An hour and one stomach churning trip later, John found himself in a magnificent hallway with a large staircase that split and went to either side of a large upstairs. Everything was oak and carved and incredibly beautiful and John was more than a little impressed.
"Wow," he said, without the slightest hint of embarrassment.
"Funny," Draco said, "that's what Harry said the first time I brought him home as well."
"And surprisingly not what Draco said when he first saw my flat," Harry replied with a smile.
"I think I am glad I was unconscious when you arrived at Baker Street," John said and was pleased to note that Sherlock actually appeared to be looking around.
Draco just lifted an aristocratic eyebrow, but finally smiled.
"Come on," Draco said and led them towards the stairs, "I'll show you to your rooms."
As it turned out, by rooms Draco meant suite, rather than a room each and possibly a bathroom. There were two bedrooms, not that John thought he was going to be anywhere but at Sherlock's side for a while yet, a sitting room and a very large bathroom. It was bigger than their whole flat put together, so John explored once Draco left them to settle in.
"Blaise had that room," Sherlock said and made John stop everything he was doing.
"What?" he asked, turning and walking over to where Sherlock was standing and looking around.
"When I stayed here," Sherlock said, sounding as if he was a little lost in the memory, "Blaise had that room, I had this one."
That Sherlock was talking was wonderful, but John didn't want to get over excited.
"Then we'll take that one," he decided and gently pointed Sherlock in the right direction.
He actually received a look for that and there was just a hint of the real Sherlock under the changes going on.
"You're suffering from severe PTSD," he told him firmly, "I've been there, so don't think I'm leaving you alone any time soon."
Sherlock made no more move to protest, so John took him inside and began to unpack.
"My thoughts are slow," were the next words that stopped what he was doing.
That seemed to confuse Sherlock if the look on his face was anything to go by.
"Given that you are re-assimilating ten years of memories that's not really surprising," John said and gave what he hoped was a comforting smile. "Mycroft said you were catatonic for months while you separated them all off, so you might have to put up with being only twice as fast of the rest of us for a little while."
Sherlock frowned, but appeared to accept his reasoning and John was suddenly reminded of what he was carrying. He had taken to putting Sherlock's wand inside his shirt, tucked into the waistband of his trousers.
"I have something for you," he said and went to reach for it, "Mycroft gave it ..."
He stopped as Sherlock's eyes went wide with alarm.
"No," Sherlock said in a broken voice, turning away, "can't ... don't ..."
Leaving the wand right where it was, John crossed the distance between himself and Sherlock and placed a hand on his friend's back, stroking in slow circles.
"It's okay," he said calmly and gently, "you're safe, there's nothing to worry about."
Sherlock was shaking, clearly stuck somewhere between reality and memory and John just continued talking in a low, soft tone until the tremors began to die down. He remembered the terror, the panic attacks, the flashbacks and he was going to help Sherlock through it all.
During the hours of darkness there were night terrors and during the day there were moments when Sherlock was definitely not seeing just the real world, but bit by bit, Sherlock was coming back. Draco was still monitoring them both for any form of magical backlash, but John at least was perfectly fine. Sherlock had the occasional incident when he would wake up from a particularly bad nightmare and things would move or shake, but that was it. When, on day five, Sherlock jumped up from the breakfast table and dashed off just after John had filled a plate for him, John had no chance of keeping up. Malloy Hall was huge and it took him ten minutes to find where Sherlock had gone, but rather than a flashback or something else, John felt a thrill of excitement run through him; Sherlock was investigating.
"What are you looking for?" he asked as Sherlock wandered around the library looking at books.
There were in fact three libraries in the house, the large library where Sherlock was currently nosing around, the small library and what Draco referred to as the smoking room.
"Great Uncle Marius," Sherlock said in an absent tone.
"Anything I can do?" he asked, since that was what he usually did.
Strangely, Sherlock actually turned towards him then, stopping what he was doing, a kind of uncertain expression on his face. Sherlock had always been so certain about everything, that it was unsettling, because this was almost the Sherlock he remembered, rather than the recovering man.
"I think," Sherlock said, clearly unsure himself, "that I need to do this on my own."
John's first instinct was to tell his friend that he couldn't, but he didn't. It felt wrong to leave Sherlock to his own devices, but he knew he had to. The thing was, the last few days had shown him that he seemed to instinctively know if Sherlock was in trouble now, not something he was questioning, so he could come running if necessary.
