confirmed “this is the home that Sherlock and I have made for ourselves.”

Finn nodded and looked around, as if we was digesting that information and cataloguing all the clues around him that proved it. John had tidied up, but it was still ‘Sherlock and John’, with disjointed furniture, newspaper cuttings and a violin. “Is it my home too now?” he asked.

John’s heart both broke and swelled at those words. He looked over to Sherlock for help, who looked as overwhelmed as he felt. This is what John could bring to the table, he thought, he could field the emotional hurdles they would likely face. Despite his detective’s brilliance, he was still learning how to deal with human emotion in all it’s forms. Swallowing down the nerves in his throat he replied. “If you want it to be.”

Finn nodded and seemed to accept this. He looked to the floor and back at the doctor, the boy seemed to be coming out of his shell and his protective Sherlock bubble. “For how long?” he finally asked.

John’s voice broke as he replied “Forever.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock was bouncing a ball of elastic bands off the lab wall, not quite a squash ball, but he wasn’t planning on faking his own death today. He was sat on the floor in Molly’s lab at Bart’s, Belstaff off and shirt sleeves rolled up, bouncing the ball off the opposite wall.

He was waiting for Molly to bring him something she claimed to be ‘very interesting’ and he was bored.

No that was a lie. To be bored was to have nothing in your mind, nothing to keep you occupied or entertained. Sherlock wished that that was the case. He wished that his mind was empty and not full of thoughts about John. Of the accident, of the aftermath, of the current predicament he found himself in, with a husband and best friend who didn’t know he had existed. The last time he had felt in this much turmoil was just before he jumped off this very roof.

John had been awake for a few months now and Sherlock was finding it difficult. He didn’t know how to be a husband without John to guide him through it. He didn’t know how to give a man back a life he had lost and the only alternative was for him to give up. Sherlock wasn’t prepared to do that, so he wasn’t giving any thought to that option. Plus he knew that if the shoe was on the other foot, John would never give up on him.

There was still no sign of his memories coming back and Sherlock was unsure about how much longer he could wait for them. Nothing seemed to be working to trigger them. Finn had initially suggested ‘True Love’s Kiss’ might work and Sherlock had rolled his eyes at their son. Now at this point the detective was willing to try anything, but he didn’t feel that such an action would be welcome.

For the past few months the detective had not been himself. When he had first met John he had been a show off, deducing John almost to a tee and ‘curing’ his limp. He couldn’t do that this time round and he didn’t know how to interact with someone without offending them. So he had been being....polite and attentive. That’s how ‘normal’ people act right? The detective was finding it exhausting and he felt like he had to watch everything he was doing or saying. John seemed distant and Sherlock had let him be, as he must be doing it wrong and he didn’t know how to make it right. Now the gaping hole between them was growing day after day and he didn’t know what to do. So here he was hiding in the morgue and bouncing a ball.

This was how Molly found him. “You look sad” she said as she approached him. Sherlock caught the ball and stopped the incessant bouncing.

“And you know what that means......looking sad when no one can see you.” Sherlock continued for her. She raised a smile at the reference.

“It’s still as true as the first time I said it all those years ago.” She sat down opposite him and looked at him with kind eyes. Always such kind eyes, despite everything he had put her through.

“Hmmm....but you were hopelessly in love with me then. What’s your excuse now for the sentimental conversation?” He joked and that earned him a slap on the arm and a giggle. He grinned back at her and the tension eased a little. “Is that why you bribed me here with something ‘very interesting’, so you could finally confess your undying love to me? With John out of the picture I would undoubtedly fall straight into your arms and we would live happily ever after?” He plastered a fake smile on his face to cover up the pain that sentence gave him.

Molly didn’t fall for his diversion tactics however. “Is he out of the picture? Have things developed?”

Sherlock shook his head. “No nothing has changed and that’s the problem!” He almost shouted, as he stood up and he threw the elastic band ball at the nearest surface. He brought his hands into his curls and tugged at them in frustration. “He used to see me, whatever I tried to hide from the world he would see. And in recent years he even started to see what I tried to hide from him. I wouldn’t be able to fake my own death again, he would see right through it.....or he would have. Now he doesn’t even know how I take my tea!”

He pulled his hands away and sighed. Molly was staring up at him with a sad smile on her face. “I am here for you Sherlock, just like I was for the fall. I might not see you as well as John.....did and I might not be ‘hopelessly in love with you’ anymore, but I do love you Sherlock and I want to be here for you if you need me.”

“I do” he whispered. “I need help in being normal.”

“What?!” She exclaimed. “Why do you want to be normal? You despise normality!”

“Well I don’t know what else to do!....John has been through a ridiculously tragic and confusing thing and he’s stuck with me to help him through it. First time around I wasn’t trying to make him love me. I was trying to impress him sure and show him some excitement, but I never imagined I would end up with.... feelings. By the time I had accepted I was in love with him, he already knew everything about me and all my faults, so I didn’t need to change anything about myself.”

Molly stood up at this and grasped the other man by the arms. “Sherlock you don’t need to change anything about yourself! John wouldn’t-“

“But I do!” the detective cut her off. “I can’t lose him Molly! He stares at me so blankly, without a shred of love or even happiness in his eyes and that’s with me being nice and polite! What would he be like if I was truly myself? Inconsiderate, abrupt and narcissistic? How would he look at me then huh?”

“Is that really how you see yourself?” Sherlock looked away. “You are so much more than that Sherlock.” She used her finger to draw his chin, so that their eyes could meet. “John and I aren’t fools, we wouldn’t fall in love with someone who was only those things.”

“Yes well John is gone now and I don’t know how to be something other than those things.”

“John is still here. He’s just an older version. He liked you then for the person you are. Even if you can’t dazzle him with your deductions, doesn’t mean he won’t still like the real you. Maybe your not getting anywhere with him, because you are not being the man he fell in love with.”

“But what if I’m not enough?”

Molly’s heart broke a little at that. “At least you will know it’s because this....tragedy has changed him, not because you weren’t entirely yourself. I’m not gonna lie and tell you I have all the answers and I know what will get John back to you. But I know that John is attracted to danger and things that are unique. If that doesn’t sum you up in a nutshell, I don’t know what does.” A small smile graced the detective’s face. “Sherlock you have also got to remember that this isn’t all about John. You have been through a tragedy too. In a way for you it’s worse, because you have all your memories and you know what you have lost.” Tears started to seep out of the man’s eyes and Molly wiped them away. “You need to give yourself some time to deal with this too and not worry about what that would look like to John. Talk to him, take him on a case for Christ’s sake – try to get some of your own normality into your life again. Stop trying to be something you think John wants and start being the man he loves. If there is one thing I know about John Watson is that he isn’t interested in anybody that is meek and polite.”

“I don’t know some of his former girlfriends fit that description very well.” The detective joked and sniffled through his tears.

Molly laughed and pulled away from her grip on Sherlock. “See that’s what I am talking about, be obnoxious like that with John and you might get somewhere.”

The detective frowned “I didn’t say I was obnoxious.”

“No I did” Molly smirked at his put out look “Anyway don’t you want to see the ‘very interesting’ thing I have for you?” As she lifted a bag of body parts up into his face.

Sherlock smiled and nodded, as he wiped his eyes.

“Thank you Molly”

She patted him on the arm. "Sometimes it takes someone else to remind us of who we really are.” She replied, as she reached into the bag to bring out a diseased foot.

Chapter Text

Raising a child was....challenging. Sherlock had read all the books he could get his hands on and they all said it would be. He had also read all the leaflets that the adoption company had sent through and attended all the meetings, interviews and counselling sessions, both mandatory and recommended. All of them indicated that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, especially when adopting an older child, with a difficult upbringing and distinct memories of it.

But this information was for ‘normal’ people, not for emotionally constipated people like Sherlock. So he had been determined to work harder than everyone else and he had known that challenging would be an understatement.

As in most cases, he was right.

Adjusting to having Finn in their life, in his life, had been the biggest challenge he had ever faced, his most difficult case, his most emotionally compromising situation. He had had moments where he didn’t know if they would get through it, but he had never doubted it would be worth it and he would never give up on Finn, on John or most surprisingly on himself.

The young boy had adjusted fairly well to Baker Street and his two new guardians. They had all done well in taking on the new dynamic between them and dealt with the bumps in the road along the way. This had led to them starting the process for adoption, which had just recently been finalised.

This confirmation that their family was real had had a big effect on all three of them, in different ways.

John had already seen them as a family and didn’t need a court of law or a piece of paper to prove that. Sherlock could tell however that John was scared that it could be taken away from him at any moment. Every time a case came up, he grilled Sherlock on the details and how safe it was. He was reluctant to leave Finn with Mrs Hudson or Molly, in case the boy wasn’t still there when they came back. He reprimanded Sherlock several times that what he was saying was a bit not good, effectively shutting the detective up. Finn always looked on them curiously in these moments and often questioned why John was behaving this way. John had no answer without baring his soul to a 10 year old, so he had tried to cut back on his mother hen, worry wart tendencies. Once the adoption had become official, the man had physically deflated with relief. He had slept for 48 hours and couldn’t stop smiling for a week. He was happy to let Finn out to meet his friends without asking 100 questions and was making plans for holidays and Christmas, confusing Finn and Sherlock no end to the sudden change.

The detective himself had been confident that the process would be a success. Well in so much that he had every faith that John could pull it off and would make sure that he would too. What had been gnawing at him was that Finn would decide that this wasn’t his forever home. There had been a whole workshop and intense counselling session on the very possibility and it had hit Sherlock harder than he thought it would.

Finn’s upbringing had been difficult to say the least and abnormal in every way. The life that John and he could offer him would seem like a dream in comparison, which they were more than happy to offer him. When Finn had started school, when he had made friends, when he had started asking questions, when he had gone round to his classmates’ houses, when he had started to learn about the real world Sherlock had started to panic. Why would Finn want to stay with them then? When he was surrounded by ‘normal’ people and ‘normal’ families? Despite these misgivings, Finn didn’t seem to show any signs of defecting to a more usual lifestyle. Sherlock would observe and deduce his every move and he didn’t seem to be thinking that he would be happier in a different environment. But Sherlock didn’t feel secure until the adoption had officially been approved. Not that he would stop Finn if he wanted to leave in the future, but the young boy had been given the option to back out. He had seen some of the world and still decided to stay at Baker Street, with John and with Sherlock. The detective had never been chosen by anyone except John and now he had a family. Not one that had been forced on any of them and Sherlock was overwhelmed with the feeling of permanence and....home.

For Finn however, the adoption had sparked a significant change in his behaviour. He had always been fairly cautious in his interactions with both John and Sherlock. He had of course had emotional outbursts, but usually because he didn’t understand this new world he had found himself in and he got frustrated with himself. He had been seeing a counsellor and John and Sherlock didn’t press him about what was discussed in these sessions. They had got him into a very good school for pastoral care, meaning his emotional needs were everyone’s priorities rather than his academic abilities. He tried a lot of new things, some of which he hated (football and knitting) and some of which he loved (reading and table tennis), and he seemed to be finding himself more and more as time went on. He became confident in asking questions if he didn’t understand what was going on (like why Santa had never visited him before now at Christmas - John had fielded that one like the soldier he was) also if he was curious about something (like why Sherlock and John couldn’t get married – Sherlock had been on his own for that one and had floundered, but got through it).

Once the adoption had been finalised, Finn started to defy them at every turn. He would refuse to go to bed on time, do his homework or talk to them about anything. His therapist had suggested he was testing them, daring them to ‘send him back’. Sherlock had spent a night lying on the couch in his mind palace, contemplating this information and going over every moment with Finn and analysing it. John had greeted him with a cup of tea the following morning, with a sad smile on his face. He clasped the hot drink in his hands and felt John’s arm wrap round his shoulders. He nestled into the warmth of his doctor’s neck and breathed him in.

