by elfin

He stood in the centre of the storm and waited.


Amidst the rants of, �I saw him die!� and the ravings, �he blew his brains out right in front of me!� John stood perfectly still. This calm had settled over him way back, standing in the sunshine out on the steps of Magnussen�s ridiculous home. After the horror of the situation had paralysed him, the plan � one worthy of Sherlock himself � had come to him, unbidden and frankly unwanted, but cunning, so cunning and so perfect. A flawless plan. He, John Watson, had known at that moment that he could play everyone, from the man in the street to the highest in the realm.


Finally tiring of flinging his arms like pinwheels and dancing around the flat like a lunatic Morris Dancer, Sherlock stopped directly in front of John and shouted into his face,


�How can he be alive?!�


John let a second pass, then another, before he said quietly,


�He isn�t. At least, I assume he isn�t. You said you saw him shoot himself up on your roof.�


A brief quizzical look crossed Sherlock's face, as if he was storing a question away for later, before his annoyed and frustrated scowl was back.


�I did! So how can he have appeared on every screen, every media channel, at the same time, telling everyone he�s back?! How can he?�


John wiped spittle from his face and took a shallow, normal, calm breath.


�It was me.�


�I did, of course, but I�m clever. He wasn�t clever, he planned and he charmed but he wasn�t clever. I know a real gun when I see one, and I know a real bullet wound, so how could he possibly what did you say?�


�I said, it was me.�


Sherlock�s brow furrowed.


�What was you?�


�Moriarty's face, broadcast everywhere at that precise moment. It was me.�


His expression remained one of confusion. �How could that have been you?�


�I arranged it. I had help, help that will remain anonymous.�


He was still staring. �Why?�


�Because I knew there was only one way to get Mycroft to turn that plane around. So I made it happen.�


Sherlock remained locked in place; looming over him, face creased, cogs whirring in his brain, suddenly unconnected. �But... why?�


John took another, deeper breath and shifted his feet, planting them, clamping his hands to his thighs just in case the urge to punch his best friend overwhelmed him again.


'For two years I thought you were dead. I grieved for you, mourned you. They were the worst two years of my life and as you might be able to imagine, they were up against stiff competition. Then miracle of miracles, you came back. And however angry, however furious I am with you for putting me through that, I did forgive you - I do forgive you. I've got you back, I've got... everything back. I meant it when I said you are the best man I know and the best friend I've ever been lucky enough to have. You keep sacrificing yourself to save me. You shot Magnussen to save my wife. After that, after all that, did you honestly think I was going to stand back and watch you leave me again? Watch you fly off to God knows where to die alone with someone else's name?� He shook his head. �Not happening, Sherlock. So I arranged the impossible return of the one person who scares the British Government - your brother � enough that he had no choice but to turn that plane around and bring you right back to me. Because he wanted to. He didn�t want to lose you just as much as I didn�t.'


'You resurrected James Moriarty.' John desperately wanted to fish his phone out of his pocket and photograph the amazement on Sherlock's face. 'But... what happens when they realise he isn't coming back?'


'They won't, not for a while. We credit him with random crimes, things that have the hallmarks of his signature. By the time Mycroft realises something's up, your exile will be old news. The job in the east will be over, there�ll be other things to think about, other crisis to deal with. People might actually realise they're better off without a sickening parasite like Magnussen on the edges of their lives, and thank you for what you did.'


'John. You're....' He waited for Sherlock to find the right word. 'You're brilliant.'


He couldn't help the beaming smile that threatened to split his face in two. He couldn't recall Sherlock saying that to him before and actually meaning it the way he wanted him to mean it.


'Yes. I am. And don't you forget it.'


'John.' Spoken in a voice laden with guilt and heavy with relief. The intensity of his eyes quickly became uncomfortable.


'Okay. You don't need to go overboard.' John thought he might be blushing and he looked away, down at his shoes, at the cigarette burn marks on the carpet, at anything other than Sherlock. 'Just play along with the ruse and it'll be okay. Everything will be okay.'


'All that. For me.'


He swallowed and raised his head again.


'Pales in comparison with everything you've done for me.' He hesitated, opened his mouth and closed it again. But he should have said it out on the runway. He hadn�t because he'd known it wasn't goodbye, he�d known that he would have to face the consequences of his words not too long after saying them. Still, he should have said it. 'I love you, Sherlock. I bloody love you. So try... try to act accordingly. Please.'


He had no idea what Sherlock would do with that. But the last thing he'd expected was the first thing he got. A hug; tight, full-bodied and the best thing John had ever felt. Sherlock's face rested on the top of his head, wiry arms around his shoulders, huge hands spread over his back. He lifted his own arms from his sides and returned it with the same strength and meaning, holding on around Sherlock's waist, face pressed into his shoulder. He didn't know how long they stood there. Time let them be: not a chime of the bell, a knock on the door or ring of a phone to interrupt them.


Finally, Sherlock lifted his head just slightly, and murmured into John's ear.


'Come to bed.'


As shocking, as unexpected as the suggestion was, John didn't stiffen or shift. He chuckled, soft and intimate, and kept his head turned away, cheek against the rough wool of Sherlock's coat, when he responded.


'I haven't made my mind up yet if my feelings for you are sexual.'


He felt the tremor of Sherlock laughing, the relaxing of the hug into something different, not something less.


'Just to sleep, John. It's late, we've had a tiring day. But I'm not ready to let you out of my sight quite yet.'



Sherlock removed his coat in the lounge, his shoes in the bedroom, and lay down on his side on his bed. John did likewise, lying on the right hand side, facing Sherlock. Feeling brave, feeling triumphant, he moved one socked foot forward and rubbed Sherlock�s foot with his toes. For a long time they watched one another, eyes searching souls, until Sherlock reached out a single crooked finger and ran it over John�s cheek, just below his left eye. The touch was gentle, but in an off-centre way it reminded him too strongly of Magnussen flicking his cheek and he wrapped his hand around Sherlock�s fingers, lowering his hand but holding on.


'You will let me know, won't you?' Sherlock said quietly.


John didn�t understand. 'Let you know what?'


'When you've made up your mind, about whether or not your feelings towards me are sexual.�


That there was a part of John stiffening this time wasn�t a complete surprise. His relationship with Sherlock had an intensity with the power of making everything else in his life seem dull and lackluster by comparison. They�d been right about why he�d been drawn to Mary; he�d sensed the danger in her long before he knew the truth, he�d known she wasn�t like all the other women he�d dated over the years. Sherlock liked her; that should have been a clue in itself. But Sherlock was danger incarnate, on so many levels, on all the levels that existed. Sherlock had possessed him before he�d ever heard the stolen name of Mary Morstan. This was where his bruised and battered heart belonged.


�You�ll be the first to know,� he murmured.


Sherlock lifted his head, leaned forward and touched his lips to John�s. It wasn�t a kiss, wasn�t even close. It was as platonic as a peck on the cheek. And yet it meant so much more.


�Good night, John.�


�Night, Sherlock.