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Eventually John finds himself regularly at Baker Street again almost without him being aware it was happening. What starts as visits in Mrs. Hudson’s flat for tea and a chat (because she kept calling him and Lestrade kept calling him and Harry kept calling him but for entirely different reasons and when he complained to his therapist about it she asked him why he didn’t just go and he found the answer caught in his throat) gradually turned to dinners (‘Really dear, you’re skin and bones these days’ Mrs. Hudson comments with each visit). After 5 months, Lestrade has become a regular dinner guest as well, and it’s friendly and cozy and none of them mention the flat upstairs but John feels a little less suffocated every time he opens that familiar door next to Speedy’s.
Six months since John left Baker Street, Mrs. Hudson prepares his favorite meal for him and when Lestrade arrives for dinner with Molly on his arm John hugs them both warmly and gratefully accepts the really rather nice bottle of wine they’ve brought to have with dinner and none of them comment as John grows quieter during the meal and maybe his wine glass is being refilled more than strictly necessary. And the evening becomes much more blurred around the edges for John and that makes it better, being here, and when dinner is over and the wine is finished, John sees Lestrade and Molly to the door. Molly’s thin fingers wrap themselves around Johns wrists as she brushes her lips against his cheek and he feels Greg clap him on the shoulder before they leave and John focuses on their warm touches and pretends not to notice their sad, concerned faces. Mrs. Hudson is there too, when John turns and begins to walk up the stairs to 221b for the first time in months, and for a moment she reaches out to stop him but she sees the look in his eyes and turns to tidy up dinner.
Six months after his fall, Sherlock is holed up in an abandoned tenement building in New York. He’s been there for two weeks now, sharing space with other vagrants who have occasionally come in handy as he scours the city for more of Moriarty’s people. He was recognized last night, by two informants, and though he dealt with the problem (rather violently) before word could get back to their boss, Sherlock is still shaken.
Which is why he finds himself standing in front of a cracked, oxidized mirror in his condemned apartment, carefully studying his features. He’s been in more close fights than he’d like to admit, and his body is a study of fascinating cuts and bruises. He’s bandaged and taped the worst, but some he keeps carefully clean and disinfected and uses the opportunity to study his own bodies ability to heal. And now he runs his hand over his scalp, marveling at the feel of his closely cropped hair (something new something interesting something about me I haven’t known in ages and I look so different and what would John say) and his fingers clench on the edge of the dirty sink where curls of his hair have floated and settled and he glowers at himself.
He hates this.
In London, John has spent the night sprawled out on the couch of 221b Baker Street, occasionally slipping into restless sleep and waking confused and disoriented each time. At 2:35 in the morning, he jerks himself out of a violent nightmare and groggily removes his jumper and jeans (suffocating suffocating it is too hot and I can’t breath and I can hear the gun fire and I don’t know if it’s from combat or if Sherlock is here and shooting at the wall and it doesn’t matter) and now he feels like he’s going to be ill.
He makes his way to the bathroom in the dark, his body instinctively still knowing the flat despite his efforts to keep it shoved away in the back of his mind and when he flicks on the light and sees himself in the mirror above the sink John is not entirely surprised to discover his face is wet from tears as well as his panicked sweat. He leans over and splashes water (cold cold cold) on his face and scrubs and his body is soon racked with his heaving breaths as he tries to keep from sobbing.
He misses him so much.
Someday I’ll write something that doesn’t make me want to die.