The nights are long. Granted, there haven't been many of them since everything went up in flames. First with Magnussen and then with Mary. John wasn't sure how he should feel about all that’s happened to him in such a short amount of time. Well, that's not quite true. He knew he SHOULD feel sad. Dejected, maybe. Betrayed, obviously. But none of that really mattered at the moment. He never loved Mary. Not really. He’d only gone through with the proposal because he was convinced that he had no other option. No, Magnussen and Mary didn’t matter at all to him now. All that mattered to John at this precise moment in time was that it was ten to midnight on the 28th of January. He knew the significance of the date, really. Of course he did. One of the most important days of his life. The day he met the best and the wisest man he has ever known.
And now John is lying in his old bed in 221b, staring at the ceiling, and wondering if Sherlock remembers the significance. Before all this, John was convinced that Sherlock didn’t feel things that way. Maybe he did, but John always had a sort of blind spot when it came to Sherlock. Maybe not blind per se, but he couldn’t trust what he saw (or rather what he thought he saw). Sherlock always stood too close, always took John apart with his eyes, but that was just Sherlock. It's now clear to John that Sherlock cares for him deeply, there really is no question about that. He wouldn't have killed a man in cold blood if he didn't. He's his best friend. No the only question is whether or not Sherlock wants more. If John was honest with himself he'd admit he's been head over heels in love with the man for four excruciating years.
John took a deep breath. He wants so much for tomorrow to be special, for Sherlock to finally know how he feels. There’s nothing holding them back now, right?
Oi, get yourself together, Watson.
It's been silent downstairs for the last 20 minutes so which means Sherlock must have retired early for the evening. John tiptoes down the stairs to get a drink of water before trying (and probably failing) to go to sleep.
He enters the main flat through the kitchen door and goes straight for the sink.
“Oh good, you’re still up.” The deep baritone comes from the sofa. John nearly jumps out of his skin.
“Jesus, Sherlock I thought you’d gone to bed.” John’s heart is beating wildly in his chest and he can’t seem to get his breath back.
“Avoiding me, are you?”
John can’t tell if he’s taking the piss or not, the lights are out in the sitting room and the only light in the flat is the streetlights streaming through the windows.
“No, not at all!” John does his best to affect nonchalance. “Just thought you’d gone to bed is all.” He steels himself for a moment. Say something, Watson. “Listen, Sherlock…”
“Are you er… doing anything? Tomorrow, I mean?”
There are shuffling noises and before John can exhale, Sherlock is standing right in front of him his eyes shining verdigris in the amber light shining in from Baker Street.
“No… nothing that can’t be… er… that is to say that… tomorrow… I’m… free.”
“Good!” John clears his throat and tries to stop fidgeting like a teenage boy asking the popular girl to the dance. “I mean, good. Er… maybe we could…” He’s scrambling. He knows he is. Why didn’t he think of this before opening his big stupid mouth?? He’s just about to abort his mission when a thought occurs. “Angelo’s?”
Sherlock’s lip twitches up and soon his whole face has bloomed into a huge smile. His genuine smile. The kind of smile John is sure only he has ever been witness to.
“I’ll take that as a yes?” And now John is grinning too. Like a fool, he’s sure but he can’t help it.
“Yes. I’d love to, John.” It’s barely above a whisper.
John is over the moon. Sherlock said yes and tomorrow they will go to Angelo’s, drink too much wine, eat too much food, and John will finally be able to tell Sherlock that he’s madly in love with him. Falling asleep is going to be much more difficult now. Who cares? Sleep is boring.
“Great! Well, goodnight then.” John starts towards the stairs again (completely forgetting the reason he came down to the kitchen in the first place) now completely preoccupied with coming up with what in the bloody hell he is going to say to Sherlock tomorrow, when the man in question catches him by the wrist.
John turns back to face him and what he sees there stops him in his tracks. Sherlock looks… to be honest he’s not quite sure, but if John had to put a word to it he’s almost sure it would be ‘nervous.’ That didn’t make sense. Sherlock was never nervous. Not when it came to John.
“Alright, Sherlock?” John is trying hard not to let his confusion show too much. Sherlock is usually so sure footed. Is never afraid to say what he thinks, but this is different. The only other time he’s seen Sherlock like this was on the tarmac.
“John,” Sherlock breathes in his impossibly low (and impossibly sexy) baritone. “There’s something I’ve meant to say to you for quite some time now and I… I wasn’t sure if… that is to say that… please feel free to tell me to bugger off if you don’t-”
John gives in to his impulse and reaches a hand up to stroke his cheek. Sherlock immediately closes his eyes and leans into the touch. Encouraged, John cards his free hand through the curls at the nape of his neck and softly, softly, guides Sherlock so their foreheads are pressing gently together.
They stay there, silent for a time, breathing in each others air, neither of them willing to break the spell when the clock strikes midnight. John smiles to himself at his good fortune (and truly impeccable timing – even if it is 4 years late).
“Happy Anniversary, Sherlock.” John breathes and he raises himself on his tiptoes to meet Sherlock in a slow, sweet, chaste kiss. “God, you have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.”
“Believe me, I do, John. I absolutely do.”
And he does.