"I understand," he said and forced a smile, even though he was already feeling a little anxious, "but I will come and find you if you don't come down for lunch."
Sherlock just nodded and John was pretty sure he would be chasing all over the house looking for his friend come noon. It took a lot for him to walk away, back to the breakfast room, but somehow he managed it.
"Sherlock okay?" Harry asked as soon as John walked in.
"Fine," John replied with a smile and hoped it looked real, "he's investigating."
"What exactly?" Draco asked, sounding slightly worried.
"Great Uncle Marius," John replied and Draco instantly relaxed, laughing.
"Well if anyone can find the hoard, Sherlock can," Draco said and buttered himself another slice of toast.
Harry handed Draco the jam without even being asked and it struck John as so completely domestic. He couldn’t help wondering if he and Sherlock had picked up such habits, just being flatmates.
"So," John found his curiosity getting the better of his British politeness gene, "how long have you two been together?"
"Since Harry grew up and realised blokes were way better than girls," Draco said with an unrepentant smile and Harry blushed beautifully.
It seemed that that was a bit of an in joke by the looks of things.
"You didn't grow up in a horribly repressed suburban home," Harry said, looking embarrassed. "I only found out the facts of life because Arthur Wesley sat me down with Ron."
Draco laughed and John couldn't help smiling.
"Don't the powers that be frown on couples working together?" he asked, finding the pair fascinating.
"One of the few advantages of Harry being who he is," Draco said and patted Harry's hand in what John thought was a familiar gesture of solidarity; "no one would dare try and separate us. Harry actually caused a bit of a revolution by coming out; a few years ago our society was not so keen on being openly gay. It was okay behind closed doors, but not something one spoke about in polite society."
"I think you might have helped on that score as well," Harry said, cheeks still lightly pink.
"Good for you both," John said and gave then a salute with his tea cup.
His previous plate had been whisked away, but a new one appeared in front of him and the smells coming from it made his mouth water.
"And you and Sherlock," Harry said in a bit more of a hesitant tone, "are you ..?"
"Just flatmates," John said, finding himself completely unbothered by the question for the first time, "and very good friends."
He looked down at his eggs and bacon.
"For now," he added, because he seemed to need to.
It was all a bit confusing; he was having trouble figuring out exactly what he wanted. He felt do incredibly close to Sherlock like he hadn't to another person, not even his family, but he wasn't sure where he wanted that to lead.
"Good luck figuring that out," Draco said and seemed completely genuine about it.
"Your father is being poisoned," Sherlock announced as he walked into the dining room where John and the others had been eating for ten minutes already; Sherlock was no more punctual to meals as a guest than he was at home.
John had known Sherlock was investigating something; it was part of what had brought Sherlock back to life, but he had had no idea it was this serious. This definitely didn't seem to have anything to do with Great Uncle Marius.
Draco appeared shocked.
"How did you even know my father was ill?" was the immediate question.
John was surprised when Sherlock gave Draco a look as if assessing if it was a real enquiry or not, usually Sherlock just assumed no one would understand his reasoning. Clearly Draco Malloy was not in the same bracket at the rest of humanity.
"When we arrived you acted like a resident not a visitor," Sherlock said eventually, walking in and taking the seat which had been set for him. "Since your room shows signs of still being that of a much younger man and you have clearly been cohabiting elsewhere with Harry for years, I concluded you moved back in for some reason. When the study showed signs of being used as a sick room, it was obvious your father has been ill and you moved back to nurse him. I assume he used the study before he became so weak that he was confined to the master bedroom permanently. Geneva has the most advanced clinic for the treatment of magical wasting diseases in the world, hence Switzerland."
It always seemed so logical when Sherlock said it, not that anyone else would have been able to put the pieces together like Sherlock did. John was concerned about Draco's father of course, but he could not help being pleased at seeing the life back in Sherlock's eyes.
"He was tested for all known poisons," Draco pointed out next.
"Of course," Sherlock replied, surveying the food on the table as if actually contemplating eating something, which would be a first without John forcing him, "but not lilatrope."
"Lilatrope is not poisonous to humans," Harry said with a frown on his face, but John saw something else flitter across Draco's expression.
