It was a cloudy, windy day in London.
John was on his way to the store, in need of groceries, when he saw it.
His heart stopped.
He approached it cautiously.
It was the same yellow paint, from the Blind Banker. From all of the graffiti he himself had sprayed upon the buildings of London.
And that smiley face…it was the same exact style as the one in the flat (still there; John refused to redo the wallpaper and spackle the bullet holes; Mrs. Hudson didn’t say anything about it).
John had a strange feeling in his gut. No one had ever said that Sherlock still lived. Some had anonymously joined his efforts to vandalize in an attempt to make the world know that Sherlock had been real, that Moriarty had been real.
But always had been, never was.
Heart in his throat, the doctor turned and ran back to Baker Street. He barely paused to fumble the door open.
And there he was, lounging in his armchair, wearing jeans and a black hoodie with a skeleton print on it. It looked so strange on him, and he suddenly looked years younger than he was. The only touch that reminded John of the Sherlock he knew so well was a blue scarf wrapped around his throat.
Sherlock tossed the can of spray paint he held into the air, watching it cartwheel and then catching it. “Thank you, John, for not throwing out any of my stuff. Though, people might talk.”
John wanted to do so many things - scream, cry, punch Sherlock, die from relief - but he settled for stumbling over to Sherlock and falling to his knees before the lanky man. He grasped the hoodie in his hands and leant forward, burying his face in Sherlock’s stomach.
His shoulders began to shake, and then he was suddenly sobbing, clutching at the detective. He needed to know this was real, not some horrible, terrible dream.
Sherlock shifted, sliding off the chair and wrapping his arms around John, can of paint dropping to the floor. The doctor pulled him into a bone crushing hug, sobbing harder when the pressure was returned.
His face buried in Sherlock’s shoulder, his hands digging into his back, John felt that maybe everything was alright. This was real, not a dream.
Sherlock’s voice, quiet and emotional and so unlike him, murmured, “Please…forgive me.”