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“Oh, I thought I remember where I put them. Watson, do you remember where your snacks are?” Sherlock huffs, closing another cabinet in the kitchen. He’s taken to keeping food and toys and clothes for Rosie in the flat, though he can't always remember where everything goes, “Don't worry, I’ll find them. We don't need to run to your daddy for everything,”

 

Rosie turns to look at Sherlock from John's chair, smiling with the few teeth she has. He circles the table and sighs, coming back into the sitting room, leaning over the top of John’s chair to look at Rosie playfully, “I’m not sure where they’ve gone. Would you like something else?”

 

She leans back in the chair and looks up at Sherlock fondly. She smiles and reaches up for him, and he takes her little hands in his, “How about some potatoes? I’m sure they'll make some downstairs. We could have an early lunch together. Or— Oh, wait…”

 

He comes around the chair, keeping contact with one of her hands. He kneels down and reaches under his chair, finding the bag of snack puffs, “Here we are.”

 

He pulls his chair close and opens the bag, holding out a few puffs to her. She hums and takes one from his palm, eating after waiting contentedly for Sherlock to find them for her. He settles back into his chair, “What shall we do today, Watson? Your dad has six hours in the clinic, so that means we must find something to do. Cases are slow, I apologize. Perhaps Cluedo, you’re always surprised at the outcome. They don't like me at the park, but I will muddle through if you wish to go. I have many of your things here, we could always stay in.”

 

Rosie leans forward, getting onto her knees and Sherlock scoops her up before she can teeter on the edge of the seat. She takes another snack puff from his hand and kicks her socked feet at his knee. He lets her, always does, “Perhaps the cinema. Do you like that?”

 

She grunts at him. John comes out from the bathroom, dressed for work and hair a bit damp still. He hasn't put the product in it yet, “What does she like?”

 

“The cinema. Does she like the cinema yet?” Sherlock asks, watching John pour coffee into a travel cup.

 

“No, she does not,” he moves into the sitting room, settling his coffee on the table before coming over and kissing Rosie on the forehead, “Why are you asking? Thinking about an outing?”

 

“Yes. I checked the weather, it’s going to be sunny. She likes the sun.” Sherlock says, shrugging.

 

John chuckles softly, “If you take her outside, make sure she has—”

 

“A hat. Sunscreen. The right kind of clothing, a blanket, extra diapers, etcetera. Yes, I know.” he waves him off, having committed the essentials to memory, which items of clothing are appropriate for particular weather conditions.

 

John smiles, “Alright,” He disappears back into the bathroom, coming back with his hair slicked back, combed just the right way. He gets into his shoes and slips on his jacket, “See you two in a few hours. Love you, Rosie.”

 

He leans down and presses a kiss to Rosie’s cheek, patting Sherlock on the shoulder. He grabs his wallet and heads down the stairs, wondering how the traffic is this morning.

 

Sherlock rubs Rosie’s back, “He’ll not be gone long, you know that…” he peers back at the table, “And he’s left his coffee. John!”

 

He holds Rosie and gets up, grabbing the cup before quickly descending the stairs, being as careful as possible. Rosie giggles as they go, each step bouncing them. He manages to open the front door and catches John right before he steps into the cab, “John! Wait.”

 

John turns, momentarily looking worried, “What is it?”

 

“Coffee.” he holds out the cup, adjusting Rosie on his hip at the same time.

 

“Oh. Oh, right. Thanks.” John smiles, a bit surprised.

 

“Have a good day.” Sherlock gives, turning to head back inside.

 

John watches after them for a moment, then smiles to himself and gets into the cab, “Sorry about that.”

 

The cabbie glances at him through the rear view mirror, “Not a problem. Wife does that for me a few times a week.”

 

John sips his coffee.

 

 

When John returns to 221B, things are quiet. He walks in with a bag of take-away, becoming immediately aware of his footsteps’ noise at entering the sitting room. Rosie is fast asleep, blanket draped over her and face soft. She’s laying on Sherlock, him all slumped down in his chair, mumbling sleepily. It seems they’d been playing, toys on the floor and in Sherlock’s lap. From the look of the diaper bag, they went out but John doesn't know where.