He had no idea what lilatrope was, but clearly a connection had been made in Draco's head. Sherlock just inclined his head to his one-time friend and allowed Draco to explain if he wished. Not usually behaviour for Sherlock at all, but then John was well aware Sherlock had gained a few layers when his memory came back.
"But it is to Veela," Draco said and John could almost see the cogs turning behind Draco's pale eyes. "I knew my father was lying. When I was a teenager I became aware I was not quite the same as other boys, so, of course, I researched it."
John would have asked his parents, but clearly certain people didn't work that way.
"I thought I might have found traces of Veela blood in the Malloy line, but when I asked my father he denied it completely. He even produced an alternative explanation," Draco explained and sounded as if he couldn't believe he had fallen for it. "Who is poisoning my father?"
There was no question that Sherlock was right of course and John found that satisfying for some reason he couldn't quite put his finger on.
"The perpetrator is Tilly, your father's favourite house elf," Sherlock told them all and then for the first time there was doubt on Draco's face.
John was intrigued.
"How?" was the almost demanded inquiry.
"She has been under a curse for some months," Sherlock said as if it was obvious; "the other house elves have been worried that she might have been abusing Butterbeer. Of course she was chosen very carefully; the instigator knew that she would be the one your mother would take with them when your father travelled for treatment."
Harry was looking confused, which made John feel less left out at least.
"The magic which binds a house elf to a family cannot be corrupted by a curse," Harry said, clearly puzzled by the deductions; "it is a fundamental principle."
"A view encouraged by a government who keep many things secret," Sherlock replied with bland smile. "The instigator of this crime is an Unspeakable, a department which has long had the ability to circumvent many firmly held beliefs stated as fact. She, it is definitely a woman, believes that all ex-Death Eaters should be executed, or at least her second personality does, and she has very patiently planned the demise of every single one. You, Draco, are showing the early signs of lilatrope poisoning as well; clearly you were to follow your father."
The way Draco glanced down at his plate would have been funny if the situation had not been so serious.
"Second personality?" John asked, since that was the part which had caught his attention.
"Someone with such a psychosis could not have made it through the rigorous screening for Unspeakables unless it was completely hidden," Sherlock said and appeared to think that that should have been clear to everyone in the whole room. "This person was a child during the first rise of Thomas Ridel, which was when the split would have occurred. They must have been through considerable trauma at a young age for their personality to fracture; probably the death of a loved one by Death Eaters that the child witnessed. Their alternate persona has been planning the campaign to wipe out all Death Eaters for many years."
That seemed to be all Sherlock wished to convey, because he picked up a roll, filled it with some ham and cheese and then stood up again.
"Do you mind if I investigate the fireplace in the small library?" Sherlock asked in a bland tone. "It should be hiding the vault where your great great great great Uncle Marius hid a quarter of the family fortune five centuries ago. It's either there or your mother's upstairs drawing room."
Then Sherlock was off without even bothering to wait for a reply. John made a split second decision and grabbed a roll as well and stuffed what was left of his lunch into it.
"I'll make sure he doesn't destroy anything," he said with an apologetic shrug and then chased after his friend; no doubt Draco and Harry could deal with making sure Draco and his father were treated for the poisoning and the right authorities would chase down the rogue Unspeakable.
On the face of it he had the more difficult job; he had to stop Sherlock from getting into trouble.
John followed Sherlock into their room and hoped they weren't treading too much soot into the carpet. There had indeed been a vault behind the fireplace full of more gold and silver than John had ever seen even when he visited the crown jewels with a school trip that one time. It had taken them several hours to get the vault open, having found a complex lock, completely non-magical, which was why no one had ever found it, that Sherlock had relished picking. They were both covered in soot, because they had been literally in the chimney.
"Merlin's beard, we must have been more loaded back then than we are now!" had been Draco's reaction when he had come to find them.
They were supposed to be cleaning up for supper, but as John watched Sherlock walk across the room, he made a decision. The confidence was back in his friend's stride and he could see the joy of deduction in Sherlock's every move. It was not quite the same as it had been before, but it was there and that made it time. He reached into his shirt and pulled Sherlock's wand from its hiding place.
"Sherlock," he said, walking up behind the other man.
