all I want for that damned reunion is for these two idiots to just hug already goddamn it
preferably after John’s beaten Sherlock up a bit and shouted obscenities, and they’re being really awkward at each other, and then Sherlock just hugs him and it’s really stiff and weird and it takes John a bit to relax into it but he does because they both need it
The punch had been first.
It had been instinctual - what else could he do when faced with the ghost of his dead best friend? He was a soldier, not some damned medium who faced the spirits of the long dead and supposedly forgotten. But the face his knuckles had connected with had been distressingly real, unnervingly solid, impossibly warm and soft and alive even as the man who should not be there rocked back on his heels from the force of the blow.
Then had come the shouting. That had been natural too, something he had not even realized he was doing until he was listening to his hoarse yells ringing in the evening air. He hardly even recognized his own voice as it bounced back to him it was so raw and angry, so full of pain that it should belong to a man a thousand years older than him in experience and misery. The words didn’t matter, really. Whatever he said was lost in a haze of anger and blind fury, vanishing the moment they left his lips to fly at the man who should not be standing there. The man who was standing there, accepting them all with quiet resignation and exceptional stoicism.
But then, when the words had run out and the bruises were already beginning to form on a face too thin and too pale for comfort, the remarkable happened. Even more remarkable than Sherlock, Sherlock, standing whole and mostly undamaged in front of him, even more unbelievable than John feeling alive for the first time in three years with the anger and elation pumping through him, was Sherlock stepping forward to wrap his absurd and bony arms around him.
John nearly collapsed to feel the reassuring solidity of Sherlock’s body against his, the warmth of him soaking through the chill that had enveloped John’s life and telling John that yes, this was real. No, this was not in his head and not another dream or fantasy come to torment him. This was Sherlock, hugging him.
Shock held him stiff and inert at first, frozen in surprise and anger and a thousand other feelings that he could not name and yet tore him to pieces. They had never done this before, or anything like it, and if it had not been for the slightly awkward and yet reassuring strong embrace of Sherlock’s arms John would have fainted dead away from the disbelief and newness and strangeness of it all. But as the hug continued and Sherlock did not pull away, did not release him, did not vanish from his arms like a puff of smoke John could feel himself begin to relax just enough to sag into his arms. Tears were burning in his eyes, his throat closing impossibly small, his breath coming ragged and raw as he tried desperately not to sob into the shoulder of the man who had destroyed him and saved him in a moment. But sob he must, and sob he did, and he could not find it in himself to be ashamed.
As he wept for everything he had lost and everything he had found, a hand came to cradle his head and the ghost of a whisper brushed into his ear, nearly lost amidst the tears. “I’m sorry John.”