 

Sherlock sounds like he’s been talking for a while, “… and then, the tea leaves infuse the water… leaf water. Did I tell you about the case that… rolled in leaves…”

 

John sets the bag in the kitchen, then moves some toys aside with his foot. One rattles and Sherlock’s head comes up, eyes opening, “Mrs. Hudson?”

 

“It’s just me,” John says, and Sherlock relaxes, patting Rosie’s back softly, “Looks like you two had a day.”

 

“Yes. We went out. There’s sand in her shoes.” Sherlock says before yawning.

 

John peers over at the open bag again, “No there isn't.”

 

“Oh. Must be my shoes, then.” Sherlock shrugs and waves a hand dismissively.

 

John smiles and leans down, taking Rosie into his arms and moving towards the couch, “She wasn't any trouble?”

 

“No more than expected, as always. I still lose her attention during our conversations. She threw her lunch at me, though only the peas. She only cried once today, because she was tired, or she was upset that she was tired.” Sherlock sits up, rubbing his eyes to wake up. He watches John tuck Rosie in on the couch, barricading her in. He stands after, coming around the childproofed coffee table.

 

“I've brought food. Do you want to…?”

 

Sherlock nods, getting up and following John into the kitchen. He moves to get a plate but John beats him to it, getting two plates down and setting them out. When he sits, John beats him to unpacking the food, and when John starts to fill his plate for him, he rests his head on his hand and watches, “Bit of the noodles too, then.”

 

“What? Oh,” John stops, setting down Sherlock’s fork with an embarrassed expression, “I’m sorry, it’s a habit now.”

 

“I don't mind. I was almost inclined to see if you’d start cutting everything up as well,” He shrugs, smiling softly.

 

John cracks a grin and sits down across from him, tucking in. They eat in comfortable silence for a few minutes, then Sherlock decides it's enough, “Um… How was your day?”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Boring, honestly. A few colds, woman with chronic pain, a sprained ankle. A few sign offs, a few referrals. The usual stuff,” John tells him, pushing around rice with his fork, “What about you and Rosie?”

 

Sherlock glances to Rosie in the other room, “We went to the park. I made her a sand castle to knock down. We did that many times before she tired of it. She spent time on the swing— not too high, of course. We watched people feed birds… then we had ice cream.”

 

“Instead of lunch?” John leans forward, raising his brow.

 

“Before lunch.” He promises.

 

“You’re spoiling her. You’re no better than Mrs. Hudson.” John chuckles, shaking his head.

 

“Isn’t that the job of the relatives? To spoil the child? I’m just doing my job as godfather.” Sherlock argues, setting down his fork.

 

John runs a hand through his hair, “You… are right.”

 

Sherlock leans forward, “Hm? What was that?”

 

“Shut up.” John points at him, grinning.

 

Sherlock smiles a bit, then looks questioning, “I… I am doing a good job, right? I can give her ice cream?”

 

John turns serious, “Hey, of course you can. Not too much, and I have to know so I don't double spoil her… but yes, Sherlock. You’re doing a very good job with her. I…” he reaches out, but stops, “I’m proud of you, the way you are with her. I didn't know what to expect. You’re a little, well, peculiar at times, but she adores you.”

 

Sherlock takes a moment, taking in the words, then nods. He looks over at John, “Is it how I talk with her? Molly’s mentioned it.”

 

“Well, I walked in with you falling asleep, still trying to talk to her.” John supplies.

 

“I do that with you as well.” He says easily.

 

John smiles slowly, returning to his plate, “She likes it, too. Everyone does the baby voice with her, not you.”

 

“What’s the point? Does it have developmental value?”

 

“What you’re doing, is fine. Sherlock, it’s good.”

 

“Good. Because how she smiles at me when I speak is… good.”

 

John can hear the fondness in his voice.