Something must have alerted Sherlock to what he intended, either the tone of his voice, or the change in atmosphere, or possibly Sherlock had just seen him in a reflective surface, but there was tension in Sherlock's body almost instantly.
"I don't want it," Sherlock said without turning.
"You need it," John replied, totally sure of his position on this. "You are a wizard, Sherlock, you need your wand. You don't have to use it for anything big, just make sure your magic doesn't decide to burst out again. I'm not channelling it a second time, because heaven knows what I'd end up then and I'm not retraining to be a wizard at my age."
That at least made Sherlock turn round and what was even more remarkable was that John could see guilt in Sherlock's eyes. Sherlock did not do guilt, but it seemed he was for what he had done to John, not that John thought he needed to.
"You've been missing a part of yourself," he said gently, seeing the fear hidden behind the blank stare Sherlock was giving him, "and you need to take it back. Now I don't expect you to be any different from your normal high functioning sociopath you, but I do expect you to clean the kitchen when you make a mess of it, because now you can do it with a quick couple of spells."
He gave Sherlock a smile, trying to make the situation seemed lighter than it was, and held out the wand. For a little while they were stuck like that, a tableau with him holding the wand by its tip and Sherlock just looking at it, but eventually Sherlock slowly reached out. The long fingered hand that was usually playing the violin or pick pocketing Lestrade was actually shaking, so John just held very still. When Sherlock finally took hold of the wand John felt a thrill run through him, a bit like an electric shock and he let go, leaving Sherlock holding it by himself.
Once again it was like a tableau; Sherlock stood there stock still, eyes on the magical tool. It was as if he was assimilating it and John almost jumped out of his skin when Sherlock suddenly moved, pointed the wand at a cupboard and said something that John was pretty sure was not Alohorama, but was pretty close. The cupboard door popped open and Sherlock just stared at it, then the wand, then the door again for a while. Eventually Sherlock finally turned back to John.
"Thank you," Sherlock said simply and John smiled.
Sherlock had a long way to go to deal with the trauma he had suffered, but John could not help but be pleased at such a significant step.
"You're welcome," he said, genuinely happy, "just, please, please, don't use it to cause even more havoc."
That comment even earned him a small smile from Sherlock.
"Now," he said, before things could get awkward, not that he wasn't good at awkward situations now, thanks to having been sleeping in the same bed as Sherlock for nearly a week, "we need to clean up or Draco will have the house elves after us."
He turned and surveyed the room, trying to decide the best way to proceed. It was probably better to take off all the sooty clothes before they could make a mess of the rest of the room and then deal with using the bathroom and finding something new to wear. When a hand touched his shoulder, he automatically turned back and he found Sherlock was standing directly in his personal space.
"John," Sherlock said, looking at him very intently.
"Sherlock," he replied, a little unsure of what was going on.
Then Sherlock was leaning down towards him and his brain caught up with what was happening when lips touched his own, at which point, much to his frontal lobe's shock, he started kissing back. Sherlock's long arms wound around him and he found himself being pulled in close and then they were kissing as if their lives depended on it. It was a very heady experience, second only to having a whole load of magic grounded through you as far as John was concerned, and he didn't have enough sensible brain function to think about what they were actually doing for several minutes.
Of course, not even his brain, dwarfed in intellect as it was by Sherlock's, could stop thinking forever, at which point he couldn't help analysing a little. Yes he and Sherlock had been sharing a bed, but that had been all about comfort, not sex, and this was definitely very much about sex. His whole body was screaming that particular message at him. He'd had vague feelings of attraction to the male of the species before, giving him a clue that he might in fact be bisexual, but he'd never let it become anything. He'd always preferred women, but then Sherlock had made him smash through several preconceived notions he had had of himself anyway, so what was one more.
"You want to ... ummm ..?" he asked and nodded towards the bed as soon as they came up for air.
Since his hormones were being rather loud about what they wanted, he was in no doubt that he would rather Sherlock was naked. Sherlock gave him a very wicked smile.
"I think perhaps a bath first," was Sherlock's amused response.
In his enthusiasm, John realised he had forgotten about the soot.
"Want to wash my back for me?" he asked, feeling a little like a teenager who had just discovered sex.
"Of course, John," Sherlock said, voice deep and sexy, "it must be very hard to reach everywhere with the movement in your shoulder reduced even a small percent."
