Contented Life

Author: MonkeyBard
Rating: PG
Summary: A fairy-tale ending.
Date: 31 July 2014
Prompt: The End in the Beginning. Every story's beginning is some other story's end.
A/N: Conclusion of A London Fairy Tale. Follows immediately on Changeling Life. More notes at the end.

"John, wait."

John did not wait. He continued to the bedroom in his borrowed robe and borrowed body, ignoring Sherlock's call made in a borrowed voice.


John shucked the robe and crawled back into the bed. He didn't want to listen to Sherlock's excuses any more. He didn't want to hear another word from him unless it was the apology to the unidentified fairy queen that he'd been told he had to make.

"I'm sorry." Sherlock's words came from behind John. He must have been standing just inside the room, but John didn't roll over to see. Nor did he respond. He'd said his piece. He was done.

Sherlock sighed. "I am sorry for what my carelessness caused."

John thought he almost sounded genuinely contrite.

"I cannot say now what I would have done in the moment had I known what would result. However, I can say with perfect hindsight that my reaction to the witch at the renaissance fair was unnecessarily rude."

Better, thought John. But hardly enough, I bet.

"I could and should have spoken with more consideration, even though I thought she was a charlatan and an ordinary person. Ordinary people...deserve respect."

That admission cost him. John could hear it in his tone.

"That said--"

Uh oh.

"If that witch, whom I now know is a great and powerful queen of the fey, is listening, I offer my sincerest apologies for my impolite comments--"

"Verbal abuse," John corrected without moving.

Sherlock hesitated only a moment. "My verbal abuse of your noble personage at the fair the other night."


No magical flash of light. No moment of disconcertion at finding himself standing in his own body rather than lying down in Sherlock's.

It was John's turn to sigh. He rolled over at last and looked at Sherlock.

"I tried, John. I meant what I said. Every word of it."

"I know. I could hear it." He patted the bed. "Come on. You can try again tomorrow."

Sherlock crawled in next to him and John spooned behind him. Tomorrow. Sherlock would apologise again tomorrow, and he would keep apologising for as long as it took to convince the fairy queen that he was well and truly sorry.


John woke on the wrong side of the bed. Literally, not figuratively. How had he gotten on Sherlock's side of the bed?

Epiphany struck and he opened his eyes. He was almost scared to look. What if he was wrong? Then he'd be no worse off than he was yesterday, he told himself firmly. He pulled one hand from under the covers and stared at it.

"Mine," he whispered. He reached the hand to his bad shoulder, felt the familiar ridges of his scars under his probing fingers, felt the familiar--and for once comforting--ache of the damaged joint. "Mine!" He pushed himself to sitting and turned. "Sherlock--" Where was Sherlock?

The bedroom door swung open, and there he stood. Sherlock, in his own body, in his own bathrobe, smiling his own smile. "You're awake. Good."

"Very good," John agreed with an answering grin.

"I brought us breakfast." He held a tray between his hands. John smelled tea and toast and--

"You made eggs? Seriously?"

"I do know how to work the stove, John."

"You could have fooled me." He scooted over and plumped pillows so that Sherlock would have a place to land both himself and the food.

Sherlock sat, setting the tray carefully between them. John reached out and snagged a piece of buttered toast. He spooned jam onto it and took a bite. It was wonderful to taste with his own tongue again, wonderful to chew with his own teeth. Such normal, meaningless things that he'd taken for granted before seemed like miracles now.

He chased the bite with tea and smiled again at Sherlock. "Thank you."

"It's just breakfast."

"No. It's not 'just breakfast.' It's what you said last night. I know it was hard for you, but you did it."

Sherlock shook off the sympathy and said haughtily, "I did it very well."

John chuckled. "Yes, you did." He leaned over the tray, careful not to unbalance the tea and food, and pulled Sherlock close enough for a kiss. "Well done."

"I went to the trouble of cooking food for you. Eat your eggs before they get cold."

John laughed again. "As you wish." He tucked into the eggs, which were surprisingly delicious, and Sherlock sat back with a mug of tea in his hands. "So," John said between bites. "What do you want to do today?" It was Saturday, and while there was a week's worth of real life to be sorted out and dealt with, John couldn't bear to think about it at the moment. He decided the mess could wait until tomorrow. Or possibly Monday.

"Anything you want," Sherlock said.

John looked at him with raised eyebrows. "You are feeling repentant."

"Don't push it."

"All right." But John had to tease just a bit more. "I hear there's a renaissance fair going on..."

"Anything but that," declared Sherlock.

John burst out laughing. "Only joking. All right." He gave the matter some thought as he sipped his tea and crunched his toast. Faced with the offer of "anything", he found what he wanted most was an utterly ordinary sort of day. "A walk in Regent's Park? Maybe feed the swans?"

"All right."

"Dinner out somewhere nice-ish? Not fancy, but not fish and chips."


He knew he was pushing it now, but how often did he get carte blanche from Sherlock? He had to take advantage of the situation while it lasted. "What would you say to a night out at the theatre?"

Sherlock brightened a little at that and John felt a split second of suspicion as to what he was up to. "The theatre?"

"Yeah. I don't know what's on, but there's bound to be something."

"There is," Sherlock agreed. "I know just the one."

"Great." John sat back, smiling contentedly. It was going to be a very good day.


A/N2: In case you've not read it, here's what happened during their "night out at the theatre".


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