 

 

The whistling of the kettle is cut off before it gets too loud, and Sherlock sets it on the tray with the cups, cream and sugar. He remembers the biscuits as an afterthought and slings them on the tray. He walks into the sitting room, settling the tray down between their chairs on a small table.

 

John is in his chair with a half asleep Rosie, trying to get her ready for the day. He’d brought her over earlier in the morning still in her pajamas, along with a few groceries. He makes an appreciative noise at the sight of the tea tray, “ Oh , yes. That is perfect.”

 

Sherlock holds out his hands and John gives Rosie to him. He sits down with her and does up the rest of the buttons on her shirt, and the buttons on the side of her pants. He thinks that John must think getting her into each piece of clothing first and then fixing them up second is the best way of getting her dressed. Maybe it is, he hasn't done any tests.

 

John scoots forward and makes himself a cup. He goes ahead and makes Sherlock a cup too, and grabs Rosie’s sippy cup from her bag. He looks over at them as he takes a long sip from his cup, “You want me to take her?”

 

“No, it’s fine. Cup?” Sherlock holds out his free hand and John hands over the sippy cup. He sets it between his leg and the arm of the chair, “Cup?”

 

John hands him his teacup. He nods and drinks, looking over into the kitchen at the curtains on the window, “I was looking through potential cases.”

 

John perks up, “Anything interesting?”

 

“Boring. Solved two while in bed,” he sighs, “Abuser; man thought ex had superhuman powers. He beat her, she gets away. Next day two of her come back, not a scratch on either one. Vengeful triplets, obvious, he's now in the hospital,”

 

“Witness thought the second coming of King Arthur; just some idiot who fell off the ferry his way back from Comic-Con.”

 

John nods, holding his cup in both hands to feel the warmth, “I could check the blog for something.”

 

“I think—” he starts but his phone cuts off his sentence, ringing softly (more softly since Rosie has been around so much, he thought it considerate). Sherlock hands off his cup to John and retrieves his phone from his pocket, answering on speaker, “Lestrade, this is early.”

 

“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that. We’ve got a case. One dead, another in need of assistance. There’s an ambulance already on the way, but you’re closer. We need the two of you.” Lestrade says, a little static over the line.

 

“We’ll be there.” Sherlock tells him, then hangs up, checking the text with the address, forwarding it to John.

 

John sets down their cups and stands, holding his hands out, “Give her over, you’ve got to go. I’ll find a sitter.”

 

“No, you would do better going first. They need a doctor.”

 

“What about you?”

 

“Mrs. Hudson has gone out but she’ll be back in… seven minutes. I can be at the scene in twelve. Go, now. Save a life.”

 

John grimaces but nods, getting on his coat, gathering his things quickly. He comes back over and leans down, “Alright. See you later.” He kisses Rosie then kisses Sherlock while distracted, preoccupied with the case.

 

He heads for the stairs and Sherlock is very still, brows raised, “…Oh.”

 

John makes it down to the front door before he stalls, “Oh.”

 

 

Sherlock arrives at the crime scene with his collar turned up and the regular too smart for you attitude. John goes to his side as he inspects the body, “One witness. Got here in time, they’re going to be okay.”

 

“That is why you needed to be here first. Well done, John.” He says as he leans down to check the victim’s ear.

 

“Thanks, yeah… Listen, Sherlock. About the, uh…”

 

“Yes?” Sherlock turns to look at him, sees John outlined by the glow of the sun.

 

He freezes. He doesn't know what to say. It was a reflex, a move on instinct. He wasn't thinking when he did it. He sighs, “I’m sorry.”

 

“Why?”

 

“What?”

 

Sherlock stands, looking over his face for a few moments, making John twitch. He puts his hands in his pockets, “Would you like to move in?”

 

John’s eyes squint, brows pulling together, “What?”

 

“Move back in. You spend more time at Baker Street than you do at your home. Just yesterday, you arrived before you showered. Today, with Rosie in her pajamas. It would be a smart decision, moving back in.” Sherlock explains, shrugging. He’s only made the trip to John’s flat once to see them. Every other time, they’ve come to Baker Street.