John hadn't even realised that Sherlock knew what sexy was, let alone could pull it off like that and it blew his mind a little. Of course, it was possible the Sherlock he had been living with hadn't known, just another part of his psyche, cut off, but John put those thoughts away for later. When Sherlock started to undress him, he went with it and reciprocated; it seemed the only thing to do.
In the end they missed supper completely.
Sherlock almost seemed like his old self in the morning; sharp, animated and almost happy in his rather unique Sherlock type way. Their sleep had been disturbed, but Sherlock was still assimilating all the information he had previously forgotten, so John had not surprised. When he walked out of the bathroom, having gone in to brush his hair, he found Sherlock sitting on the bed just looking at his wand.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked, sitting down beside the man who was now his lover.
He was well aware the answer might be no, but he had to offer. When he had been sent home he hadn't wanted to talk about it, but the psychiatrist whose job it had been to assess him had been a persistent bugger. Eventually it had all come flooding out and that man was still the only person who knew all of it. He'd told others bits and pieces, but never the whole truth. One day he was going to have to tell Sherlock, if Sherlock wanted to listen that was.
"It wasn't the physical abuse," Sherlock finally said after what felt like an age, "that's not why I forgot."
Not really how John had expected the conversation to start, but he went with it.
"Pain can be shut away," he agreed as only a man who knew could.
Sherlock looked at him then and John realised they had connected on a far deeper level than usual relationships. They were both broken in some way and it brought them that much closer together.
"They kept threatening to take away my mind," Sherlock finally admitted. "A curse too long here, or a potion there. Every time they came back they pushed a little more, trying to find my limits without quite tipping me over them. It's the only thing I'm afraid of and I knew I would break, it was inevitable, so I locked everything away. If I didn't know I couldn't betray anyone."
"You had no way of knowing that when you woke up you would be safe," John concluded quietly.
A small nod was the only reply.
Reaching out, he placed his hand over Sherlock's.
"Thank you," he said quietly, squeezing gently.
For once Sherlock frowned at him, clearly not understanding.
"What for?" was the eventual question.
"For trusting me that much," he replied, honestly in awe of the depth of feeling it must have taken to bridge such a complete block.
Sherlock inclined his head, accepting the situation. Then, much to John's surprise, Sherlock lifted his wand and calmly summoned his watch from the dresser across the room. John felt a tingle run through him and he couldn't help a little shudder. It wasn't that it was an unpleasant tingle, just not something he really understood and he chalked it up to yet another new experience.
"Interesting," Sherlock said as if something significant had just happened, but his lover was standing up and striding towards the door before he could ask what it was.
As they walked into breakfast John braced himself for the inevitable teasing. He had known enough public school boys in his time (Sherlock, Harry and Draco were public school boys whether they liked to see it that way or not) to know that teasing would be the unavoidable result of having missed supper the previous evening in favour of sex.
"You owe me two galleons," Draco said to Harry in a triumphant tone the moment the blond clapped eyes on John, "he can still walk."
John tried really, really hard not to blush, he honestly did, but he just couldn't help it.
"I can sit down too," he said, since it was obviously a matter of can't beat 'em join 'em.
"John has a talent for topping," Sherlock said as breezily as ever; "if anyone would be in need of assistance walking it would be me."
For a moment John considered dying in the scrambled eggs and then decided it wasn't worth the effort. He had lived with Sherlock long enough to know his friend had no sense of social rules, just because Sherlock had his memory back was no reason to expect miracles.
"Please tell me you are not going to announce that to everyone we know," he said, reaching for the teapot in lieu of anywhere to hide.
"Mycroft will undoubtedly already suspect, given the dynamic of our usual relationship and your subconscious need to assert your dominance in some other way," Sherlock said, picking up some toast and investigating it as if it was one of his experiments; "Mrs Hudson will figure it out in a matter of hours, because of her propensity to eavesdrop and as for Lestrade and his team of incompetents; I intend to save that piece of information for a moment of maximum impact. Preferable one that will make Anderson look like even more of an idiot than he already does on a daily basis."
The last part was delivered with a wicked smile. Harry laughed loudly and Draco appeared impressed.
"Welcome back, Sherlock," Draco said with a big smile; "I've missed you."