“I think the therapist might be right.” Sherlock had offered and he had felt John’s arm tighten around him, his fingers stroking his shoulder. He had looked up to the other man, finding his tired blue eyes. “Now that we are a family Finn thinks that everything is going to go down hill.”

John had frowned in confusion, so the detective had elaborated. “The only family he has known before us mistreated him. Made him do awful things, half of which we don’t even know about. He was trapped in that situation and couldn’t get out. Despite that he loved his father and sought his acceptance every day, being continually rejected. He’s scared that the same thing will happen, so he’s pushing us away before we can reject him.”

John’s eyes had widened at this in understanding. He had tightened his hold on Sherlock and kissed his forehead. “Our poor boy.” He had whispered and then “You are amazing Sherlock we are both so lucky to have you. We will get through this...together.”

So yes raising a child was challenging and despite all the warnings and preparations, it was still taking him by surprise. He was currently lying in bed thinking of all this, John snoozing beside him, when he heard a loud scream from Finn’s bedroom.

John was up like a shot and grabbing his dressing gown. Finn had had nightmares before, but the panic always filled them in these first moments in case someone had got in to Baker Street. They both headed upstairs and John indicated that he would go in first. The other man waited outside, with the door still ajar. He could see Finn sitting up with tears in his eyes and hands on his head. Just a nightmare then, he relaxed a little and sat down on the stairs outside the room. He didn’t want to overwhelm the young boy, but wanted to make sure he was ok.

He heard John pull Finn to his chest and ask what had happened in the dream. The boy was still sniffling, but no words came forth in reply. “It might not be as scary if you talk about it.” He heard John suggest.

Silence ensued, until he heard a muffled “If I tell you, you won’t like what I did and then you won’t love me anymore. So I am not going to tell you, because I want to be who I am now, not who I was then”

The detective’s breath was stolen from him at that moment and tears filled his eyes. He wanted to take the pain Finn was feeling away and a hot rush of protectiveness surged through his body. He heard the emotion in John’s voice too as he replied. “Nobody is perfect Finn, Sherlock and I are certainly proof of that, but we love you just way you are now and also who you were then.”

There was another silence from their young charge, before finally he heard a whispered. “I love you both two Dad.”

Sherlock actually made a sobbing noise at this and clamped his hand over his mouth, as he was full on crying at this point. Finn had never told them that he loved them and had never called either of them Dad. Although both of them considered the boy their son, they didn’t want to ever put the pressure on Finn to define them in that way.

“What was that noise?” Finn asked worriedly.

John chuckled and said “I think someone has been eavesdropping. Sherlock?”

The other man composed himself as much as he could and flounced into the room. Finn had stopped crying and he could see the curious look on his face at his emotional state. “I am deducing that you have become emotional from the topic of our conversation and my distressed state.” Finn ventured.

“Yes well. I only put it on to test your deduction skills.” Countered Sherlock with a smile.

Finn smiled back “Of course.” The detective got into the other side of the bed and put his arms around the both of them.

“Well let’s ride out this emotional, moment together, before we try to get back to sleep” Sherlock suggested. His eyes met John’s over Finn’s head and they both smiled. He held on to their son a little tighter.

Their son. His best challenge yet.

Chapter Text

John was watching Sherlock prance around a corpse.

And wasn’t that a sentence he never thought he would say. How was this his life?

It had been a few months since he woke up from his coma and he was still trying to adjust to the new life he had found himself in. He had gradually started back at work, doing shifts in A&E, which (like everything) was taking a while to get used to, especially after the chaos of Afghanistan.

On the positive side of things his relationship with Finn was going from strength to strength. They had started to meet up regularly one on one and he was enjoying getting to know the young man. He was also finding more about their shared history without feeling the pressure of living up to the man he wasn’t anymore.

Things with Sherlock on the other hand were... strained. They had moments where they connected, like the night they were both kept up by the storm, but a lot of the time it felt like they were both walking on eggshells around each other. John because he was scared of saying or doing the wrong thing, of not remembering something vital. John was also scared about asking about the past. If the detective ever shared a memory with him, he got this pained look on his face and John could see how difficult it was for the other man to relive those shared moments. Sherlock because....John wasn’t sure why the detective was being so....cautious. He was tentative in their interactions and overbearingly polite. John can’t imagine he would have ever fallen for such a person, so he had done his own bit of deducing and had come to the conclusion that Sherlock wasn’t entirely being himself with the doctor.

The detective would disappear on his cases and John would find notes left in the kitchen that he had gone off somewhere for a case with someone. Oddly enough their names always began with the letter ‘G’ (he later found out they were all Greg Lestrade). So John had gone back to work and the two of them were almost leading separate lives. John felt even more lost at these turn of events and he didn’t even have any friends he could talk to and ask advice from, not any who knew Sherlock anyway.

Finn had mentioned that John had written a blog during his and Sherlock’s early years together, so he had turned to the only person he could truly trust at the moment...himself. He had found the blog page and poured over every entry, trying to find out who this Sherlock Holmes really was and find some insight into the man he himself had become. The first thing he had got from it was that he adored Sherlock or maybe worshipped him. The way his other self described the detective was like he was in awe of him. He had been surprised it took so long for the two of them to get together. If Sherlock had read this, surely he would have picked up on that in a second, if ‘idiot’ John Watson could.

Suddenly Sherlock’s voice had flashed through his mind “Because you’re an idiot”. John had shook his head – surely that can’t be a memory? Sherlock wouldn’t call him an idiot....right?

John had turned back to the task at hand and the blog, some of the things that Sherlock apparently had deduced had seemed incredible, if true. John had never seen it for himself, not really. Sherlock couldn’t do it with him, as he likely knew everything there was to know about his husband and the detective hadn’t really tried.

Maybe if he saw this side of Sherlock things would start clicking into place and maybe the other man would stop being so scared around him. So he had approached Sherlock and asked him if he could join him on a case, which had lead them to this moment, with Sherlock prancing around a corpse.

He hadn’t said much of anything yet, but had been very abrupt in entering the crime scene, with barely a word to anyone.

“Well somebody’s in a good mood today. Have you finally got your memories back John?” A long haired and bearded man approached him. At John’s vacant expression, he continued “Ah I guess not then, but whatever you did to shut him up, we appreciate it. I’m Anderson by the way.” He held out his hand to shake.

John looked at the hand and looked back at ‘Anderson’ and did not return the gesture. “Mr Anderson, whether I have regained my memories or not I don’t appreciate you speaking about my husband in that way and would kindly ask that you leave us both to do what we have come here to do.”

The other man looked shocked and then laughed. “Seems like the old John Watson is still in there somewhere.” He looked over to the corpse and John followed his line of sight. He saw Sherlock had stopped his prancing and was staring directly at the two of them, he seemed frozen. He swallowed and seemed to shake himself, before coming to stand in front of John.

He pointed to the corpse “What do you think?”

“Me?” John pointed to himself “I thought it was you that did the deductions.”

“Yes, but your stupidity helps the process.” Sherlock replied.

“Excuse me?” The doctor spluttered, shocked. “You think I’m stupid?”

Sherlock eyes widened, as if he realised what he had just said. “In life generally....no. In this....yes?” He finished, as if he wasn’t sure himself.

John’s lips thinned and he crossed his arms. Anger was coursing through his veins and he felt a need to prove Sherlock wrong, so he proceeded to delve into a detailed analysis of everything he had observed at the crime scene.

The detective paused in thought and then he came back to himself, as he raised his hands in the air in front of his face. “That’s it John!” His excitement surged through his movements and he kissed John firmly on the lips, before rushing out the door and shouting “It was the dog walker! Lestrade follow me!”

John was left behind, with the crime investigation team and the dead body. His fingers found his lips, still a little stunned.

He felt that maybe for the first time he had had a glimpse of the real Sherlock Holmes.

Chapter Text

'GAY MARRIAGE LEGAL!'

Sherlock stared at the headline on the newspaper that lay in the gutter next to him. He was on a case and spending some time with his homeless network. He had been waiting for over an hour for his contact, huddled on the pavement and trying to blend in. He had noticed the newspaper about 10 minutes in and it had been taunting him ever since.

Sherlock had never entertained the idea of getting married. As a child all he had cared about was besting Mycroft. Their parents, although very loving and in a very happy marriage, had never subscribed to the usual fairytales. Instead Sherlock had read encyclopedias and dissected frogs instead of kissing them. As puberty hit he watched the other boys talk about girls (and boys) with vulgar words and motions. He had observed from a distance, never being part of a social circle to join in and not having much of an interest to try. As he got older he did start to feel certain urges, but by then he had started to see his body as transport and didn’t care to explore them.

Then he had found drugs and with them the realisation that his body could get him what he wanted, what he really desired and he exchanged sexual favours for a hit. It was a means to an end for him and he doesn’t remember overly enjoying the experience, but then he doesn’t remember much from that period of his life. Except the exceptional high and peace that the drugs gave him.

He had never really recognised sexual attraction to anyone man or woman and he had never concerned himself with it, unless it was needed for a case.
As for love, Mycroft had conditioned him early on to see it as something to be scorned and avoided. He had affection for his parents and (deep down in an untraceable part of his mind palace) for Mycroft, but he had rolled his eyes at the lovesick couples he saw and had regular examples of how love can go wrong with his work.

Of course it didn’t help that he usually made people hate him within moments of meeting them and that didn’t lend himself to romantic entanglements either.

Then John Watson had entered his life, quite unexpectedly. He had not thought much of their first meeting, although instantly feeling that there was something different about him. He hadn’t expected their flat share would last long, not after John had spent more time with him, so he had wanted to impress him as much as he could. Hoping that John would at least remember him, even if he didn’t like him.

He was therefore startled when John had called him amazing, extraordinary. That had given him a warm feeling in his stomach that he had rarely felt before. He still got that feeling when John praised him to be honest. Back then it had unsettled him so much that he had put off John’s flirtations at Angelo’s, stating he was married to his work. Something which John had taken very much to heart it turned out. He had cured John’s limp to dazzle him more, but treated John as he did everyone else, putting him out of his mind and abandoning him in favour of the case.

A serial killer and a bullet through a window later, he was giggling with this extraordinary, loyal man at a crime scene. Sherlock couldn’t remember the last time he had giggled. No one except Mycroft had put themselves out there for him before. It had been an alien feeling to Sherlock and he had been John Watson’s ever since.

He had known as time went on that he and John were friends. He had known that John was the most important person in his life and that he cared for him, but as he had never really felt anything like it before, he hadn’t known he was sexually attracted to him until (ironically) Irene Adler had come into their lives. He had stared at her naked body and felt nothing but frustration at not being able to deduce her. She intrigued him and he wanted to solve the puzzle that she was. He had lamented, when he had thought she was dead, at their unfinished business. Yet it was only when he had eavesdropped into her conversation with John on her return from the dead that he realised what he was feeling.

John had been fierce in that conversation. He was in soldier mode and he wasn’t backing down to one of the most dominant people he knew. The best of it all was that that fierceness, that passion was for him. For the first time in his life he had felt overwhelmingly aroused. It had shocked him so much that he had almost missed John’s vehement refusal of anything sexual between them that immediately followed. The words had felt like a lead balloon, dispelling his arousal and causing Sherlock to block out any other stirrings or feelings for John Watson to surface.

It was only when he had been standing on a roof that he realised that he was completely in love with him.

It had been hard to not react to a distraught John Watson as he had checked his pulse. His fingers hot and clammy against his wrist. It had been unbearable to live without him for a year. The only way he had got through it was the thought of getting back to him. The only way he got through the torture, the starvation, the unending boredom was that it was keeping John alive.