 

“You… You want Rosie and I to move in? Stay with you?”

 

“It's the obvious solution to your increasing money issue, all those unnecessary bills… I was thinking I’d move the table in the sitting room, maybe get rid of it. Make room for her play pen, her toy chest. Your room is still the way you left it… I would help you carry things.”

 

John huffs, stepping back, “I mean… Really? You’re serious?”

 

Sherlock looks confused, “Yes. Why wouldn't I be serious?”

 

“Well, it’s just… Living with a young child is different than babysitting, different than visiting. She has tantrums, she cries, she makes messes. And there’s a lot more things to move in than just me this time.” John tells him, not knowing how far Sherlock has thought this through.

 

“Yes, I’m aware. I did live with someone younger than me, though I’m still recalling the details,” Sherlock reminds, “Also, I’ve already gotten a cupboard for the nappies. I discarded my least used chemistry set.”

 

“You did?” John looks at him, surprised. He opens his mouth to continue, but Lestrade comes to their side.

 

“What have you got?” he asks, adjusting his slouching scarf.

 

“The weapon was a fire poker. Find his hearing aid and the fireplace, and you have your killer.” Sherlock informs, slipping back into a somewhat professional tone. He glances to John before beginning to walk away. He smiles to himself when John follows.

 

 

“So, you’re serious about this, then?” John asks, leaning against the wall in his flat, watching Sherlock.

 

“What would make you say that?”

 

“Well, you’ve brought boxes.” John gestures to the fifteen boxes Sherlock has hauled into his home.

 

“Oh, yes,” he looks up from counting the knick-knacks on a self, “I am serious.”

 

Rosie laughs from inside a box Sherlock folded up for her, peeking up at Sherlock and ducking back down when he looks at her. John smiles.

 

“And… you’re sure there would be enough room?” he watches Sherlock move around the room, mentally cataloging.

 

“John, I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't sure.” Sherlock assures distractedly.

 

John raises a brow, “…You sure?”

 

“No.” Sherlock admits. He would have tried to fit them in anyway.

 

John comes over and settles in on the couch, “Okay… How about a trial run?”

 

“Trial run?” Sherlock gives him full attention then.

 

“We’ll stay for a few days, to see how things would work.” he explains, taking a sip from the mug in his hand.

 

“Oh. That sounds reasonable. Watson,” Sherlock looks to Rosie, and she looks up at him, “Would you like to come home with me? Your dad will be coming, too.”

 

“Tonight?” John smiles softly, Sherlock picking Rosie up when she reaches for him.

 

“Yes,” Sherlock holds her on his hip, moving towards her room, “She will help me pack. I need to know which clothes she wants to wear.”

 

John finishes his drink before going into his room and getting a bag together. He checks in on Sherlock halfway through, seeing Rosie just pulling clothes out of a drawer, and Sherlock adds them along with everything else without question. He decides not to say anything.

 

Twenty minutes later, Sherlock is putting bags into the car and John thinks of Mary, how she would approve. She didn't want John to be alone, and Sherlock asking him back fixes that. It's only made better by how well Sherlock and Rosie get along. He takes a deep breath and locks up the flat before going to the car.

 

 

The first night goes well. Rosie is used to 221B that she falls asleep in her bassinet without much resistance. They’ve set it up in John’s room, unpacked the essentials from their bags. John and Sherlock share a comfortably silent cup of tea before bed.

 

In the morning, John wakes after unpleasant dreams and Rosie wakes not much later. He makes them breakfast and he's surprised at Sherlock having a cabinet for baby foods. They eat, then Rosie watches a cartoon, John updates the blog:

 

It's like he has his own child. What a thought. Anyway. He's made space for us, talks of making even more. He's softer around her. I said before that I wasn't sure how he would react to her, if he wouldn't know how to interact. He does. I talk about this too much. But he takes his role as godfather very seriously. He asks if he's doing a good job. Normally he just assumes. And she likes him. She will sit quietly and listen to him talk, bless her. It's quite a thing to see…

 

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees her looking around the flat, no longer interested in the television. Her bottom lip is jutting out and her eyes are welling up with tears. He sets his laptop aside, “Hey, what's wrong?”