Sherlock just smiled at that and, seemingly satisfied with his choice of bread product, began to butter the toast. For his part, John ruthlessly stabbed a sausage and chose not to comment. In the end, the teasing only went on for another few minutes before the topic of conversation moved on to other things. Half of it John didn't understand, but it was amazing to watch Sherlock and Draco engaged in a very animated conversation that, from the looks of things, Harry wasn't following either.
"Oh, that reminds me," Sherlock said halfway through a debate about potions, "would you help me teach John a few simple charms before we leave?"
That made John put down his fork.
"What?" he asked, honestly shocked.
They had already had the conversation about retraining and he was pretty sure there had not been any incidents he had missed since then.
"But John's a squib," Draco said in a careful tone, clearly not sure where the conversation was going, but also not dismissing Sherlock out of hand.
There were very few people who took Sherlock at his word and did not take his statements like those of a mere mortal. Draco was one of the few it seemed.
"His internal magical levels are those of a squib," Sherlock corrected as if everyone should have noticed the distinction, "but that's not the point. We established without doubt this morning before coming down that when I used my magic John feels it (it was why he was able to sense something was wrong when I first awoke) ergo the magic which bonded itself into him is still connected to the magic in me. It is a reasonable hypothesis that he should, in fact, be able to draw on my magic. It only makes sense that, should I become incapacitated, John be able to use all tools at his disposal, including my wand."
It might have been a reasonable hypothesis to Sherlock, but it made John's mind boggle.
"Possible," Draco said thoughtfully, "but what makes you think John would be able to cast a spell?"
That was exactly what he wanted to know himself.
"Every time John handles my wand, I feel it," Sherlock said simply.
That was news to John and it was bloody typical of Sherlock not to mention such important things.
"Interesting," Draco said, clearly intrigued, "we'll have to set up some experiments in the study later. This could be of importance to quite a few people; the implications for treating magical burnout could be enormous."
"No one gets to study John, but me," Sherlock said in a very possessive tone that John was sure should have worried him, but actually made him feel rather warm, even if he was freaking out, "but I'm sure John wouldn't mind if I share the results."
"Oh no," John said and waved his fork around for emphasis, "you go right ahead, I'll just be over here having a small mental breakdown."
Sherlock gave him a long, even look.
"Your hand's not shaking," was all Sherlock said and John looked at his fork.
It was, indeed, steady as a rock.
"Bollocks," was the best come back he could find.
It had taken John only about an hour to realise that there was a very good reason he had been born without magic: he was crap with it. Even Harry, who had been supportive where the other two had been scathing (neither Sherlock nor Draco were ever going to make good teachers) had eventually had to conclude that John was simply terrible. He wasn't about to give up; he never gave up, but he knew, without a doubt, that he and magic were only ever going to be emergency partners. Even after two days of constant practice; he was Sherlock's new project which meant no slacking, his levitation charm was pathetic.
"Oh, let's try something else," Sherlock decided as John's feather took a nose dive into the floor.
Sherlock snatched his wand back and pointed it at a pile of books.
"This is a blasting hex," Sherlock said and demonstrated.
Draco just about managed to put up a shield to stop any destruction as the familiar tingling of magic ran right through John.
"Sherlock," Draco complained, "a little warning next time!"
Sherlock just frowned and shrugged as if he thought he had given plenty of warning.
"Show me again," John said as Draco transfigured a piece of paper into a very solid looking target.
Sherlock huffed in annoyance, but did as he was told, hitting the target dead on and making smoke rise from the centre of it. It looked straightforward, but then the levitation charm had looked straight forward as well and John accepted the wand back, hoping he wasn't about to make a complete idiot out of himself.
On his first try smoke came out the end of the wand.
"You're pronouncing it wrong," Sherlock said, "like this," and told him again.
John counted himself lucky that Sherlock deemed him worthy enough for more than one explanation. He knew he wasn't cut out for magic, but he was also well aware that it could come in very useful one day, most likely to stop Sherlock being killed. With that in mind, he tried again and the target fell over, smoke coming from the very centre. For a few moments there was complete silence.
"Bloody hell, he did it," Draco finally pronounced after walking over and looking at the fallen cardboard structure.
John was more than a little shocked himself.
"Offensive spells," Sherlock crowed in delight, "should have thought of that earlier, what with your fondness for guns."