Once he had come back, he had resigned himself to a life of unrequited romantic love, but safe in the knowledge that he had John’s love and affection as a friend (and after his roof stunt he was lucky to have that he knew). He was preparing himself for the woman who would finally win John’s heart. He would of course do all he could to thwart her, she wouldn’t be worthy of John if she couldn’t survive that.

He had never in his wildest dreams imagined that it would be him who would win the doctor’s heart or that in fact he had won it a long time ago.

Since that fateful day when they had declared their love for each other, Sherlock had explored himself and John thoroughly and he had enjoyed it immensely. Surprisingly their intimate relations had yet to get boring, although they had simmered a little from their first year or so together.

Only a little mind.

His life without John Watson would be unbearably dull, although he would not know it. And a life with John Watson was actually a life with love, which he had once found so disgusting and ridiculous. He would gladly hold hands with the doctor walking down the street. He would unashamedly snog the life out of him in public and they often did on a case. He told him he loved him fairly often, although likely not enough. They had blazing rows and hot, heavy, dirty sex. He also had discovered he liked cuddling and nuzzling and soft kisses and slow, sensual sex. He would also gladly murder anyone who would ever hurt his John (not that the doctor would allow it of course, but the thought was there). So he had become the thing he had despised.....normal. He was in love. They even had a child now to complete the family picture.

And what did normal people do? They got married.

It had never entered his head before, as it hadn't been an option for them, for two men in love. Sherlock rarely kept up with the news, so goodness knows how long it had been legal, but he had got to get his mind out of this particular gutter where the headline lay.

Because in that moment he knew that he wanted to marry John Watson.

When he was growing up he hadn’t entertained the idea of marriage not because he didn’t want it, but because he was ignorant of it. He had despised love, because he was ignorant of it.

He was no longer ignorant of love and he didn’t want to be ignorant of marriage any longer. He was a possessive and demanding person and he wanted John to belong to him. He wanted Finn to have married parents, to have that extra security that they weren’t going away. Sherlock wanted that security. He wanted to grow old with John and share the rest of their lives together. He had wanted that for a long time and now they had the option to make it official. He could hear Mycroft’s voice scoffing in his head at the notion, but he also envisioned John’s soft, encouraging smile, at the thought. And as always John won out.

Now all he had to figure out was how he was going to ask him and how he would ever get him to agree.

Chapter Text

John was panting and a big grin was adorning his face. His head fell back against the wall that was currently keeping him upright and he closed his eyes, trying to slow his heartbeat down.

That had been....thrilling, a feeling he hadn’t had in a very long time (well that he could remember having anyway). Sherlock had been on a mission to catch the dog walker and it had led to them chasing the woman across the city. It had also involved them getting chased by a very disgruntled Jack Russell. John had watched Sherlock jump in the air in his Belstaff to avoid the yapping creature and that was an image that would forever stay in his head. He giggled at the memory. They had barely made it back to 221B in one piece.

“What are you giggling at?” Sherlock said from his place, sprawled on the entryway stairs.

“You” John looked down at Sherlock’s raised eyebrow “Jumping around like your shoes were on fire because of that dog.”

The detective looked affronted and stood up to stand by John, towering over his frame. “Smaller dogs can just be as dangerous as bigger ones.”

“Mmm” the doctor replied noncommittally. He took a moment to look at Sherlock then. His flushed cheeks, dishevelled hair and rosy lips. “You kissed me before” he stated.

The detective’s eyes widened in shock “I did?” His eyes darted from side to side, as if trying to locate the moment that had happened.

John nodded in response. “At the crime scene, after you deduced who the killer was from my....stupidity.”

Sherlock looked uncomfortable at this. “I have been known to do that. I’m sor-“

The doctor put his finger on the other man’s lips. “I liked it.....I would like to do it again.”

Sherlock looked struck dumb by this. “Right...brilliant...I mean.....yes of course.. if you want to....of course.” He was fidgeting and looked completely lost “Do you mean now?”

John nodded and feeling bold, pulled at the collar of the infallible Belstaff to bring the detective closer. The other man was trembling, as his hands found John’s waist. “I had a great day today Sherlock, thank you. You are amazing.” The detective’s eyes went soft at this and he touched his forehead to John’s. Their lips tentatively found each other in a tame, soft kiss. The doctor however couldn’t contain the energy coursing through him and pulled Sherlock down for a bruising kiss.

This seemed to kick the other man into action, all hesitation leaving his body, as if he had been given permission to release all the passion, lust and.....love that he had been holding in.

John was very much on board with this change in pace, tendrils of arousal starting to move through him.

Sherlock groaned and pushed his thigh between John’s legs, giving the doctor something to rub against. He let out a groan of his own, pulling his lips away to let out the noise. Sherlock’s mouth moved to his neck and John was lost in his arousal.

“Oh my dear boys!” broke through the haze and immediately ruined the moment.

“Mrs Hudson” he heard Sherlock groan around his shoulder, before he pulled away and turned towards their landlady.

“So good to see you two getting on again, things had been so quiet upstairs!” John hid his smile, as Sherlock turned red at this comment. “Have you remembered dear?”

John sobered at this, “Err....no not yet Mrs Hudson, we were just....”

“Reconnecting.” Sherlock finished for him, eyes meeting his, before looking down at the floor.

“Well you two did always get on so well. I mean I knew there was something between you from the moment you moved in. Surprised it took you so long to get together to be honest and Sherlock died and I felt for you John, it broke my heart. And then all this business with your accident John. What an awful thing and poor Sherlock!....So it’s good to see you enjoying yourselves again, although in the entryway really? I need to maintain an amount of respectability. I mean this isn’t the first time I have found you in a compromisi-“

“Thank you Mrs Hudson” interrupted Sherlock, who was now completely flushed in embarrassment. John giggled again. “John and I will now go upstairs, so we can finish....”

“Reconnecting” John jumped in.

“Oh of course, well don’t let me stop you.” Mrs Hudson.

John grinned and pulled Sherlock along with him to their apartment, the two of them giggling like school boys.

Back in the apartment John grabbed Sherlock loosely by the lapels “So that’s not the first time Mrs Hudson has caught in the entryway then?” he asked, with his eyebrows raised.

Sherlock giggled, John had never seen him so carefree. “Sometimes we just couldn’t help ourselves.” His blush reached the top of those ridiculously high cheekbones and John traced it with his finger. He was beautiful.

“Tell me about it. Tell me what we did together.”

Sherlock held is gaze then and John watched his pupils dilate. “I’d rather show you.”

John smirked, liking his boldness and this side of the other man. “Lead the way Mr Holmes.” He said, gesturing towards Sherlock’s bedroom.

Sherlock grinned and grabbed John round the waist, pulling their bodies together. His breath was hot against his ear as he whispered, “Oh my dear Watson, who said we are going to need a bed.” John then found himself yanked in the air and thrown on the kitchen table (he would never admit to the surprised yelp he made in the process).

The taller man shrugged out of his Belstaff, throwing it across the room and John found himself being pinned to the table, by a hot and clearly horny detective. Sherlock snogged him to within an inch of his life and he felt himself start to react to the detective’s ministrations. “John” the detective moaned near to his ear as he pulled away and started to move down the shorter man's body.

“Oh God” John groaned, as he saw the other man fall to his knees in front of him. “Bloody hell.” He muttered.

“No my dear John, I’m taking you to heaven.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock stared at the scene in front of him. The red seemed to overtake his senses, the colour was everywhere. He had spent a long time staging the scene exactly how he wanted it.

Was it too much?

The detective reassessed the 200 roses that covered the living room of 221b. Some were in vases and others had been broken apart, petals scattered over every surface. There was a circle in the middle of the room where you could still see the carpet and that’s where Sherlock planned to propose to John. He had gone to Molly for advice about the best way to go about it and, after the initial squealing and shock at finding out what Sherlock planned to do, she had told him he needed to make it as romantic as possible. So he had googled ‘What is romantic?’. The results had been....varied to say the least and had confused Sherlock to no end. Lots of sites suggested PDA and unexpected gifts, which didn’t really seem appropriate for a marriage proposal. Whereas others suggested basket weaving and skydiving together, but the detective didn’t think that he would be able to get a ring out and ask John to marry him when they were hurtling through the sky together (or when he was trying to navigate a basket).

So he had googled ‘What is the most romantic way to propose?’ which was much worse. The results had boggled his brain and there was no clear cut answer, how was he going to get John to say yes if he didn’t get it right? He was halfway to organising a hot air balloon trip, where a plane would fly over with the all important question, when he remembered Molly’s second piece of advice.

Keep it simple.

Simple? When had Sherlock ever been good at that? He had flounced away from his laptop (using his own for once, so John didn’t see the search history) in defeat and had flopped onto the sofa in a strop. John had found him in the same spot later that day and had left him to his mood, pottering about in the kitchen making tea.

Sherlock had contemplated John’s movement, annoyed at himself for not being able to put together the perfect, simple proposal.

Sherlock had shot up on the couch at that thought.
Simple.....John was simple. He would have the answer! He would unwittingly provide the information to plan his own perfect proposal. He had jumped up and joined John in the kitchen, dropping a kiss to the doctor’s forehead before he had wrapped his arms around the smaller man’s waist.

“Hello” John had chuckled “Out of your mood then”

“Mmmhmm” the detective had replied into John’s hair. “I was contemplating an experiment and I think you can help”

“Oh really?.....Does my help include distracting you to the point where you have forgotten the experiment ever existed?”

Sherlock had frozen at that and had almost given up on the whole proposal plan, because that sounded like an excellent way to spend an afternoon. “Tempting, but no that’s not what I had in mind.”

John had turned around and snorted in amusement. “For once”

“I was wondering what you used to do for your girlfriends in terms of romance.” John had frowned at his comment. “It’s research for a case, an experiment” He had fumbled nervously.

John had still looked bemused, but had humoured him and responded. “Well I guess flowers were always a winner."

“And if you were planning a special....night”

“Hmm.....well I guess rose petals and candles always created a romantic environment.” John had started to unbutton Sherlock’s shirt and slid his fingers over his bare skin underneath the fabric “But to be honest I tended to rely on showing romance in the bedroom.” John had looked into the detective’s face. “Do you think a practical demonstration would help your experiment?” His eyes had held a fake innocence when looking at Sherlock and the taller man had been powerless to refuse him, his mission temporarily forgotten.

But once Sherlock had regained his senses, he had taken John’s words to heart and had put a plan into motion that had led him to this day.

The day he would propose to John.

His palms were sweating, as he did a final once over of the room in front of him. He had filled the room with red roses and had lit candles on various surfaces (there was even one on the skull). He would get on his knees and first give John a blow job (like the doctor had given him as part of the ‘experiment’) and once he had recovered he would pop the question.

Perfect.

Right?

He put his head in his hands, what was he doing?

It was at this point, when Sherlock was having a crisis of confidence, that John walked through the door. “What’s all this?” he laughed, as he pressed a chaste kiss to the taller man’s shocked lips. “Is this for that experiment you were talking about a few weeks ago?”

No, no, no Sherlock thought. John was early, he wasn’t ready. He had meant to meet John at the door. Maybe blindfold him, make a big show of it, make it a surprise.

“No.” He verbalised.

“No?” John looked confused and went to stand in the circle he had left clear. “Well it certainly looks romantic to me. Not something that does it for me particularly, but I bet there are plenty of people out there who would love it. Certainly some of my past girlfriends would be blown away by it....but if it’s not for an experiment, what is it for?”

Sherlock felt like a lead balloon had popped and settled in his stomach. John didn’t like it? Something must have shown on his face, because concern started growing on John’s “Sherlock?”

Before the detective could answer, his phone rang and he leapt for it like it was a lifeline. Lestrade was on the other end and he jumped at the chance to escape this awful situation.

“Case” he voiced to John, who was already blowing out the candles.