 

She looks at him and the tears start falling. He gets up and takes her into his arms, holding her close, “Rosie, sweetheart. What is it?”

 

She sniffles and huffs, lying her head on his shoulder. The cries start and he rocks her back and forth, rubbing her back. She picks her head up and reaches for the kitchen, so he takes her into the kitchen. She looks around before starting to cry harder, which always breaks John's heart. He kisses her head and wipes at her cheeks, “What are you looking for, then? Maybe your bear?”

 

He heads to his room and picks her bear up from the bed, holding it out to her. She touches it, but ultimately pushes it away. He checks her diaper but that's fine, too. He brings her back out into the sitting room, trying to calm her, “Alright. I know, I’m sorry. I don't know what to do… I don't know what you want. What's not here? What don't you have?”

 

He sighs, leaning back in his chair, “You don't have your mum. I miss her, too. She's not here. Just you and me now, love. You and me and Sh—” He sits up, “Sherlock… Alright, I'll try it. I'll try anything,”

 

He stands and heads down the hall, to Sherlock’s bedroom. He rocks Rosie as he knocks, “Sherlock? Sherlock, open up.”

 

In all honesty, he only waits a few seconds before opening the door. Sherlock is curled in bed, waking when Rosie’s cries hit his ears. He opens his eyes blearily, then becomes immediately alert, “John? What is it? Is she okay?”

 

“I don't know,” he comes in, gently wiping Rosie’s eyes again and turning her, “Hey, now. Look, Sherlock’s here. He's still here.”

 

She quiets slightly when she sees Sherlock. He smiles softly and waves to her, “Good morning, Watson. What's got you like this, hm?”

 

She reaches out so John moves to the side of the bed. She grabs onto Sherlock’s sleeve, so John sits down with her. Sherlock accommodates them easily, moving his legs and sitting up slightly. He takes Rosie, holding her to his side. She lays her head on him and cries.

 

“What happened?” he asks, patting her back softly.

 

“I don't know. She was looking around the flat and she got upset,” John rubs her hair, “I think she was looking for you. I think she misses Mary.”

 

He frowns, nodding, “Mary's gone, so she doesn't see her anymore. She usually sees me when she's at Baker Street, she's become accustomed. So, not seeing me, she must have thought I was gone, too… Understandably upsetting. She's sometimes like that when you leave.”

 

John takes a deep breath, lowering his head. Sherlock holds his arm. He sighs, “She notices. She won't remember all this, but she notices now.”

 

“Yes, but she still has you,” Sherlock tells him, “She also notices facial expressions, so chin up. It's okay now,”

 

John looks up at him, sees him nod. He nods back. Sherlock sits Rosie on his chest and gives her a big smile, “No more crying. It's all alright now, Watson. No worries.”

 

And soon enough, it really is alright.

 

 

The next few days are some of the easiest John has had lately. Sherlock is active in helping out, whether it be watching Rosie or just giving an extra hand when needed. It's not perfect. Sherlock still gets antsy when he thinks they won't get another case. Rosie makes a mess of the sitting room, she makes it to the violin stand and knocks it over with all the sheet music. John leaves for thirty minutes only to come back with the two of them covered in finger paints, having tried to make something nice for him. Sherlock sets off the fire alarm trying to cook. John has a bad nightmare and wakes screaming.

 

But there's also the good things. John wakes one day to find he's slept in, and Sherlock has tended to Rosie, finding them after breakfast watching cartoons that Sherlock is picking apart. Mycroft checks in and Rosie tries to get him to play with her stuffed animals. Sherlock plays the violin for Rosie, and John delights in how big her eyes get when the music starts. They go on a walk, and when they stop to window shop, a woman compliments Sherlock on how cute his daughter is, understandable as he was holding her. Sherlock turns and points at John, saying she has his eyes and stubbornness. John finds it easier and easier to stay at Baker Street, him and Rosie and Sherlock. His dreams about Mary start to lighten. And when they don’t, Sherlock is there just to provide company. Mrs. Hudson comments on how less mopey Sherlock is, and he shoos her away quickly before she can say much more.

