As the cab pulled up outside Speedy’s the following evening, Sherlock whizzed out with both suitcases, leaving John to pay, as usual. Mycroft had held firm on the upgrades, much to Sherlock’s annoyance, and they’d been seated in the absolute back row. John hadn’t minded one bit, content to hold Sherlock’s hand and canoodle when the flight attendants weren’t looking. Sherlock, on the other hand, was sure that Mycroft had actually meddled to get them allocated the literal worst seats on the plane, and intended to give Mycroft a piece of his mind as soon as they got home. John had just snorted, rolling his eyes and leaving them to it. In his book, Mycroft was a bit creepy but broadly a good bloke.
When John made his way out of the cab, stuffing his wallet back in his pocket and wondering why he ever bothered getting receipts, he was startled to see that Sherlock remained out front of 221, though the door was open and the suitcases appeared to have been deposited inside. He had an odd expression on his face.
“All right, then?” John said curiously.
Sherlock ran his eyes up and down John, seeming to evaluate.
“Why are you looking at me like that? You’re freaking me out.”
Sherlock pursed his lips, thinking, then seemed to decide.
“I think I ought to carry you across the threshold.”
“You know… it’s a newlywed custom. First time into the house, and all that. Pretty sure the Romans started it.”
“Um… Sherlock… I hate to break it to you, but a couple of blow jobs and a lot of fantastic snogging does not a newlywed make. Also… I think it’s a pretty ‘hetero’ tradition. Not sure you see a lot of blokes doing that…”
Sherlock squinted at John, considering. “But… doesn’t this feel momentous? We’re coming home to our home, as an ‘us’.” Sherlock made air quotes with his fingers. “We’ve never done that before! And everything’s different. Shouldn’t we mark the occasion somehow?”
John snorted. Cor, but Sherlock was sweet sometimes. “Ok then, champ. How about this? I think it’s pretty weird, and I’m reasonably sure there’s some messed up reasons that people did the threshold thing back in the day, but if it’s important to you and you reckon you can lift me, go for it.”
Sherlock’s eyes crinkled beautifully as a grin split his face. John’s heart gave a lurch. “Splendid, John! Heave ho, and all that.” After an appraising glance at John’s body once more, seeming to assess the physics of what was to happen next, Sherlock stuck one arm behind John’s knees and one behind his back and tipped John sideways with an ungainly “oof!”. Even with the warning, John was surprised to be on his back, aloft in Sherlock’s arms. As Sherlock took a few unsteady steps up and through the front door, John felt pure joy, surprised that this did in fact feel fun and romantic, if a bit precarious. He laughed aloud and threw his arms around Sherlock’s neck, sure that this would round out the image Sherlock had in his head. He turned his head into Sherlock’s chest and whispered: “You’re my favourite person in the world, you know that?”
Sherlock, deciding that the threshold was sufficient and that the 14 steps up to the landing might kill him, carefully lowered John to the ground once they were through the door.
“I love you too, John Watson. Thank you for a truly life-changing week.”
Up the stairs, resting at an angle on the coffee table facing the door, sat a large horizontal picture frame with three equal-sized A4 panes, wrapped in a novelty size red bow. In the left pane was a photograph of two men in brightly coloured swim shorts on a golden rocky foreshore, beaming at the photographer. Their tanned skin glowed in the late afternoon sun, contrasting wonderfully with the azure sea behind them. In the right pane was the same photograph taken seconds later, with the taller man bending down to consume the shorter man in a kiss, hands wrapped around the shorter man’s face, pulling him closer. The shorter man’s body curved impossibly towards the taller man; both utterly absorbed. And in the middle pane was a single page of densely typed text, headed “FAQ”.
As Sherlock bent down to inspect the gift, a tender smile on his face, John picked up the accompanying note that had been propped in front of the frame.
Dearest Sherlock and John,
Thank god you finally worked it out.
All our love,
Mycroft and Greg