He didn't bother arguing, he just went with it.
When he collapsed on the bed that evening, John was pretty sure the solution to his magical incompetence was motivation. He was never going to be stellar with any spell, but he was pretty sure he could defend Sherlock if absolutely necessary. Of course, adversaries were not the greatest danger for them right then and he was waiting patiently for Sherlock to come out of the bathroom. Sherlock had gone quiet at some point during dinner and had barely said three words all evening, so John was waiting for the dam to break.
Sherlock had always had mood swings, ever since John had known him, but they were even more severe at the moment. John was getting the hang of them and he knew that Sherlock would want to talk, probably soon. He was the only one Sherlock would talk to and until Sherlock was ready he was perfectly happy to pretend he didn't know what was coming.
"You need a haircut," he commented as Sherlock climbed into bed; "your hair has been growing like a weed since we got here."
It was nice and domestic and neutral; just what Sherlock needed, John was sure. Trying to make Sherlock talk was a thankless and counterproductive task.
"It's the magical food," Sherlock said in an absent tone, pulling up his pillow and sitting against the headboard.
John just took that at face value.
"Do wizards have hairdressers or are there spells?" he asked, making himself comfortable.
It was bizarre to think how normal it all felt. If someone had told him climbing into bed with Sherlock and talking about magic would have ever felt normal he would have sent them to the nearest therapist.
"Both," Sherlock replied tersely.
It was a signal that the conversation was not welcome, so John backed off and began to arrange himself to try and sleep. Sherlock might sit up for longer, but John had learned to get sleep when he could and, since Sherlock had no qualms in waking him when he needed him, he was happy to doze.
"Do you love me?" was the question that stopped him mid pillow fluff.
It stunned him a little; that was so not what he had expected.
"Um," he said, since he really hadn't thought of it quite like that.
He definitely cared and he was certainly not going anywhere and if anyone ever tried to hurt Sherlock again they were going to find themselves in a world of pain ... he stopped the thought right there.
"Yes," he said simply, as the truth dawned on him.
Sherlock finally looked at him then.
"I loved him," Sherlock said eventually and John finally figured out where this was going. "Gr..," Sherlock stumbled over the name, "the one who betrayed me."
John sat up again and waited for Sherlock to go on.
"He was two years older than me," Sherlock said after a few moments silence, "and I was sure he had only joined the Death Eaters because of his father. He was the only person I knew whose mind worked almost like mine. Sometimes we debated things for hours, just for the intellectual challenge; we even debated the Dark Lord once. He took the side of the Light, I took the side of the Dark and I was so sure he could not have known all the things he said and still believed."
There was pain in Sherlock's voice, so much pain and John had to reach out. It was a testament to how much Sherlock was hurting that Sherlock took his hand. They slept next to each other every night, occasionally had sex and John nearly always ended up with Sherlock in his arms, but Sherlock was still not good with open displays of affection.
"I was so in love I did something stupid," Sherlock carried on explaining. "I had informed on a Death Eater raid, I knew there would be Aurors waiting and it would be vicious and I didn't want him to be hurt. We often had sex before going out on such business and I put a charm on the clock to make it run slowly, so we missed the meeting. I thought I had been so careful, so covert, but he realised what I had done and he realised I was the spy. I never knew, never even suspected, not until the next time we were summoned. After that night he had watched me, catalogued my actions and he denounced me to the Dark Lord. He cast the first curse against me and was rewarded for his actions."
When Mycroft had told him that Sherlock had been betrayed by his lover, John had assumed that the man had revealed the information under torture or something, but this, this was so cold and callous. It was no wonder Sherlock had used his powerful mind to wipe out that vulnerable part of his psychology.
"Sherlock," he said, holding to his lover's hand very firmly and looking Sherlock right in the eye, "I will never betray you."
For the first time he watched a tear fall from Sherlock's eye.
"But what if I betray you?" Sherlock asked, forehead crinkling with anxiety and fear.
John lifted his other hand and placed it on Sherlock's face.
"You won't," he said, as resolute about that as he had ever been about anything in his life.
"But I don't know how to love anymore," Sherlock whispered as if it horrified him, "I don't know how to feel."
