They didn’t talk, because John didn’t talk anymore. He spoke, yes, but didn’t talk.
When Sherlock returned after two years, John opened the door and blinked, once, twice, the muscles of his jaw tight.
“John,” Sherlock said, and if his voice was unsteady, John wasn’t. His posture and shoulders rigid, John pressed the door open wider and turned to go back into his meticulously tidy bedsit.
“Tea?” He asked, not waiting for Sherlock to answer before flipping on the electric kettle. He sat on the edge of the bed to wait for the water to boil while Sherlock wandered unmoored around the room. When Sherlock began to talk, explaining why, explaining how, John watched him, listened, nodded, but his face remained a study in tight suppression.
When Sherlock finished, John said, “Okay,” and handed him a mug of tea. If Sherlock’s chin crinkled slightly, if he blinked in rapid succession, John didn’t mention it.
They sat in silence until Sherlock had emptied his mug. He put it carefully on the desk and stood to leave.
“Baker Street?” he asked.
For a long moment John didn’t reply, didn’t move at all, but eventually he turned his face up towards Sherlock. “When?”
“A week, I think. I’ll ask Ms Hudson. “
John nodded, a small motion, almost imperceptible to someone other than Sherlock, and Sherlock felt relief unfurling in him with such abruptness that he had to grab the back of the chair in order to remain standing. “Good,” he said, “good.”
In the end it took nine days, the previous tenants being unwilling to move, but Baker Street was theirs again. During the interim Sherlock didn’t see John, but he texted him. He learned that John would not reply to general statements, but he would answer questions, so Sherlock texted endless questions. Questions he already knew the answer to. Anything, just to hear the soft ping and see John’s name on his mobile.
The first night, Sherlock heard John pacing in his room, the sliver of light beneath the door visible until nearly sunrise.
The second, John fell asleep just after dinner, and Sherlock spent the evening alone. When Sherlock woke at four in the morning he found John sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, so he made two mugs of tea and sat there with him until John needed to dress for work.
The tenth night, Sherlock heard a small shuffling noise and put down his laptop. When he opened the door he found John curled against his bedroom doorframe, his left cheek and ear slightly pinker than his right. Sherlock realized he had been listening, face pressed against the door. John didn’t look embarrassed; he looked the same as always, blank, hemmed in, carefully, fearfully composed.
Sherlock no longer closed his bedroom door. Ever.
On the fourteenth night Sherlock woke from vivid, tangled dreams to the silhouette of John sitting on the end of his bed, facing away from him. “John,” he said, his voice rough with sleep. “Here.” He pulled back the duvet on the empty side of the bed. John was still for several minutes, but in the end he settled himself in Sherlock’s bed and faced the wall. Neither of them slept.
The next night John didn’t make any attempt to sleep in his room. He came down the stairs in his pyjamas and curled up in Sherlock’s bed while Sherlock played the violin in the living room. When the last note faded into the muffled sounds of London at night Sherlock put the violin down and joined John.
He didn’t realize he’d fallen asleep, hadn’t imagined that he could, but he woke at two and knew without opening his eyes that John was behind him, propped up and leaning over him, his breathing slightly uneven. Sherlock kept still, kept his body relaxed, even when a hand brushed lightly down his back, even when John pressed the side of his face against the dip between Sherlock’s shoulder blades.
They stayed like that for several long minutes, all of Sherlock’s attention focused on the slight shift of John as the sharp tension of his body softened against Sherlock’s back. Sherlock reached one arm behind him and caught John’s hand, pulling it forwards and threading his fingers through John’s.
“Sherlock,” John said then, and if his voice was thick and wavering it was still better than the study in emptiness it had been.
“Here, John. I’m here. I won’t leave you again. I promise.”
And if John talked to him, face pressed to his back, his words of loss and pain and fear burning in the darkness, then Sherlock was silent, imagining each broken syllable rising from them like embers, bright and hot and fading to cool gray ash. If John cried then, if he clenched Sherlock’s hand until Sherlock could no longer feel his fingers, then Sherlock let him. And when the ragged edges of his breathing smoothed into the rhythms of sleep, Sherlock smiled.
Around them the currents of London shifted, above them the sky pooled with clouds, but they lay still on one side of a big bed, curled together, two halves, dark and fair, brain and heart.
This is the saddest reunion fic I have ever read. ;_;
Beautiful, all of it.
If Moffat and Gatiss are going to do romance in series 3, I can see it going down like this. Beautiful <3
Sherlock sends Victor to check up on John.
→ requested by stars-above-us.
Thanks to BBC Books, we can give Sherlockology followers an exclusive preview of the fantastic full dust jacket cover art for the official upcoming tie-in hardcover book to the television series. As you can see, the design is striking and unusual, featuring Sherlock Holmes on the front cover and John Watson on the back cover, along with a brief synopsis of the book written by each of them.
Click the images to see larger versions of each half of the dust jacket, and to read each of the pairs thoughts on the jacket flaps.
The 160 page hardcover is due to be published in the UK on October 25th 2012. You can preorder the book from Amazon UK for £10.49. For international delivery information and rates from Amazon UK, click here.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what passes for dirty talk in 221B. Headcanon accepted.
And that’s how they became BFFFs. (Best Fandom Friends Forever.)
December 3rd, 2011. Mycroft knows too much sometimes.