“Right, let’s go” John replied. Sherlock was tempted to say he would go on his own, but that would create more problems than it would solve.

He grabbed his Belstaff and hoped that all this nonsense would have miraculously disappeared when they came back.

***

The case was a mediocre 5 and did little to distract Sherlock from his disastrous attempt at a proposal. Why would John ever say yes if he couldn’t ask him properly?

John had kept on glancing over at Sherlock, that look of concern growing as the day wore on. He couldn’t bear it.

As the case moved forward he had resigned himself to never being able to get this romance malarkey right. To have a normal relationship, to be able to get married. To be worthy of John.

Things came to a head when they were scouring the streets of London in search of the potential murderer. John had pulled him into a side alley and gave him a death stare.

“Alright enough, what the hell is going on with you today?” John gently demanded.

“I don’t know what you are talking about” he feigned ignorance.

“Don’t pull that with me Sherlock, I know you better than that.” He let go of Sherlock and looked at his feet. “Are you seeing someone else?”

“What?!” Sherlock’s melancholy train of thought was completely blown out of his head with that comment. “Why would you think that? How could you ever think I would do that to you? That I could ever love anyone else?”

John looked guilty at his comments. “Not necessarily that you loved someone else, but that you had found some other.....companion.”

“I can’t believe this....that you think I would ever.....do you think so little of me? After everything we have been through, after everything I have said and shared with you?” he had started to pace and stuck his fingers in his hair in frustration. How had this day turned out this way? How far from perfect was this?

“I never doubted you loved me.” John replied vehemently “But we have been together a while now, things can change, love can change. And you were acting strange, more distant than usual and then you asked me about romancing a woman.” Sherlock gaped at him in disbelief. “Then today you looked....devastated when I walked into the flat. I was home early and I wondered if I had interrupted-“

“I was going to ask you to marry me!” Sherlock blurted before he could stop himself. John’s eyes widened and he looked at him in pure shock. The detective put his head in his hands for what felt like the tenth time today. “I was going to ask you to marry me” he said more calmly “and you ruined it. It was going to perfect and I was going to give you a blow job and everything.”

“I- wow – I” John giggled

“This is not funny John!”
“Oh I think it is.” As he started full out laughing.

Sherlock was indignant for about another 30 seconds, before he felt a smirk on his face and his own laugh bubble out. Soon both of them were in a full giggle fit, tears starting to seep out there eyes. “Roses, Sherlock really?”

The detective’s laughter halted and he admitted “I wanted it to be perfect.”

"Sherlock when has anything we have ever done been perfect?” Well John had a point there. “We fell in love over corpses, bombs and a fake suicide. We found our son in a drug den and our sex life is pretty much co-ordinated around cases.”

Sherlock knew John was right, but “I wanted to be normal....for once. I wanted to have what everyone else has. A normal life.”

“I don’t want that.” John said firmly. “I don’t want you or our life to be normal. I didn’t fall in love with a normal person Sherlock and neither did you. Finn isn’t normal either and I don’t want him to grow up feeling like he has to be. I want him to find his own path, be completely himself. I want you to be that too.”
John always knew the right thing to say and his whole endeavour seemed ridiculous now. “Does that mean you would have said no?”

John paused and contemplated his response. “Why were you asking me Sherlock? Was it so we could fit into a ‘normal people’ box?”

The detective shook his head, feeling a little frustrated with his doctor, is that the only reason he thought Sherlock would do this? “No, of course not. I-“ he didn’t know how to voice this. John stepped closer to him and put his hands on his chest, encouraging him to say whatever he needed to. He looked down into his blue eyes. “John I never expected to.....feel what I feel for you, let alone have the opportunity to explore it. I had always feared love and now it surrounds me every day with you and Finn in my life. I used to watch other people and scorn them for their sentimental expressions and ceremonies surrounding love. Now....I’m jealous of them....and I was in the gutter the other month.” John, who’s eyes had gone a little misty, now rolled them at that comment “and I saw that gay marriage was legal on a thrown away newspaper and I realised that I wanted that with you.”

There was a silence from John at this, before the doctor slid to his knees, in the dirty alley they were still hiding in. “John this is really no time for a blow-“

The doctor lightly slapped his hand to quieten him before grabbing it and holding it in both of his. It was at this point that Sherlock noticed John was only on one knee...oh God....

“Sherlock Holmes, you tried to create the perfect proposal for me and I ruined it, but despite all your meticulous planning what you just said was bloody brilliant and I wouldn’t trade that for all the roses, candles or blow jobs in the world. I don’t think I can match that with my own words, but I'll try my best to be as romantic as possible." Sherlock smiled. "Before I met you life was pretty.....grey and you have brought so much colour to it. You challenge me and make me a better person. There is no one I have ever met that I have connected with the way I connect with you. It feels so natural and so.....perfect and it’s the imperfect moments like this that makes it so. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I don’t need a piece of paper or a ring to give me the assurance that that will happen, but I would love for the world to know that we are each other's. So my dearest detective, will you marry me?”

Sherlock was completely stunned at what had just happened and must have been quiet for a long time, because John started to look worried again. “Yes” he finally managed to get out. “Yes of course yes.”

John smiled and stood up to kiss Sherlock sweetly and forcefully. He giggled again and murmured “Perfect”.

Sherlock smiled and brushed a few happy tears from John’s cheeks. “Yes it is”

Chapter Text

Sherlock stood at the right hand window of the living room at 221b, smoking a cigarette. There was an early morning mist hanging around Baker Street and only a few other lost souls wondering around in its depth.

He took a drag on the cigarette, a necessary vice to calm his thoughts. He looked down at the ring on his left hand and thought about that day in the alley when John had proposed. He had felt so happy and loved in that moment, it really had been perfect. Now those feelings felt so foreign to him, so unattainable. They were as wispy and fleeting as the memories themselves.

Now he felt lost and....empty.

It had been a few weeks since John and he had started sleeping together. At first it had been fun, exhilarating even. Sherlock had been overwhelmed by being able to touch John again, to share a bed (and various other places with him) and it had been wonderful. John was just as enthusiastic and inventive as he had always been and it had made a nice change from the walking around on eggshells they had been doing before.

Yet when the dust had settled and his very own fog had cleared from his head, he realised it wasn’t the same. John’s kisses, his touches, his looks....they lacked an intensity that Sherlock was used to, that he hadn’t even known was there to miss. There was also a lack of intimacy to their interactions, despite the very physical acts they had done together. John didn’t know Sherlock, didn’t know which side of the bed he liked to sleep on or how he liked to wake up to a kiss to the forehead. He didn’t know how ticklish he was and how that was the most sure way to get him out of bed. He didn’t know how he liked to be told what to do sometimes, didn’t know of all the things they had tried and failed at in a pile of limbs and laughter. He didn’t know that he had had tears in his eyes after their first time together, because he had never known it could be like that. But Sherlock knew everything about John, just how he liked to be touched and kissed, what positions he liked and how he liked to wrap himself around Sherlock every night. Well he knows what his John liked. This version of his detective had looked in awe at him as he brought him to the brink again and again and then had rolled to his side after a few moments of post coital cuddling.

John was shagging a fit guy he had just met and Sherlock was making love to his husband.

He took another drag on his cigarette. Love was not an advantage. It certainly wasn’t when it was unrequited.

When John proposed to him he had said that their connection had been so natural, he made it sound almost inevitable. It clearly hadn’t been though. It was the circumstances, the thrill of the chase, curing him of his limp and him murdering the cabbie. John had said that he had been in a grey place when they met and Sherlock had brought the colour to his life. John had woken up with the colour already there, a job, a flat, a family. He didn’t need his detective. Not anymore. Would John grow to love him again? Could Sherlock live with it if he didn’t?

He couldn’t answer that question.

He touched his forehead to the cold window pane in front of him and sighed, so that the glass became fogged around him. The cigarette was dying in his fingers and he put it out on the sill. John wouldn’t like that. Well his John wouldn’t like that, his John wouldn’t have let him get away with smoking. He would be wrapped up in his John’s arms right now and wouldn’t need to be smoking in the first place. He sighed again.

“Hey – are you ok?” The words broke his melancholy thoughts and Sherlock could feel the current John’s presence behind him. A hand reached his shoulder and squeezed it in comfort. “I woke up and you weren’t in bed. Are you in your mind castle again?”

Sherlock closed his eyes in defeat “Palace."

“Huh?”

“It’s called a mind palace.” He clarified.

“Oh right....same thing though right? You got something on your mind and you are trying to figure it out.”

Sherlock opened his eyes again and all the energy seemed to leave him. He was tired of pretending that everything was ok and that he could cope with this situation - that the difference between a castle and a palace didn’t matter. He looked at the vague outline of his own face in the window and took another deep breath. “I miss him” he said aloud and he felt some relief with finally admitting this to himself, not only to the fake John that had taken over his husband. “I miss him.” He said again, because now he can.

He turned to face the other man and John stepped back. “Your husband.” He said, because, even though he wasn’t the man he had known, John had never been stupid (despite what Sherlock thought sometimes).

The detective nodded and he felt the lock he had on his emotions start to break “I miss him and I’m tired......I’m fed up of pretending that everything is ok, that I’m ok with living half a life. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to get this to work-“

“So have I”

“Well I thought so too for a while.” John frowned at this, but Sherlock’s feelings were all coming out now and starting to take over him. All he could focus on was the hot, white rage that was suddenly making itself known. “But have you though or are you just looking for a good shag and a cosy home?”

John seemed stunned by this and Sherlock saw anger also rising in his eyes. “How dare you-“

“Do you know what we...what he went through to have this?” He was shouting now and John was silently seething. He couldn’t stop himself, couldn’t help putting all the blame and injustice into this imposter standing in front of him. “No you don’t, you just slept through it all and are reaping the rewards.”

“Oh and your the reward? A lanky bloke with no social skills and a weird job that nobody has ever heard of, yeah a great catch there mate – what any man would dream of!”

The words were like a bucket of cold water to the detective’s heated anger. It was so strange to see the body of the man he loved, (adored, cherished) spouting such awful things about him. It was like the nightmares he had had when he came back from the dead – they were becoming a reality. How had he found himself here - how had he lost almost everything he cared about to be left with a man who said such things?

He finally found the ability to speak. “He would have never said something like that to me.”

“Yeah well maybe he should have. Maybe I am able to say what he really thought now that all the sentimentality and the history is out of the way.” The words were said with such confidence and conviction and there was a smug look on the doctor's face.

It broke Sherlock’s heart.

He was speechless and he grabbed his hair in frustration. This was it, this was the final straw – the man he knew was gone and all he was left with was this ghost to haunt him. He finally pulled his hands away and stood up straight, looking the other man directly in the eye. With as much determination as he had in his being he finally spat out “You are not my John and you never will be!”

The statement stunned them both in to silence and the adrenalin and the fire seemed to seep out of the room, but the tension remained. Sherlock didn’t regret the words, but the conviction in which he had said them was wavering.

After what seemed like an eternity, John finally said “Well then” His tone was clipped and emotionless. “I only checked to see if you were ok, which you clearly are and this other John is going to take himself for a walk, let’s see where it takes me.”

“John I –“ Sherlock tried to interject, as the enormity of what has just happened started to hit home.

“Don’t Sherlock, just don’t.” John snapped, as he grabbed his coat and left the flat in his pyjamas and bare feet.

Sherlock looked on helpless to stop him.

Eventually he turned back to the window, lit another cigarette and watched John’s lonely figure disappear into the mist.

Chapter Text

“Are you wearing a ring?” Lestrade asked disbelievingly.

“Oh yeah.” John replied absently and took a sip of his pint. They were meeting up for a drink at their local.

“You do know that you’re wearing it on your wedding finger right?”

“Well that’s because I’m married.”