 

That night after Rosie’s bath, they get her ready for bed in Sherlock’s room since it's the closest. She tries to hide under the pillows but John won't let her, and it makes her laugh.

 

“No, come on. You’ll mess up Sherlock’s bed, he won't like that.” John tries pulling her out from under the pillows again.

 

“It’s fine with me,” Sherlock tells him with a fond expression. He gets up and goes to the closet, taking out extra pillows and a blanket, “Perhaps she would like a fort? I've been researching activities children like to do.”

 

John chuckles, partly in surprise, “A pillow fort? You… looked up how to build a pillow fort?”

 

Sherlock almost looks insulted, “Yes, John,” He sits back down with everything and pulls the pillows up, uncovering Rosie, “Watson, we’re building a fort. You can have your bedtime story inside of it.”

 

Rosie smiles at him, making a happy squeaking noise when he tickles her stomach. He begins to build a fort around her, and John steps in and extends it halfway through. He just smiles at Sherlock when he's given a questioning look. Sherlock stacks pillows, calculating where and how to balance each one so the fort doesn't cave in. At the end, he drapes a blanket over the entire thing before peeking in on Rosie. Her eyes are big but she’s smiling. She laughs and touches Sherlock’s face.

 

“Who’s hiding?” John’s voice rings out, his footsteps coming around the bed. Rosie laughs, kicking her feet. John chuckles, sitting on the bed, “Who did I just hear?”

 

Rosie wiggles with excitement, laughing louder. The outline of John’s hand shows when he runs it over the blanket, “Where’s my Rosie gone?”

 

Rosie presses her hand against the blanket where John’s was. John gasps before lifting the blanket, smile wide, “There she is! I've found you.”

 

He kisses her cheek and climbs under with them, showing he’s brought a book and torch. The fort sways while he gets comfortable but Sherlock holds it steady. John passes Sherlock the torch after clicking it on and opens the book, “Now, where were we?”

 

Sherlock flips the pages, “We finished the moon book, then started this one. We stopped as we were beginning to explain our dislike for green eggs.”

 

John smiles, “What would we do without you, then?”

 

He lays his head back on the wall of pillows against the headboard, and Rosie puts her head on his forearm. His voice is quiet, under his breath, “I promise you it’s quite the other way around.”

 

John reads the rest of the book to Rosie, and when that's done, he makes up a special story just for her, a princess in a high castle. He tells the story until she's no longer fighting sleep. He looks to Sherlock, seeing him a bit sleepy, fading in and out. He picks up the torch and book, setting them on the table next to the bed. He opens the fort enough to carefully move Rosie out, bringing her to her bassinet and settling her in.

 

He returns to Sherlock, gently starting to take apart the fort around him. Sherlock inhales sharply, becoming more aware, “Rosie?”

 

“Asleep, in her bed. Just getting this fixed up for you. You look tired.” John folds the blanket and sets it aside.

 

Sherlock nods, finding a pillow and pulling it down under his head. He's still in his day clothes, still a bit damp from Rosie splashing water during her bath. His eyes are closed again. He sighs, getting comfortable, “I am… just leave the fort,”

 

John nods, laying the pillows he has taken onto the floor. He moves to leave, when Sherlock holds his wrist. Sherlock’s words are coated in a sleepy mumble, “John… I wasn't offended when you kissed me.”

 

John goes a little red, “I didn't mean to do it.”

 

“I’m glad you did.” Sherlock tells him softly before dropping his hand and curling into bed.

 

John’s heart pounds, mouth pushing down an insistent smile. He stands there, next to the bed for a long moment, thinking. He can't find a response, and chuckles nervously before covering Sherlock with a blanket. He goes back to his own bed, settling in for the night, finally having made up his mind on moving in.

