I miss you.
Angst for some lovely ladies.
Sherlock notices his scarf is missing before they leave for the train station.
He stays quiet as his partner bustles about the flat, finalising the last bit of packing he has let himself forget (wrist watch, wallet, extra pair of socks, extra deodorant just in case). He knows he could easily rummage through John’s large suitcase and find the accessory tucked away at the bottom. After all, it’s open for the world to see, his pants and shirts folded neatly to take as little space as possible; they would return in a discombobulated mess of dirty laundry hastily thrown into a pile and shoved in luggage. John likes to fold his accessories at the bottom with necessities above. The only exception is his identification badge which will earn him the right to sit amongst his colleagues in the medical field and chat about God-knows-what for seven days.
He’s not upset, of course. It isn’t like he doesn’t have another scarf. He has three. But he wanted to wear that scarf in particular. He always does. It’s his oldest, the first one he had, and the one he was wearing the night John first saved his life.
He can understand why John chooses to borrow that one.
He can also empathise with why he doesn’t want to ask. John thinks he dislikes shows of sentiment, but he’s tolerant of it, even welcomes it at times. John asking to borrow a scarf for his week in Aberdeen would have been a nice change of pace in their otherwise quiet displays of affection and fondness beyond the obvious physical.
Sherlock says none of this and lets John brush by him, carrying socks and muttering times tables of trains to himself. They’ll get there in time. John will keep his scarf. It’s all fine.
They stand in the back of the crowd, unseen by eyes that don’t look for them, kissing goodbye so many times that John nearly misses his train.
Sherlock misses him the moment the doors close. John misses Sherlock when he bids the train station goodbye and can no longer see his partner standing stoic on the platform, surrounded by people neither of them care about, dressed in all black and scarfless.
He looks like a child; small and lonely.
Understandably, John doesn’t pack all his jumpers. He simply has too many and wouldn’t need all of them anyway. Still, he had forgotten certain ones he had wished to bring, such as his two striped jumpers. They’re Sherlock’s favourites and he knows it because Sherlock often remarked on how good they looked on him (as he was taking them off John, kissing from his neck to his chest).
Perhaps it’s because Sherlock won’t be seeing him in them that he doesn’t pack them.
He shakes the thought off and continues to unpack, organising his hotel room as if it was a home away from home. It isn’t home, not without Sherlock, but he can at least be comfortable. His clothes are hanged and put in drawers; his shaking kit and shampoo and body wash are placed in the shower and in the loo cabinets.
The scarf that isn’t his is folded and neatly placed on his laptop on the coffee table of the sitting room, ready to greet him when he comes home.
Sitting in front of the heater with John’s blue striped jumper on, Sherlock closes his eyes and inhales slowly.
He smells tea and honey, with hints of a nuttiness to it. Hazelnut, he thinks. There’s a hint of lavender laundry detergent - washed two nights before - and a cool, woody scent that belongs to the drawer the jumper was folded in. But the warmer, more homey scents overcome that chill, and although the jumper is thin and just too short in the arms and on his waist, he still feels warm, wrapped in John and his ghost.
It’s only a week, he thinks as he covers his nose with the fabric. Only a week.
After the conference concludes for day one, John heads to his hotel room, pours himself some whiskey in a glass, turns on the electric fire place, and puts his feet on the coffee table as he cradles the scarf in his hands.
At first, he simply holds it and tries (and fails) to identify the specific wool-make. He runs his fingers on the stitching and tries (and fails) to count the splotches of discolouration from being overly-worn and years old. He tries (and succeeds) to find faint body warmth and the scent of Sherlock’s body wash. Tugging those scarves off that damned delicious neck is a favourite past time of his, but John can appreciate the scarves, the way they keep his partner warm when he can’t.
John loops the scarf around his neck and stares into the fire. Well, he wagers as he burrows his nose in its softness, he has three more. Maybe he can get him a fourth.
When they Skype each morning and every night, neither the jumper nor the scarf are explicitly mentioned in the conversation, but every time they say, “I miss you,” it’s never enough to express the magnitude of that feeling. That’s why they cling to one another’s clothing like children with security blankets.
(Years down the line - when bees and compositions and writing are the norm, and stolen hams are the extent of casework - John and Sherlock will laugh at the fact that they ever considered that the other one wasn’t missing them nearly as much, and they will hold one another’s hand and listen to the rhythmic hum of fluttering wings and the softness of the nearby ocean roar.)
One week later, Sherlock sees John step off the train, smirks, and descends from his higher plane of existence (on a bench) to walk and greet him. One doesn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to know that John Watson stole a scarf, because that particularly chilly day, he is wearing it around his neck. Sherlock finds himself fancying the sight a bit more than he should.
"So that’s where it went," he remarks as John approaches with an amiable grin. Sherlock isn’t wearing John’s jumper, but he had been using it for a pyjama top and had managed decent sleep with the phantom of John’s warmth and scent lulling him off. He thought he would never wish to openly express the fact that he had done so, but with how his heart skips at the openness of John’s silent admittance, he wonders if John would feel the same, seeing Sherlock wear his jumper to bed that night.
(He won’t, at first, because they will be much too busy undressing one another. But when Sherlock reaches for the jumper again, John will smile.)
John smirks and sets his bag down with a mute chortle. “Don’t act so surprised, git,” he replies, moving to remove the scarf.
Before he can blink, hands are on his. John watches Sherlock lower his hands back down with a soft squeeze to each. “I like it,” Sherlock purrs, tilting his head. One hand drifts back up to idly fiddle with the scarf his partner wears. “Seeing a piece of me wrapped around you. Did you wear me often?”
John hums a confessed yes, and Sherlock feels gooseflesh on the back of his bare neck. “That almost sounded sentimental,” John quips with a warm smile, an arm going around Sherlock’s waist and settling on his lower back to pull them closer.
"Almost," Sherlock murmurs against John’s lips before leaning just enough to kiss him softly, grateful that there is no need to miss him anymore.