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On A Loop

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Two days. Three more to go.

Sherlock is tired. More than that, he’s lonely.

A case kept him busy the first day of John’s absence—actually, it’s because of the case that he didn’t go with him. It seemed so promising. At least a nine. In the end, it was barely a three.

And now he has three more days to wait for John to return from that medical conference about amnesia and brain disorders.

When his phone chimes with a text message from Lestrade, he hopes for another case, but only gets a list of attachments under the heading, “Been collecting these for years”.

Sherlock opens the first file with a frown. The title is just a string of numbers—a date—and random letters. A video pops ups on his phone, John’s silhouette and his own at Scotland Yard.

Shifting to his laptop, Sherlock watches the same video on a full screen. Shot with a phone, it’s just twenty seconds long, and shows little more than John and Sherlock talking about the clues of a case. The entire time, John’s hand is at the small of Sherlock’s back, stroking absently.

It’s a strange video. Nothing happens, and the case sounds rather boring. And still, Sherlock feels strangely warm. It’s with feverish fingers that he clicks on the next attachment. And then the one after that. And the one after that.

Each file is a short video, and they all show Sherlock and John together. At Scotland Yard, at a crime scene, in a pub, in a restaurant… Sometimes, they know they’re being filmed and might even talk to Lestrade. At other times, they’re oblivious, lost in each other’s company.

And then there’s a longer file, and that one is not some innocuous little scene of life. That one is their wedding day.

Sherlock has read John’s vows in the diary they share, but he still listens to them seventeen times on a loop. And falls asleep to the sound of John’s voice shaking ever so slightly on the word ‘forever.’

When he wakes, the first thing he’s aware of is the laptop on his stomach, a curled arrow asking him if he wants to play a video again. He has the vague feeling that he’s late, but he still presses play – and stares, both confused and entranced, as on the screen a beaming John slides a ring on his finger – he checks his hand immediately and yes, the ring is there – and recites marriage vows.

His phone rings when he’s on his third watch, after he’s gone through the rest of the videos Lestrade sent him. He answers without taking his eyes off the screen.

“Hey love,” John’s voice says on the other end of the line. “That neurologist from Australia I wanted to talk to cancelled his appearance, so I’ll be back the day after tomorrow.”

Surely there are clues to glean from these few words, but Sherlock can only blurt out one thing.

“We’re married.”

Silence answers him, stretching for a few seconds until John asks, “Did you fall asleep?”

“Yes,” Sherlock says impatiently; who cares about sleep when there are much more interesting things going on? “You married me. You, John Watson, married me.”

And he knows he must sound stupid, repeating himself like this, but he can’t seem to put into different words how utterly baffling this is. How amazing. How shattering.

“Yes, I did,” John says softly. “Two years ago. Because I love you.”

Sherlock’s heart does a little jig in his chest and he grins stupidly at his computer and the paused image there.

“Are you all right?” John asks after a brief pause. “Did you find the diaries? Do you want me to explain anything? Should I have Mycroft drop by to check on you?”

Even though John can’t see him, Sherlock shakes his head.

“We’re married,” he says again. He doesn’t think he’ll ever tire of saying it.

John's quiet laugh rings like church bells.

“Yes love, we are. Am I getting another wedding night when I come back?”

It doesn’t take much convincing for John to change his plans again and say he’ll be back tomorrow.