John enjoyed watching Lestrade, as he stared at him, his mouth agape. “You do like a bit of drama you two don’t you? You couldn’t have just bloody told me?”

John giggled, “Well I was about to tell you.”

Greg shook his head, “Well I never thought Sherlock Holmes would tie the knot.....Well unless it was to his advantage or to manipulate someone.”

“Neither did I” The doctor admitted. He had been just as surprised as Greg when Sherlock had said he wanted to marry him. “He must have been bored when he suggested it to me.”

Greg laughed “I doubt it somehow.” John blushed and looked down into his pint. Lestrade raised his own pint and said “Congratulations – Sherlock is a lucky man.”

“Yes he is” John laughed, raising his own glass and clinking it with the other man’s “And so am I.”

“Ugh God don’t be sickeningly loved up, us sad singletons can’t cope. Was the ceremony just as bad? You and him staring into each others eyes like the rest of the world didn’t exist?”

John thought of their ceremony, his hands shaking and his eyes misty. He had fumbled his vows and had been a bumbling mess, Sherlock had been calm and collected...the bastard....but the look in his eyes had been everything John had ever wanted to see on his wedding day. “Err there was a bit of eye contact going on.”

Lestrade snorted and gave John his own long stare. “I don’t want to think what his life would have been like if you two hadn’t shared that bloody flat.”

‘I wouldn’t have had one’ John thought, but kept that macabre thinking to himself.

“Where did you go? The registry office?” he asked.

“Yeah, we did. The only appropriate places that we could think of for us to get married were a crime scene, that swimming pool or the roof at St Bart’s. None of those are licensed, so we decided to just keep it simple.” John confirmed. There had just been Mycroft and Finn at the short ceremony and there had been no meal, no best man’s speech and no first dance. Just straightforward love (with a dash of obligation for Mycroft). John wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“I never thought that Sherlock would ever do simple.”

John giggled “I’m a bad influence......and we did spend our wedding night at that murder suicide last week.”

“What’s the plans for the honeymoon? Hunting a serial killer?”

“Don’t give him ideas!” He laughed and then there was a natural lull in the conversation. John rarely talked about his relationship with Sherlock, well except with the man himself and there tended to be more doing than talking with his husband. He looked down into his pint and swirled the remaining liquid around his glass, unsure what to say next.

“You’re happy?” Greg broke the silence. John looked up and saw a concerned glance in his eye.

John sighed. “If you had told me when I came back from Afghanistan that this would be my life, I would never have believed you. That I would be happy chasing around an eccentric detective, who insulted me on a regular basis. That I would marry this man and have a child with him. That our wedding would be shadowed by a case, our lives dictated by dead bodies. I would have laughed and called you crazy....

"I imagined my wedding you know, when I was a kid and a young man. At a church, me in tails and her in a white dress (or a man in matching tails once I discovered that side to myself), big cake, elaborate speeches, all these people there I hardly knew – you know the full shebang. Cheesy disco in the evening and lots of drink and silly fun. Maybe kids would come after, a baby – planned and ours.

"Instead I got Sherlock.....we found our son in a drug den and got married in 5 minutes in the same clothes we had worn the day before. We got a danish to share from the caf and spent the evening dancing around a few corpses.” He paused for effect, realising that what he was about to say were the truest words he had ever spoken. “And I have never been happier in my entire life, never thought being this happy was possible.”

There was a long pause as Lestrade digested the doctor’s words. “I guess sometimes life doesn’t go the way you expect it to.”

“No – thank God!” They laughed and moved on to other topics.

**
After saying goodbye to Lestrade, John made his way home to Baker Street and found Sherlock laying on the sofa in his mind palace. He had already checked that Finn was safely asleep, before he went to the kitchen and flicked the kettle on to make a brew before bed.

He stared at the platinum band on his finger, while he waited for the kettle to boil.

Married. Him and Sherlock were married, willingly and everything. He took the band off and looked at the engraving inside:

To my best friend always SH

Sherlock had surprised him on the day with this little addition to his ring, which didn’t help his nerves. John understood what Sherlock was trying to say. They knew each other better than anyone and still loved each other for it. That their friendship was at the core of everything and that would never falter. Who knew what was round the corner? John had already had so many unexpected twists and turns in his life, mostly for the better, but no matter what his best friend would be by his side – that’s what Sherlock was promising.

He suddenly felt hands massaging his shoulders. “Having second thoughts already?” Sherlock murmured in his ear.

“Never” John answered, as he slid his ring back on “Tea?”

He could feel the other man smirk by his ear. “I have much better plans than tea tonight for you my dear John. We never did get to enjoy our wedding night.”

John giggled and flicked the kettle off, turning in Sherlock’s arms. “Lead the way my dear fellow, I am all yours.”

“Yes you are and don’t you ever forget it.” The detective replied, giving him a swift kiss and pulling him towards their bedroom.

‘Don’t worry I won’t’ John thought, as he laughed and was gladly led to their room.

Chapter Text

John felt groggy as he massaged the kink in his neck. He hadn’t slept very well last night.

“Sorry my sofa isn’t the best” Lestrade offered, as he handed John a mug “And I made you a coffee, thought you might need it.”

“Thanks” John replied, as he took a welcome sip of the hot drink “And thanks for last night – I didn’t know where else to go.”

Greg smirked “You’ve always found your way to my sofa”

“Oh so Sherlock and I used to fight a lot then?” he asked.

“Hmmm it was mainly before you were together. I never asked, but I’m guessing once that happened you made him sleep on the sofa.” He laughed and John tried to smile “But my sofa is always available to you John.”

“Thanks”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Greg asked gently.

“Yes...No....I don’t know” He sighed and tilted his head on the back of the sofa, so he could look at the ceiling. “I’ve woken up in this strange world that I never would have imagined I would be in and I don’t know how to adapt.”

“You know you said that to me once.”

“Huh?” John asked, looking back at Greg.

“It was just after the two of you got married and you said the life that you had found yourself in you could never have imagined......but you also said you were happier than you ever thought you would be.”

John sighed and looked into his coffee, as he processed Greg’s words. “That’s good to know I was happy.....”

“I sense a but coming along”

John stared at him “.....but I don’t know if I can ever be that man again.”

Greg sighed and rubbed his eyes. After a pause he said “Well maybe you need to figure out who you are and what you want.” he said, as he put a comforting hand on John's shoulder. After a pause, he stood up and walked towards the living room door. He stopped at the door frame and looked back at John. “I’m your friend John and I’ll be here for you, but don’t play around with Sherlock’s feelings. He’s an annoying git and the bane of my existence at times, but I care about him and I don’t want to see him hurt anymore than he already is.”

John nodded “Don’t worry I won’t - I know how much I mean to him.”

“You don’t John and that’s the problem.” Greg said with a sad smile and left the room.

**

“I’m sorry” Sherlock stared at his tea, as they sat, quite formally opposite each other at 221B’s kitchen table. John had arrived back home in borrowed flip flops, to a stressed out Sherlock. He had got changed and the detective had made tea.

“I know Sherlock, it was quite an intense situation” John conceded “But we still need to talk about what you said.”

“Why?” the dark haired man asked, exasperated. “We both acknowledge it was an intense situation and I snapped. It’s not like this has been easy. You know enough of me to know that I’m not perfect.”

“I know” John said, his eyes soft “but it exposed what you are feeling and it helped me understand why I feel so inadequate.”

“John-“ but the shorter man held out his hand to halt Sherlock’s sentence.

“If you don’t want to discuss this, let me talk about how I feel.” Sherlock nodded and gripped his mug of tea.

“When you said-“ John stuttered and looked down at his clasped hands. “When you said ‘You’re not my John’, it opened my eyes. It made me realise that since the day I woke up in that damn hospital bed, I have been trying to live up to him. To try to be this man you hold in such high regard. The man who saved your life, more than once. Who forgave you after the worst heartbreak. Who taught you how to love, really love. Who raised a child with you. Who shared a part of you that no one else will ever be privy to” John’s voice broke at this “not even me. The man, who made you into somebody who could deal with a situation like this and take eight months, before you finally break under the strain. And you still don’t want to give up, even now.”

Sherlock looked broken at this “You would never give up and this would be so much more difficult if things had been the other way round.”

“I am just a shell of that man. I may look like him, sound like him and even have some of his habits, but I am not him.” John looked at the ceiling and breathed through his nose “God knows I have tried. I have tried to be the man you want me to be and I have enjoyed a lot of my time here. Sometimes I can’t believe I would ever get this lucky and it turns out, I’m actually not. Because I am not that man and I think it’s clear I never will be.”

“John no-“ Sherlock pleaded, but John’s hand halted his progress once again.

“Please Sherlock let me get this out” he stared into his own mug of tea. “This isn’t easy for me. I wanted this to work, I really did. You know I think you are gorgeous and your deductions...wow...their amazing.” John wore a bittersweet smile “This life we had together seems like something I could be happy doing forever, but his ghost is everywhere. Every time I say the wrong thing or sit in the wrong bloody chair. I can’t live up to a dead man.”

Sherlock made a wretched sound and pushed his chair back, the sound screeching loudly in John’s ears. He stood up and leaned against the kitchen counter. “How can you say that? He is sitting right there. You are him!” He put his hands in his curls, as if he was trying to pull words out of his head. “What I said, I didn’t mean it. I was just having a difficult moment. I’m not perfect and neither are you.”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean neither was ‘My John’” Sherlock air quoted “You did all those things you listed, but you were flawed too. You are stubborn, sometimes completely oblivious and have an unhealthy relationship with chip and pin machines.”

“Sherlock your point?”

“See that!” the tall man pointed excitedly “This fictional version of yourself would have reacted in exactly the same way. Yes there are things I miss or things I wish you remembered, and that’s what last night was about, but you are my John. I know now it is severely unlikely your memories will return and I am more than fine with that.”

“But I’m not” John said firmly, but quietly “I can’t live my life second guessing every move I make. I have given it a good go – the best I could do and I am glad I did. But your outburst made me realise that we are always going to have this cloud over our heads and I can’t live my life like that. I have already lost twelve years, I don’t want to lose any more trying to live a life that’s not mine.”

Sherlock looked stunned at the turn of events. “You’re leaving.”

John nodded “Yes...I will still be a part of Finn’s life. He means the world to me” John looked at Sherlock “And so do you.”

“Then stay” Sherlock whispered “please”

John’s heart broke ‘Don’t cry. Don’t cry’ he told himself. Had he cried in front of Sherlock before? “I can’t and I think somewhere inside of you, you understand. I hope one day you will realise that and we can be friends.”
He could see tears silently running down his husband’s cheeks. The man looked shell-shocked.

Christ what a fucking cock he was.

“I’m glad that this won’t affect your relationship with Finn” Sherlock managed to get out. “I don’t know what to say, except beg you to stay....but above all I love you. Unconditionally. And I want – no I need you to be happy. If this is what will ultimately make you happy, I will let you go.”

John nodded, rendered speechless. He reached for the wedding ring on his finger to take it off. Sherlock’s voice stopped him “And of course I want to be your friend. I want to be in your life, anyway I can be.” God John wished he could remember. “Keep the ring, that’s what it represents – friendship. I will perhaps need a little time, but I do want to be a part of your life and I do mean your life, whatever that may contain for you in the future.”

John nodded, unable to speak. He knew he was doing the right thing. All he needed to do was find the will to stand up and leave. Deep down he had held out a hope that the elusive memories would return. Even until this moment it turns out and as soon as he stands up he will have admitted defeat. The miracle he was waiting for wasn’t going to come.

Somehow he felt his legs moving and he stood up to face the distraught looking Sherlock. “I...I should er... go.”

Sherlock nodded and stood rigid. John could tell he was just about holding it together. “Come here” John said, voice full of emotion. Sherlock shook his head and looked away, as John moved closer and reached for him.