 

 

It takes a few days where John and Rosie stay at theirs to pack, Sherlock coming every day to help. On the day of, Molly watches over Rosie on the sitting room couch as John and Sherlock move in the boxes. She chats with an ecstatic Mrs. Hudson while the two men debate on where things should go, bickering at each other. Molly doesn't understand why Sherlock puts an empty box in front of her until Rosie gets excited about it.

 

They move the table in the sitting room, exchange it out for a smaller one so Rosie’s toy box can have room. Children’s books take up room on the shelves. John finds that cupboard Sherlock mentioned, where his chemistry set is in fact absent and replaced by things for Rosie. He sets the package of nappies in the cupboard with the whole case of nappies Sherlock has gotten. Next to the shoes two sizes too big and play jewelry for when she’s older. John feels a warm tug at his chest and closes the door.

 

While putting away food, he sees all his favorites stocked up again, and this time it wasn't him who did it. There's milk in the fridge. There's a new blanket on John's bed. The clothes Sherlock has for Rosie are now neatly folded in John’s dresser. He organizes the rest and he sighs when they take up most of the drawer space. It's been a long day already and his shoulder is starting to act up. It's been hard to move on from the flat, from the memories the place holds.

 

Sherlock walks by with another box and stops when he sees John leaning on the dresser with his head down, “John?”

 

“Hm? What?” his voice isn't as soft as he’d like it to be, and scrubs his hands over his face, “There's not enough room. I knew there wouldn't be. Jesus, why did I do this if I knew?”

 

Sherlock sets the box in his hands onto the bed, coming to assess the dresser, “We could get another one.”

 

“And put it where ?” he snaps, then softens immediately at seeing the stricken look on Sherlock’s face. He usually doesn't get like that and it brings John back, “I’m sorry.”

 

“You're having anxiety. You're upset. It's… okay… No new dresser, okay,” Sherlock thinks for a moment before he picks up the box of John's clothes, starting into the hallway, “Come on.”

 

John huffs but follows, “If you're going to throw my clothes out…”

 

They pass Molly, Rosie and Mrs. Hudson on the couch, and go down the hall to Sherlock’s room. John sighs, “Sherlock, for god’s sake, what are you doing? It's been a long day, and—”

 

Sherlock sets John's box on top of his own dresser, then opens a drawer. He shrugs and reaches in, discarding all his clothes in that drawer and the next onto the floor. He takes John's box and puts it into John's arms, looking expectant. When John doesn't move, he gestures anxiously, “There's room. I want you to have it. It will calm you down.”

 

John looks at him, confused now, agitation dissolved at the surprise of Sherlock’s actions, “What?”

 

“You're second guessing. You're regretting, because leaving that flat meant leaving where you and Mary were together. You're thinking this may be a mistake, all those thoughts, all on the insignificant emotional reaction of your dresser being full when it wasn't at the other flat.” Sherlock looks worried, even upset. Moving in is a squeeze, but it's not that bad, in all honesty. John feels guilty for leaving where his life with Mary was, but the moment has passed. He thinks of the milk in the fridge. Sherlock is trying so hard.

 

He shakes his head, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, “Sherlock…”

 

“But I can assure you, this is a good decision. I'll… I'll get rid of something else, you will have enough room here. You can be comfortable here, you both can, I—” Sherlock takes a breath, not entirely stable. He's starting to ramble, to try and explain, “I'll do anything. You two come here and you make it warm, you always do. I am cold without you being here to set me right, I become clinical again. It's—It's a feeling I’m not at home in anymore,”

 

John can see him thinking, see him panicking. He thinks John may change his mind. He goes to pace then stops, fidgeting and grasping for words, “I know I'm not the best flatmate, obviously. I never have been, you know that. I am temperamental, an on again off again addict, often overlooking others and just an ass, but… When you two come through that door… I strive to be my best self, every time. Everything is much more important, whereas when you're gone, things… fade. I'm just—I can make room. Just please don't leave .”