John had no doubt anymore that Sherlock really had been a high functioning sociopath, just like he had proclaimed, Sherlock had made himself that way, but 'had been' were the operative words. Sherlock was never going to be a normal human being and John was pretty sure he never had been, but there were feelings there now and he had to help Sherlock deal with them.
"Then I'll just have to help you remember," he said, absolutely sure that he knew how to handle this.
Then he carefully lent forward and placed a kiss on Sherlock's lips.
For a while they just sat there looking at each other and then Sherlock reciprocated. It was only a little chaste kiss, but it was like the sealing of a bond.
"Let's go home," Sherlock said quietly, "I want to go home."
John poured water into the two mugs on the side and smiled to himself. They had been back in Baker Street for three days and everything was going well. They had come home to find a new double bed in Sherlock's room courtesy of Mycroft, which had now become their room, which was just as well, because Sherlock was having regular nightmares and John wanted to be right there, even if it meant his sleeping patterns were shot to hell as well. Since Sherlock was resisting any mention of seeing a therapist, John was it and he was finding that it was actually a role he found he suited perfectly. He was not completely over his own PTSD, but that meant he understood everything Sherlock was going through.
No doubt Lestrade or Harry, Sherlock had made sure of that, would turn up with a new case, probably the moment Mycroft decided Sherlock was ready, because John was absolutely sure they would not be bothered until then. It would be soon, he could tell; Sherlock needed something to do, because sex was not going to entertain him for much longer. They'd christened every room in the flat more than once, including the landing, the men's at the local pub, several secluded spots in local parks, the back of a cab (John was still not sure how they had managed to get away with that) and the storage room in Tesco when they had gone out to stock up on food (it had been that or the frozen food aisle). Since they came home, sex was Sherlock's new drug of choice, not that John was complaining; he'd had no idea Sherlock's knowledge had been so extensive. At Malloy Hall Sherlock had seemed only half interested in sex, but after their talk before returning to Baker Street, Sherlock seemed to have found a great deal of enthusiasm.
It was funny, he could already see the changes in Sherlock, but they were subtle. Sherlock seemed to deal with the rest of the world in exactly the same way he always had since John had known him, but there were small differences and between them the changes were huge. Sherlock still tended to go quiet for hours at a time, but afterwards all this information would come pouring out of him. John simply absorbed it all, making noises in the right places and letting Sherlock talk. If Sherlock wanted to be two people, one with everyone else and one with him, he was happy to go with it. They might come together over time, they might not, John just accepted it all.
He was humming to himself and squeezing out the tea bags when he heard the post come through the door. By the time he had added milk and walked into the living room, Sherlock already had the letters on the coffee table.
"Anything interesting?" he asked and handed one of the mugs to Sherlock.
"One bill, two pieces of junk mail and a bank statement," Sherlock said from where he had commandeered John's laptop.
John picked up the bank statement; he had online banking, but he still like to have a written record. Somehow digital things seemed so insubstantial. Opening it, he sat down to check that nothing untoward had occurred, because after living with Sherlock for a little while he was also paranoid. He'd checked it online the previous morning, but it never hurt to make sure.
When he reached the bottom of the statement he actually spat his tea out.
"Everything alright, John?" Sherlock asked in a half interested tone.
"Yes," he said, recovering, "just a mistake in my statement. The bank seems to think I have half a million pounds to my name rather than five hundred. I better ring them."
He was out of his seat to repossess his phone from where Sherlock had left it on the table after using it, when Sherlock stopped him.
"You do," were the simple words that ground him to a halt.
"Pardon?" he said, since he was having one of those slow moments.
"It's a finding fee," Sherlock said, looking at the laptop screen again as if what he was saying was nothing unusual; "Draco transferred it yesterday. The hoard behind the fireplace came out to eighty six million and to prevent a magical debt in such cases it is traditional to give a finder's fee of at least a percent. Draco rounded it up to a million in thanks for the information about the poison, his father is coming home tomorrow, by the way, and since you did half the work you earned half the fee."
John sat down with a thump. Once upon a time he might have asked a question like, 'where did you get my account information?', but not anymore, so he contented himself with trying to get his head round the number of noughts on his statement. It seemed that over the last few weeks he had stepped into a whole new world and his bank account was not helping. Briefly he wondered if this was how Alice had felt when she fell down the rabbit hole. It didn't look as if the rent was going to be a problem for a while at least.