Sherlock sank into his arms.

John held him tightly, breathing him in. Would this be the last time they did this? “Sherlock-“

“No John” Sherlock’s voice was hoarse “Please....enough. If you are going to leave please....do.”

“I’ll be in touch.” John offered, as he kissed the other man’s cheek. Sherlock nodded and gestured with his hand to indicate he should go. John could give him this, he could give him his privacy to fall apart. He turned and walked out of the door, grabbing his coat on the way.

A feeling of emptiness and sadness swept through him, as he made his way out of Baker Street. He swallowed back tears and reassured himself that he had done the right thing.

The John Watson that Sherlock Holmes knew was dead. John had done everything he could to try to bring him back to life, but it was futile.

Now he had to find out who this John Watson was.

Without Sherlock Holmes.

Chapter Text

“Sherlock what the bloody hell are you doing in there?” John called towards the downstairs bedroom at 221B. “In case you haven’t noticed there’s a case – you dragged me out of bed for it!” At the following silence, John sighed and rolled his eyes, before heading back into the kitchen.

He had been standing in the living room, coat on and ready to go and his curly haired detective hadn’t emerged from the bedroom. A text from Lestrade had come in early morning and John had been woken from a lovely deep sleep by a very excited Sherlock ‘Come on John – it’s got to be at least an 8.’ God knows what had happened in the intervening moments and John was too tired to stand around waiting like an idiot.

He reached the doorway of the bedroom and found said detective standing at the back of the room, with a very familiar box in his hands.

A very familiar open box.

That nosy git.

“Sherlock what are you doing with my dog tags?” he asked quite politely, considering the frustration he was feeling. Yet when Sherlock locked shocked eyes at him, his frustration turned into a different feeling altogether.

“John” Sherlock almost moaned.

Jesus this man.

“Sherlock the case” John reasoned.

The other man almost rolled his eyes as if irritated. “It’s only a six.” He dismissed. John felt like pointing it had been an 8 when he had wanted his doctor out of bed this morning. Sherlock preceded to take the tags out of the box “But these are a 10- an 11 even.” His eyes found John’s, alight with wonder and possibility. “When you said you were finally going to move your stuff in here, I didn’t even think about finding these.”

“Well you weren’t meant to find them or go looking through my stuff.” John was trying to take the high ground before he gave in to those lustful eyes. “I give these tags the upmost respect and I wore them with pride. They are not available to fill out your sexual fantasy.”

But Sherlock wasn’t listening “I was just remembering that day at Baskerville, when you pulled rank.”

‘Oh God don’t bring that up’ John internally pleaded.

There eyes were still locked and John wondered if Sherlock could deduce how turned on he was. He probably could, the git.

“You were magnificent. So strong, so commanding – I almost fell to my knees right then and there.”

And John would have had him.

“Sherlock-“ the smaller man started to berate, but it came out deep and breathy.

“Pish posh John – I want you to wear them.” The detective demanded, with bright wide eyes, as he moved closer to John in the doorway of their bedroom
.
John coughed and looked at his feet, a sure sign to Sherlock he was hiding something “Did you-you not hear what I just said?”

“About pride and respect?” he queried, as the doctor nodded. “You are the person I respect most in this world and what I am most proud of in my life.”

John’s heart swelled. He didn’t think he would ever get used to Sherlock saying things like that and being so open.

“And I want you to put these tags on and tell me to do whatever you want me to.” The gorgeous man finished.

John snorted. Annnnd he would never get used to comments like that. Christ he could never refuse this man anything. He licked his lips and looked up. He nodded at the other man, not able to find his voice at this moment.

Sherlock’s eyes widened, as if he couldn’t believe he had won. He edged closer, placing the tags over the shorter man’s head. John felt the weight of them reach his skin; Sherlock fingering the cold metal, as he released himself from them. The soldier grabbed said hand and pulled the taller man towards him. Their lips found each other’s, in a bruising kiss, their passion taking over.

‘God was there a time they didn’t do this?’ filtered through John’s brain.

He could feel Sherlock’s hardness pressed against him and his own was definitely making itself known. He could also feel the tags between them, the metal getting warmer by the minute.

He grabbed Sherlock by his curls and out of the heated snog. “You kinky bastard.” He breathed.

Sherlock smirked and replied. “I’m your kinky bastard.”

John grinned “That’s I’m your kinky bastard Sir to you.” He thought Sherlock’s responding smile would blind him.

Chapter Text

John woke up in a sweat from his dream. For once it wasn’t a nightmare that had set his heart racing.....dog tags....and Sherlock?

Wisps of the dream were floating through his mind, but he couldn’t quite grasp on to them. The arousal coursing through him though certainly confirmed the nature of the dream though. He closed his eyes in frustration, he wished he could remember or at least have finished the dream.

“You ok hun?” he heard a sleepy voice murmur.

He turned to the blonde occupying the bed. “Yeah fine, just woke up from a dream.”

The woman raised her eyebrow, more awake and assessing his current state. “Seems like a good dream, want me to help you with that?”

John’s brain stuttered. On one hand that would be bloody brilliant, but on the other she wasn’t the one who had inspired his current condition and it felt wrong to share it with her. “Err no thanks got an early shift at the hospital tomorrow.” Her disappointment was clear. “I’ll- err -just go the bathroom. You try to get back to sleep.” He stumbled out of bed and found his way to the nearby bathroom.

He splashed water on his face and looked at his reflection in the mirror. Who is John Watson? The doctor still hadn’t been able to figure that out and these dreams were not helping matters.

It had been 9 months since he had left Baker Street and he had been flailing about ever since. He had found a bedsit and lived there for a while, seeing Finn frequently and Sherlock scarcely. That’s when the dreams had started, first about a gun in a drawer and a lonely life. He had wondered if they were memories, but had kept them to himself.

Then he had met Mary Morstan, well they had literally crashed into each other at the hospital. She had been visiting a friend and he had been distracted by a chart. There had been a cooling cup of coffee involved and after the usual British bumbling and apologies, they had arranged a date. All quite clichéd really.

Mary was everything that Sherlock wasn’t and that’s why John liked her. She was polite and had a regular job. She understood social cues and didn’t have dead body parts in the fridge. She also knew nothing about him, couldn’t tell what he was thinking or any of his habits. It had been new, a blank state, a fresh start.

John felt as lost as ever.

John’s lease had been up on the bedsit last month and Mary had suggested he stay with her until he could find something else. She suggested it was better to know now if they could live together and if it worked maybe he wouldn’t need to move out. John thought he must have agreed somewhere along the way, as he looked at their toothbrushes standing proudly together.

He thought back to the dream, he could barely remember it now. Just the feeling of lust and.....Sherlock. The detective had finally asked him to join him on a case today, so maybe that’s what brought it on. John had been so excited to finally share this with him again - maybe Sherlock was ready to see more of John. It didn’t take the other man long however to deduce what his current relationship status was and the rest of the afternoon had been awkward.

John rubbed his face in frustration, he was trying to get back on his feet, but these dreams were plaguing him. He had also had dreams of Finn when he had been a young boy, they did almost feel like memories.... He was seeing Finn after his shift tomorrow, maybe he would ask him about it. It would surely be easier than asking Sherlock about dog tags.

--

John sipped his cardboard cup of coffee and enjoyed the ease of simply walking in the park with his son. It had taken them a while to find that comfort with each other and Finn had been very patient with him.

It was a bit breezy, the wind ruffling John’s grey hair. The park was moderately busy for a Thursday afternoon and there had been a natural lull in conversation.

“So how did Dad take your news about Mary?” Finn asked, seemingly nonchalant.

And now things got awkward.

John coughed and looked at his strolling feet. Finn chuckled “You don’t have to talk about it you feel uncomfortable.”

“I hate how you both can read me like a book.” John admitted, shaking his head.

“But it might do you good to talk to somebody about things. That might stop a situation building up and somebody snapping.”

“And you’re unbiased?” John asked, sceptically.

“Well in a way I am.” Finn countered “I love you both the same and care about you both being mentally sane.”

“Well that’s probably never going to happen.” John smiled.

“Touche” Finn conceded.

There was a moment’s pause, where all they could hear was the crunching of their feet and the ambient sounds around them. Finn took a particularly loud slurp from his coffee.

“It was uncomfortable.” John finally offered. Finn looked to his father, silently encouraging him to continue. “He deduced my news before I had even sat down. He did his best to pretend he was ok with the fact that I am seeing someone.” John might not know Sherlock as well as he used to, but he could recognise when his still husband was putting on a brave face. “I felt so awful.” John shook his head, the emotions were getting to him. “I feel so awful. I feel like I’m cheating on him, I don’t know whether Mary is worth this. I should maybe give him more time.”

“It’s never going to be easy Pops,” Finn interjected “whether you do it now, in a year or in ten years – it’s always going to hurt him. But you need to start living your life.” Finn sighed “It’s not easy for any of us, but we are both really glad you are here. Dad may be a little less happy at the moment, but I don’t even want to think about where we would be if you hadn’t survived that fall. And of course we both love you and want you to be happy.”

John nodded, the emotion was still getting to him.

“How is it that out of the three of us you are the grown up?” He joked, forcing a smile.

Finn replied with a more genuine smile. “I learned from the best.”

John nodded “Thank you. I am very lucky to have you. I must have been a wonderful man to deserve you both.”

“You still are” Finn said “Nobody is perfect Pops, but we love just the way you are.”

“Don’t use my own lines against me Finn.” John laughed as he continued walking along the path. He stopped once he realised his son’s presence was no longer beside him. He turned around and found the younger man had stopped dead on the path, his coffee cup dropped to the ground.

John rushed back to him, leaving his own cup behind. He grabbed his son’s shoulders “Finn what is it?” he asked calmly, but firmly in his Dr Watson voice. The younger man’s eyes searched his own.

“What do you mean your own words? You haven’t said that to me since I was a kid - you remembered!?” he breathed.

John processed what Finn had just said, their eyes still locked on each other's. Panic started to creep in; he had gotten his thoughts mixed up.

The dreams.....were they really memories?

He pulled away from Finn and staggered to a nearby bench. His head slotted into the heels of his hands. Finn broke out of his own stupor and joined him on the bench, his hand reaching out to his father’s shoulder.

“Not everything.” John mumbled, before bringing his head up and finding Finn’s eyes once more. “I don’t remember everything. Just dreams – I wasn’t sure they were real until just now.” He paused trying to formulate a suitable sentence. “I thought they might have been my optimistic subconscious giving me false scenarios. It seems I have mixed one of these moments up with reality.”

“Tell me what you think happened” Finn encouraged eagerly.

John sighed and looked at the ground. “You were much younger, maybe not long after Sherlock and I adopted you. You had had a bad dream and I had come up to your room to hopefully ease you back to sleep. I have a feeling that the nightmare was related to something that had happened in your past, before you met us.” John looked at Finn, who held his gaze and nodded. John felt the same protective feeling he had felt then wash over him. He would do everything within his power to make sure his boy was safe and happy. “I was hugging you to my chest. I think you had been crying and I asked you what had happened in your dream. I suggested that maybe if we talked about it, it wouldn’t be as scary.” John lost his words at this; the memory felt so vivid.

“You were reluctant to talk and I didn’t want to force you, but I wanted to know why you couldn’t tell me. I was hoping we could work on you opening up to us and try to break down the barriers between us. But your next words broke my heart and I felt so helpless. You said ‘If I tell you, you won’t like what I did and then you won’t love me anymore. So I am not going to tell you, because I want to be who I am now, not who I was then.’

Finn’s eyes started to water and John could tell this was real, he didn’t make this up. He grabbed Finn’s free hand and wiped the tears that started to slowly fall down his son’s cheeks. “I told you-“ John’s voice faltered “I told you that nobody was perfect, but we love you just the way you are now and who you were then.”