 

He looks so scared, holding out his hands as if being that much closer will connect and let John see his way of thinking. He's pushed so hard at getting them to be close, to visit, to stay. Offering help again and again, holding on to the time before they go home, before they leave him. Like they won't come back. It's a little irrational, but it scares him all the same.

 

John puts down the box and gently sets his hands on Sherlock’s shoulders. Sherlock drops his hands and head, sighing shakily. He squeezes to ground him, “We would have never gone away.”

 

“But you did. You left Baker Street. I thought you'd be there when I got back, and understandably you weren't, you thought I was dead. But it never sat right in my head. I expected you to be home. I was wrong and I know, it was explained to me, but…”

 

“I couldn't have known. You know that.” John nods, rubbing his shoulders, coaxing him to relax.

 

Sherlock nods quickly, like someone who's been told this before, “Yes. Yes, I know… I only want you and Rosie here. Where you should be. Not alone. And finally, you agreed to come back, we put in all this work. Then you got upset and I thought you would go, again. Just like that; ridiculous really, the thought. And with Rosie this time. I adore her, John. I adore her. And you. I—”

 

John keeps him in place, stopping his next moment of panic, holding the back of his neck, “I know. I know. Come here,”

 

When John pulls, he follows, resting their foreheads together. It almost hurts but he looks John in the eyes. He squeezes the back of Sherlock’s neck, voice grounding, matter-of-fact, “Listen to me, now. We're not going anywhere. Rosie loves you, we love you. It is so hard pulling away, but I am happy to be home. I'm happy here, Sherlock, because of you. So you get it right, you paint that on the wall of your mind palace, I never wanted to leave in the first place.”

 

Sherlock exhales raggedly, opening his mouth to speak without knowing any of the words first, and John pulls him down slowly. John meets his mouth before the first thought comes to, kissing him with ease, a deliberately slow slide. Sherlock brings his hands up almost in a daze, holding at John’s middle so lightly, until John presses up insistently, brings him back and his fingers grip, hands planted firmly.

 

John fists his other hand in Sherlock’s shirt, ensuring he stays close, tipping his head slightly to the side and letting himself take, push it all forward, show what he wants. He pulls so much that Sherlock braces his arm on the dresser, presses in and returns the kiss but lets John lead him. His heart is beating too fast, too many emotions, and his harsh breaths mix with John’s, the soft pleased noises he will not forget. Another tug, another noise, satisfying and encouraging and warm. The box spills onto the floor with a loud slap of cardboard, buttons clacking on the hardwood. John growls at the sound and turns his head to capture his mouth another way, compulsive, instinctive. Sherlock feels like he could slide onto the floor and melt with everything happening inside his mind, his shaking body.

 

“Are you two alright? Don't be dropping things, now!” Mrs. Hudson’s voice rings out down the hall, and the two of them pull apart quickly, startled. Their hands stay where they are.

 

Sherlock clears his throat before speaking, and still it's shaky, “We’re fine, thank you!” John feels lighter in his chest, looking over Sherlock’s tired but relaxed face, body beginning to pull away from anxiety, fear. He licks his lips slowly, feeling the fabric of John’s shirt under his hands, how warm he is. He smiles slightly, “So… you will be putting your clothes in here, yes?”

 

John laughs, head dropping onto Sherlock’s chest. His shoulder aches but his muscles relax. A hand slides up his back, resting on the back of his neck. Cheek to the top of his head. It's still a safe place to be.

 

The flat is still a mess when they go to sleep. It's been too long a day to attempt the finesse of moving, and Sherlock has put a blanket over them already. John curls around Rosie and his arm extends to reach Sherlock’s hand, rest them on his stomach where he's still wearing his dressing gown over his pajamas. Rosie’s hand bumps his cheek as she spreads out in her sleep, foot kicks at Sherlock’s ribs.


They've never slept so soundly. It is good to finally be back home in Baker Street.