It was nineteen days of nonstop running. Moriarty returned, because if Sherlock was able to see all the chess moves to the very end and fake his own death, of course Moriarty was able to as well, and brought chaos with him. Sherlock and John ran and ran. They chased and they hunted. Mycroft had a team of snipers and men-in-black at the ready but they were always a step behind. In the end it was John that took the final shot, and there was no resurrection waiting for Moriarty this time.
Mary, bless her, had run 221b like a black ops command center. With her credentials, Sherlock trusted her enough to do some of the intuitive thinking. She could kill and she instinctively read people as well as Sherlock could deduce them. It was an unspoken agreement that between them, John would return home safe.
Eventually return home safe, if Mycroft’s debriefing team would ever release them. Sherlock’s patience was wearing thin. The bags under John’s eyes and the wrinkles in his shirt tell Sherlock he needs a shower and then a warm bed. Well, probably food first. He hasn’t allowed John more than a quickly-grabbed snack from Mary’s supply at 221b in two days. So, food first, then a shower, then sleep. For John. Sherlock doesn’t require these concessions to his transport; he’ll participate because it will make John feel better.
They are finally sent on their way. Mycroft insists on a car and Sherlock only agrees because John looks exhausted now. The car takes them to a curry shoppe, which was not actually on the way to Baker Street but it is John’s favorite and they might as well use the car anyway. Sherlock orders an extra green curry for Mary without John needing to remind him. He earns a tired smile for that.
John calls to Mary as he climbs the stairs behind Sherlock. She doesn’t answer but they find her curled into a ball, square in the middle of Sherlock’s bed, clutching the duvet to her chin.
Running isn’t the only exhausting activity, apparently.
“Let’s let her sleep for awhile. Her curry can wait,” John says as he pulls the door closed.
They eat in silence sitting next to each other on the sofa, knees bumping and thighs pressed together. There’s a rhythm in their forks scratching against the foil bottoms of their takeaway bowls. John finishes first and Sherlock abandons the rest of his curry on the coffee table.
“You could shower. Mary has fresh clothes for you in the duffle next to your chair.”
John slumps further into the sofa next to him. “I don’t want to shower.” John closes his eyes and leans his head against the back of the sofa. “I just want to sleep.”
Sherlock falters, thinks of Mary sleeping soundly in the center of his bed, and then rises from the sofa. He nods toward the closed bedroom door. “Go sleep with Mary. I’ll just…” he gestured vaguely to the sofa, “...here.”
John snorts and opens his eyes to stare at Sherlock. “You won’t sleep if I leave you alone and we both know it.”
“I will. I just need to do some mental housekeeping first.”
“You won’t sleep.”
John heaves a great sigh and pulls himself to standing. His knees creak and he scrubs a hand over his face. “There’s no point in arguing with you-”
“-Of course there isn’t.”
“So, let’s just go to bed.”
It’s like Sherlock’s already overtired brain stutters to a halt. He blinks. He slides his hands in his pockets then takes them out again. “I’m sor- what?”
“I said let’s just go to bed.”
“I heard you. I’m trying to get you to go!”
John crosses to the bedroom door and nudges it open. He angles his head toward the room. “Come on,” his voice is lowered in respect to Mary sleeping inside, “we do everything else together. We might as well kip together after saving London.”
Sherlock stays standing still next to the sofa while John smiles softly and ducks into the bedroom. He leaves the door cracked open and Sherlock studies that sliver of dark, open space and his heart pounds. Three, four beats hammer in his head before his feet move him forward. Sherlock pushes the door wider with his right hand, then steps in one foot at a time. It’s easier if he can cross that threshold in pieces. Take his time grasping at something precious and probably not what John means at all.
John is already under the duvet, spooned behind Mary. He’s down to his vest and Sherlock can see where one bare foot peaks out from the side of the bed. His ankle is slender and the bedside light Mary must have left on catches the golden hair there. John’s eyes are still open but he doesn’t say anything as Sherlock crosses to the opposite side of the bed.
He shrugs out of his suit jacket, tossing it carelessly to the floor. Normally, he would hang it right away but there’s an irrepressible fear that if he looks away from this tableau, from the Watsons in his bed, they’ll disappear for good. He sits on the edge of the mattress, still turned so he can see them both out of the corner of his eye, to remove his shoes. Sherlock lies flat on his back on top of the duvet and folds his hands over his stomach.
The bed is big enough to hold all three of them, but it’s a tight fit. John and Mary are sandwiched together and Sherlock can still feel her breath fan against his cheek. He normally sprawls, takes over his bed like an invading army, but this time he wills himself to stay very still and to only occupy the real estate left available. If he slides over just three point two inches, his hip would be against the swell of Mary’s belly.
He’s settling into the mattress, tension leaving his shoulders and hips as he forces his breath to remain even, when Mary reaches out and wraps her fingers around his bicep. Sherlock’s head whips to the right but Mary’s still asleep - at least her eyes are closed and she looks to be asleep. Her grip is strong against his arm and she may be the only person that could fool him. Her eyelashes fan across her cheeks and Sherlock wishes he could run the pad of his finger across them.
“Go to sleep,” John rumbles from the other side of Mary’s shoulder. Sherlock can see the curve of his ear, turned pink by the light glowing behind him.
He never expected to have anyone - so much so that he was entirely caught by surprise by John’s care for him. He didn’t see it, couldn’t have predicted it before his fall, but since his return, Sherlock feels like he’s drowning in affection. Especially now that there are two of them. From the first night Sherlock met her, Mary has welcomed him with open arms. It was different than it was with John. He was better able to identify the warmth that spread across his chest when she would kiss his cheek or smile up at him, even when he knew he was being ridiculous. And now they’re here, all three of them, tucked into Sherlock’s bed like they belong there. It’s only for tonight, Sherlock thinks. It’s an oasis but not a place to live.
He’ll take and keep them both in any way they’ll have him. He loves them so much.
“Turn out the light,” Sherlock whispers.