Finn was full on crying now “Those words changed my life. Do you remember what happened next?” Finn asked, his eyes hopeful.

John shook his head “Like I said, just moments. A lot of it is mangled and woven in to my other thoughts and memories. It was only when you highlighted it that the memory fully came back.”

Finn pulled his father towards him and sobbed onto his shoulder. “It means so much to me that you remembered something and especially that.”

John started to well up himself, as he caressed his son’s hair “I’m happy too.” The euphoria he felt was unparalleled. To share a memory with his son; one that was so emotive and important. To have comforted him in a difficult moment. For his words to have been cherished, for them to have impacted a young boy’s life.

“We need to tell Dad!” And just like that John’s euphoria popped like a balloon. Finn leaned back and looked at John with puppy dog eyes.

“Finn-“ How did he word this delicately? “Please keep this information between us. No Dad, no Uncle Mycroft. I can’t give your father hope, Christ I don’t want to give myself hope. This could be it. This could be all that I remember.”

Finn looked surprised and upset. “But he can help, we can look at ways to get more memories back.”

“Finn, which one of your fathers is a doctor?” John asked sarcastically, Finn rolled his eyes. “Sherlock won’t be able to help, if more memories come back I will make an appointment with my specialist.”

Finn looked at him confused, but remained silent. John tried to pull himself together. “I’m not going to force you to keep this from Sherlock or anybody else, but I am begging you to. If he finds out, it may set back the progress we have made. He will find hope in it and then I will find hope that they will come back. I can’t live my life with that hope, because I have done that already and your Dad’s heart barely survived it.”

John paused and looked at his hands. He didn’t know what else to say.

Finn stood up and John thought he was going to leave, but Finn turned, as he dragged his hands through his unruly mop of hair. “I’m not going to lie.” He started. “If Dad deduces something or asks me a question, I’m not going to lie.” He was confident and firm, his own version of the Dr Watson voice.

“That’s all I can ask” John conceded. Finn nodded and did a big sigh, hanging his head.

“Well life is never boring for the Holmes-Watson family.” Finn concluded.

That was one thing that John was definitely sure of.

Chapter Text

Finn’s eyes were burning a hole into the back of John’s head, he could feel them. Years of being a parent had taught him that particular skill. Funny how a child could teach him more than the army ever could.

He was making them both a sandwich and Finn was sitting at the kitchen table. The teenager had been unusually quiet since John had got home from the case.

Sherlock had begrudgingly agreed to complete the paperwork at the station, so John could release Finn from Mrs Hudson’s watchful eye. Now that he was dealing with a sulky teenager, with something obviously on his mind, he wasn’t sure if he had got the better end of the deal.

The doctor finished the sandwiches and brought them over to the table, before he joined his son to eat. He took a bite of his sandwich, as he watched Finn play with his food. “Do you want to tell me why you have been boring holes into the back of my head since I got home?” At the young boy’s silence he prodded “Is something up son?...Whatever trouble you have got yourself into we can help you, we can sort it.” Finn still didn’t say anything and wouldn’t even look at John now. “I could always give your Uncle Mycroft a call, find out what you have been up to.”

“I don’t think he could help with this” Finn mumbled.

The doctor didn’t know what to make of that. If Mycroft couldn’t help with it then it must be something serious or......something to do with emotions. Ok John could deal with this, Finn had thrown an unending amount of curveballs their way and they now had a teenager in their home, who needed their support. Well maybe it was a good job that John had been the one to come home, as he doubted Sherlock would be much help with ‘normal teenage boy stuff’.

“Well if the almighty Mycroft can’t help – do you want to try me?” He offered.

Finn finally looked at him then and with a deep sigh he said “How do you know when your in love?”

Ah....ok he hadn't been expecting that. When had Finn got old enough to be thinking about love? John wasn't sure he was ready for this conversation. He could see Finn looking at him hesitantly. His son had had the courage to ask, he needed to have the courage to answer. “Hmmm...I don’t know if I am the best person for you to ask that question to. I had been in love with your Dad for years before I realised it. I mean he had to jum-“ he stopped himself from finishing that sentence. They had told Finn the basic details of Sherlock’s time away, but never the finer points, like how John had had to watch him fall to his 'death'.

“It’s ok Dad I have the internet.” Of course he does, so much for trying to protect him from the bad stuff. “That must have been hard for you.”

John nodded stiffly, he felt old wounds reopening over his heart. Despite John forgiving Sherlock, it didn’t hurt any less when he thought on it. Those awful, lonely, desperate and disbelieving months. “I hope you never have to experience anything like it.”

“Me too” Finn conceded and John felt selfishly grateful that Finn didn’t press further.

“But if you take out those extenuating circumstances, I guess I knew I loved him when I figured out we were better together than we were apart. Your father and I don’t complete each other, we aren’t two halves of the same whole, but we are two individual wholes that blend and work together to make a better two. We could survive without each other, but neither of us wants to.” John whispered, his thoughts all coming out at once. He looked at Finn, who was wide eyed and curious. The doctor then realised he was talking to a teenager with his first crush, who probably didn’t need that depth right now. “Or you know he was cute and intelligent and he made me laugh.” He added.

Finn smiled and turned to his sandwich finally. “Thank you Pops, what you said actually made a lot of sense.”

John sighed, relieved – at least he hadn’t ballsed that one up. “Maybe you should ask your Dad.” He suggested, although God knows what Sherlock would come up with, but he can’t be the only one fielding the emotional minefields.

“Actually I already asked him” Finn said nonchalantly.

“Oh?” John said, surprised. “And what did he say?”

“When they make the ordinary extraordinary.” Finn said, smiling. John blushed and looked down at that. Warmth bloomed around his heart and spread through his body. He would never get used to Sherlock and the way he felt about him – maybe that was when you knew.

“Well I don’t know if I do that.”

Finn's smile widened “But you do in Dad’s eyes and that’s all that matters.”

John couldn’t hide his smile this time. “You’re right of course, but how did we end up talking about my love life? We are meant to be talking about yours.”

“Believe me Pops I don’t want to be talking about your love life.”

John laughed “Well do you think you are in love?”

Finn shrugged “I don’t know....I know I like her, but I don’t know if it’s love.” His son paused and started to play with his sandwich again. “It’s not what you and Dad have...and I-....I would rather wait the rest of my life for what you and Dad have than settle for something.....less”

John felt a bit overwhelmed by that. “Err...well...err I am glad we have given you a good example of....love, but you are also only 14 and you know the cute, intelligent and makes you laugh part is also worth giving a shot too.”

Finn smiled. “Ok Pops.” He stood up and headed to go upstairs. He turned and stopped at the doorway on his way out. “But I’ll let you know when I find it. When I find a love like yours.” He said it with such conviction that John’s heart soared. They had given him that strength and belief in himself and in love.

Who knew it could happen? Sherlock and John examples of a healthy relationship.

He must have been sat in his own little world for a while, as he has broken out of his reverie by a hand on his shoulder and a kiss on his forehead.

“You seem lost in your own mind palace my dear.” Sherlock’s voice rumbled against his temple.

John blinked and looked up at his husband. “I love you.” He whispered.

The detective cupped his cheek and tilted his face towards his own. “You had an emotional moment with Finn.” He deduced. John nodded. “He told you about how I knew I was in love.” Another nod. “Yet you already knew that my dear doctor.”

John nodded once more. “It’s different hearing it from someone else’s perspective. We have set a good example for him Sherlock.”

“Oh good let’s tell Mycroft, I love proving him wrong.” Sherlock smiled and John mirrored the expression.

“There’s still chance to get it wrong.”

“I expect there is, but we will make it right again.” Sherlock assured him.

“Because we love each other?”

“Because we have connections.”

John snorted and laughed, the moment broken. Sherlock smiled and swooped down to kiss him, stopping him mid laugh. The kiss was soft and long and full of mirth. John revelled in it.

The detective pulled away and rested their foreheads together, his hand still cupping John’s cheek. “We will get it right because we love each other.” He confirmed “All three of us.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock was watching the kettle boil, as he listened to Finn carry on about Rachel – his girlfriend. When had their boy become old enough to have a girlfriend?

He was going to meet Rachel for the first time today, she was coming over to Baker Street to have lunch with him and....John (and Finn of course). Sherlock hadn’t had much contact with the doctor since their argument that had ended with John leaving Baker Street. The detective was still....adjusting.

He doesn’t remember much of what happened after the door slammed, just crumbling to the floor and being woken hours (days?) later by a concerned Finn. It had been tough going.....adjusting to being Sherlock Holmes without John Watson. He had lived for decades without the other man, it couldn’t be that hard right? They would still be friends, so it wasn’t like he was completely losing his husband. He had promised John that they would always be friends, even if only one of them remembered that promise.

This adjustment had involved a lot of cigarettes, tears, anger and not much else. He received daily visits from Finn with food and demands to go to sleep. Despite Sherlock’s protestations, Finn wouldn’t have it that his body was only transport and that he needed more than the 40 cigarettes he was smoking a day. The detective had snapped that if Finn had anything harder available, he would be more than happy to take it. Finn’s eyes had gone cold at that and Sherlock had felt the chill in his veins, immediately regretting his words. Before he could stutter out an apology, Finn beat him to it.

“Is that what you want Dad? A hit? Because if that’s the case I can sort that out for you. Gary’s name still holds favour and there’s a lot of people who would scratch my back if I scratched theirs.”

Sherlock looked horrified at his son. “Finn....no of course...I would never-“

“Oh so are you going to find it elsewhere? I would rather I got you some decent stuff rather than the watered down shit that your homeless network can get for you. At least I would know you were getting something pure and worth it.” He walked closer to his father, as his face started to break with emotion. “Do you want me to Dad? Because I would you know, if you asked me too, because I love you. I did it for him, for Gary – you know my first father, because I loved him and for a long time that’s what I thought love was. Doing things that tore my soul apart, because that’s what you did when you loved someone. You and Pops gave me hope to believe in something more and have given me so much love without me doing anything in return. So if you need me to do this for you I will.”

His son was crying now and Sherlock’s heart broke all over again. Without a doubt the detective knew that he was being sincere and in that moment he had realised how much power Finn had given him over his own heart. Sherlock pulled Finn into his arms, as his son cried. “I’m sorry Finn, you know I would never ask that of you and despite my words before I would never hurt you by taking drugs again...ever.”

The other man pulled away and “Then don’t say shit like that to me Dad. Don’t joke about it. I can’t stand to see you like this, so eat some bloody food and I am staying here until you get some bloody sleep.” He wiped his nose and stomped into the kitchen. Sherlock had felt suitably chastened and had picked up his phone to text John. It seemed like he wasn’t the only one who was adjusting and if building his relationship with his husband would help Finn get some normalcy back into his life, he would do all he could to make that happen.

Which is how he had found himself agreeing to have lunch with Finn’s girlfriend and John. He had had the emotional maturity to ask Finn to not invite John’s new girlfriend Maureen to the meal (that he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to adjust to). Him and John however had been speaking more, had gone on a few cases together and were slowly building back to that easy comradery they had always had. The detective had missed it. If he forgot about the blond hairs on his coat, the women’s perfume in the air and that ‘well shagged’ look on John, he could almost pretend things were back to ‘normal’.

“Dad?!” he heard Finn say exasperatedly.

“Yes?” he replied as he turned to face his son.

“Have you been listening to anything I said?” Sherlock looked blankly at him and Finn groaned in frustration. “Dad! This is important!” the young man looked stressed and wound up. The detective deduced that he was nervous about the lunch.

Sherlock giggled and that earned him a death glare. “The last time I saw you like this was when you were trying to explain how important Harry Potter was and you were frustrated that I wouldn’t take the Pottermore test about which house I was in.”

