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A New Beginning

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And suddenly Sherlock was gone and John stood on the empty airfield and tried to understand what just had happened. The look in Sherlock's eyes, his near-tears, all the babbling about 'Sherlock is actually a girl's name' - John felt helpless and lost. Had he all that just imagined? That couldn't be, right? But why? And why now?

The truth hit John with the force of a sledgehammer. 'Since it's unlikely we will ever meet again …' He wouldn't see Sherlock again, never ever. It was a deadly assignment; Mycroft had sent his own brother to death. Stunned by the sudden realization he could only stand there and stare at the spot in the sky that was getting smaller and smaller. He felt neither Mary's hand gently squeezing his, nor the cold wind hitting his face. All he could feel were Sherlock's burning eyes on him when he was forced to bid him farewell.

He had lost him - this time for good. How was it even possible that he hadn't seen all this before? Or - maybe he had seen it and simply ignored? He hated the possibility that it could be the latter. John's heart clenched painfully in his chest and he needed all his strength not to collapse on the spot.

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The events took a sudden and unexpected turn, when Mycroft, who was about to leave, received a phone call and came up to John and Mary with a worried expression. A few minutes later they watched the jet stream returning with Sherlock on board.

When the hatch of the plane opened and Sherlock went down the few steps, John was already there, waiting for him. He was determined not to be fobbed off with a simple handshake this time, and even Mycroft's minions had not been able to stop him.

Puzzled and agitated John realised that he had got another chance by fate - and he would use it. So much of what Sherlock had said and done in the last months suddenly got a whole new meaning and the pieces fell into place. He had been so blind, so ignorant, and he had often rebuked Sherlock harshly; had masked his own jealousy with sarcasm. John's eyes burned with unshed tears when he saw Sherlock's red-rimmed eyes.

Squaring his shoulders he took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Sherlock."

Sherlock looked at him blankly and so John continued. "I'm sorry I didn't realise earlier that ... " He trailed off and cleared his voice while Sherlock's eyes widened in cognisance and - anxiety? John cursed under his breath and grabbed Sherlock's upper arms, his eyes fixing him the whole time. "Don't make me say it out loud here," he murmured. And then he hugged him, held him as tight as he could and buried his face in Sherlock’s neck.

For an awful moment Sherlock just stood there, stiff and motionless, but then he let go of his bag, to which he had clung desperately, and replied Johns embrace fiercely. A hoarse 'John' was all he managed to say, but it was enough.

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When the black sedan with Sherlock and John left the airfield Mary didn't cry. She had suspected that something like that could happen; had secretly feared it since Sherlock had come back. John loved her and she loved John, but it wasn't enough, would never be; and finally John had also figured and surrendered to his feelings for Sherlock. She couldn't even be angry with him, because she knew that John’s feelings were genuine and true, that he had not lied or cheated on her for one single day.

Mycroft accompanied Mary to the car and back to London. She didn't like him in particular, but at least she was safe as long as she carried John's child. What would come afterwards ... she could only hope that John really had forgiven her and that she would be allowed to retain and raise her daughter.