Finn rolled his eyes, but there was a smile creeping on his face. “You are obviously a Slytherin, I don’t know why I needed you to take the test.” The tension in him seemed to deflate and he took a seat at the kitchen table. He sighed and said “But unlike my youthful obsession...” Sherlock looked at him in scrutiny “Ok my ongoing obsession with Harry Potter, today is important. I’m nervous and I want you to like her and I want her to like you and.....” Finn looked up at his Dad then “She’s been through some stuff and you are going to see it the moment she walks in. I don’t want you to stop being you and she knows who you are, so it’s not like she won’t be expecting it......but if you deduce something that you wouldn’t want someone knowing about me without me telling them myself....would you.....would you keep it to yourself?”

The detective was a little taken aback by Finn’s request - he would of course agree to it, but.... “She’s important to you.” Finn looked away. No wonder he was nervous he was in love. Now Sherlock was nervous – what if Rachel didn’t like him? He hadn’t ever really cared what people thought of him, it was an alien feeling.

Finn finally looked back at him and said “She makes the ordinary extraordinary.” There was a beat of silence and then it was the detective’s turn to look away.

That was an emotional punch to the gut, he had described love that way to his son years ago. And John had said...“And together you don’t complete each other, but are a better two?” he quipped towards the kettle, as he carried on making their tea. “You could survive without her, but you don’t want to?”

He heard Finn hum in agreement. “Pops told you what he told me about love all those years ago? I’m surprised you remember.”

Sherlock closed his eyes in resignation – how could he forget? John had been talking about him, about them. He finally turned round with their tea and joined his son at the table. “Well one of us has to.” He pointed out.

“Sorry that was insensitive”

He smiled and clinked their mugs together. “You get that from me.” He joked and Finn laughed. “Although you are using your parents as your example of love, hopefully your relationship won’t follow ours exactly.”

Finn seemed to consider his point for a moment and then held his father’s hand. “I would take your story over not having it at all.”

Sherlock smiled sadly and held on tighter. “Don’t let your Uncle Mycroft hear you saying that, he would have a heart attack.”

Finn laughed “Hmm I don’t know I think he is adjusting to this caring for people business, him and Greg are going strong.”

The detective pulled a face and did a whole body shake “Ugh please don’t remind me.” Finn giggled and Sherlock was glad that the tension had eased away from his son.

“So will you keep your deductions to yourself?” He asked again.

“Of course and John and I will be on our best behaviour.”

“Ok let’s not expect too much.” Finn joked. “But you and Pops.....” his face looked hopeful “....you’re doing ok? Especially with the whole girlfriend thing?”

The ‘whole girlfriend thing’ was tearing him up from the inside out. “I appreciate you not inviting Martha tonight.”

Finn rolled his eyes. “Dad you know her name is Mary and of course I would never do that to you. I won’t even invite her to the wedding of we ever get married if you don’t want me to.”

Sherlock’s heart warmed at that “And you won’t love her more than me?”

Finn rolled his eyes again, but gripped his hand tighter. “Never and you know it.”

The detective smiled “Yes I do, but it’s always nice to hear it.”

His son looked sad at this and leaned forward to place a kiss on his father’s forehead. “I love you.”

Sherlock looked away, embarrassed by his silly need to feel loved in all this when he had never doubted it from Finn. “I love you too.” He said quickly and quietly. “Right well you have a ‘whole girlfriend thing’ of you own to deal with today – when is she arriving?”

Finn started to get a bit flustered again, as he went into lots of detail about how Rachel would be getting there. It was strange to see his son so undone, it seemed like he had more than his own romantic life to adjust to....he was about to gain a daughter in law.

Chapter Text

“Hullo” John said to Sherlock, as he walked through the door at Baker Street. His detective was in his chair, looking edible in a suit, his legs crossed and fingers steepled under his chin. Despite John’s lethargy, he would be very much in the mood to enjoy those long legs and fingers. Hopefully Sherlock would be in a similarly good mood “Case go well?” he tried to nonchalantly enquire.

“You would have known if you had been there.” Sherlock groused.

John turned round to look at him, as he finished hanging his coat up. He was slightly surprised by the other man’s tone. “I was working.”

“Not from where I was standing.”

“What do you mean? Were you at the hospital?”

“Of course I was at the hospital John – I came to tell you about the case, to see you – I don’t know share my day with you, as you were sooo busy working and couldn’t possibly spend time with your husband.”

John was shocked at Sherlock’s words, they were fulfilling every married cliché at the moment and who knew that would ever happen with Sherlock Holmes as one half of the equation. Admittedly they were about to argue about murder cases and A&E shifts instead of missing dinner and staying too long at the pub, but still...

“And I wasn’t there...”

“Oh no you were there alright, I saw you as you were about to leave with Sarah.” He almost spat her name and the doctor was amazed that he had said it right.

He frowned at the other man. “Yes I went to grab some food with Sarah after my shift – I don’t understand why that’s an issue, I knew you would be wrapped up in the case.”

“Like you were wrapped up in her?”

“Excuse me?!” he could feel his Captain Watson voice permeating every word.

“What else could you be doing? Why would you choose to go out with her instead of joining me on the case?”

John couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “You had called me about the case hours ago – I thought you would have solved it and moved on to the next one. Why did you come to the hospital anyway?”

“Frustrated about getting caught?” Sherlock mocked.

John’s temper reached another level at those words. “I swear to God Sherlock if you insinuate one more time that I slept with Sarah this afternoon I will walk out that door and I can’t promise how long it will be before I come back.”

That seemed to silence the detective, but his mouth was twisted in frustration.

“How could you think I would do that?” John finally whispered loudly – his anger still simmering under the surface.

Sherlock unfurled himself physically and flounced out of his chair to stand up. He made a dismissive movement with his hand “Oh I didn’t really think that you had slept with her.”

“Then what’s with this performance Sherlock?”

“Performance?” Sherlock asked, incredulous “Do you think this is an act? That I want to be this.....emotional?”

John furrowed his eyebrows “Well I would say dramatic.”

Fury seemed to rise on Sherlock’s face “Oh please do explain how I should react when I see my husband being pawed at by a beautiful woman, laughing and joking, when he doesn’t want to spend time with me.”

John paused at this comment and some of the anger started to seep out of him “Sherlock are you.....jealous?”

The taller man looked at him incredulously “Is that so hard to believe?”

John laughed humourlessly “Well yes.”

“Oh so it’s ok for you to loose your head every time The Woman sends me a text message, but if I get upset when you ditch me for your ex then that’s unbelievable.”

John’s heart was pumping faster, as his adrenalin built – this was turning into an actual argument. “You have always been mesmerised by Irene Adler and she is obviously obsessed with you.”

“You have had sex with Sarah!” the detective almost shouted. “She knows you intimately and she still makes you smile like that. How is it unusual for me to feel jealous of that?”

“Because you are Sherlock Holmes!”

“What does that mean? If you say I am married to my work – I’ll be the one walking out the door – because in case you haven’t noticed I am married to you now my dear doctor.” He spat the usual endearment.

“Of course I have bloody noticed Sherlock and shouldn’t that mean something to you – don’t our vows mean trust and fidelity.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to like or fancy me anymore. You flirt with every woman we meet – the lady at the bakery, the landlady at the pub, Finn’s teacher! Is that a sign that you miss it?”

“Miss what?”

“Being with a woman.”

Ok now they were getting somewhere, John thought, but his blood was still pumping and he wasn’t backing down anytime soon. “Do you?” he countered.

“That’s not fair John, you know I have little experience and what I do have is a drug fuelled haze.” The volume of his voice was rising. “You wanted to be with Sarah and all those other simpering girlfriends and your nickname is Three Continents Watson! You loved-“

“The only person I have ever been in love with is you.” John’s voice was firm and almost cold, so he could get through to Sherlock. The detective was stunned into silence at this. John took a step closer, determined to get through to his stubborn husband.

“I didn’t know that.” Sherlock whispered.

There was a long silence and the tension between them turned into something else. Finally John spoke “Do you know what I was thinking about as I came through the door just then? After spending the evening with a beautiful woman, who was ‘pawing’ at me?” the other man shook his head. “How much I wanted you to ravish me.”

Sherlock gulped at this. John continued “I wanted your legs wrapped around me.....” Him and Sherlock were almost touching now. “And I love it when you look at me over your steepled fingers, I always want you to put them-“ His husband cut him off with a kiss at this and started pulling off John’s ever present woollen jumper. He was relentless and a force of nature in his pursuit and John was more than happy to be pursued. Not long after he found himself on the floor, Sherlock over him – ok yeah make up sex he was totally down for that.
---
Afterwards they were both lying side by side on the living room floor, half dressed. John was covered in love bites and Sherlock’s lips were swollen from kissing. The doctor was trying to get his breath back, when he felt Sherlock’s fingers tentatively link with his – an acknowledgement of the proceeding fight.

“I overreacted” the detective conceded, it was about as much of an apology that John would get.

“I like the results of you overreacting.” He joked and he could see in his peripheral the other man’s half smile at this.

“You never answered my question” Sherlock pointed out.

John couldn’t pretend he didn’t know what he was referring to. How could he answer that question without it coming across the wrong way? “I am not going to lie and say that I didn’t enjoy sex with women.....but just because you are a man doesn’t mean I miss sex with women. What you and I have fills my life and I have never had that before, so in my eyes there is nothing to miss, because anything else would feel lacking....empty whether that be with a woman or a man.”

“Don’t add the possibility of other men into the mix – I’ll be getting jealous of Lestrade next.”

“I think your brother would have something to say about that.”

“Eww don’t mention him when we are naked.”

John giggled and then turned his face to look at Sherlock side on. “I am sorry that I was insensitive before – I didn’t realise you would feel jealous in that way about me spending time with Sarah.”

The other man blushed. “I see how ridiculous it seems now, but I do feel it. Of course I know you would never be unfaithful, but you could fall out of lust with me. I mean you practically had the same suspicion when I tried to propose......I guess I got frustrated that it was ok for you to feel it, but it was ridiculous if I did.”

John was surprised at the detective’s words. “I understand and I will try to be more aware of it in future.” John paused and looked at their joined hands. “It was the shift I had had, that’s why I didn’t join you on the case.” Sherlock turned fully on his side at this admission and John mirrored the action, their hands still joined. “There was a young boy brought in, not much older than Finn when we first adopted him. He had....overdosed.” Sherlock’s eyes widened slightly at this in acknowledgement.

“We couldn’t save him, despite everything we tried and I sat by his bedside, waiting for his guardians to arrive and staring at his lifeless form. I thought this could have been Finn, I could be this boy’s parent keeping one final vigil at his bedside or worse it could have happened to Finn and I would never have known. If things had been different, if you had never found him, if I had never suggested it, if you and I had never admitted-“

“If Irene Adler had never sent that text and made you jealous..” Sherlock quipped, as he stroked John’s hair in comfort.

“Yes!” John smiled and let out a relieving chuckle. “We might not have our family.”

“You would have married someone else and I would have done something a bit not good and been sent somewhere where no one could find me –“

“And Finn would have been without us.”

“And we would be without Finn.”

John had gotten a little teary. “I couldn’t face going to a crime scene and seeing a corpse and I knew if I saw you I would talk about it and I wasn’t ready. So I went out with Sarah for some inane chatter and distraction.”

“Hiding from your emotions how very Sherlock circa 2010.” John chuckled again, a few tears rolling down his cheek.

Sherlock spoke again. “I’m sorry you came home to a jealous housewife.”

John giggled this time “I don’t know if I am too bothered - it worked out quite well for me.” Sherlock smiled. “You have nothing to worry about though. There is no one else – I will always choose you.”

Sherlock kissed him in response. “Me too, even when I have a moaning dominatrix on my phone.”

“Oi! That’s not funny.” John laughed, as he pinned Sherlock to the floor for round two.