They caught a train from Cardiff Central that got them into Paddington Station a little past noon and took a cab the rest of the way back to Baker Street. Mrs Hudson met them at the door, clucking and tutting over first their disappearing act and then their equally abrupt return.
"I was worried at first," she said. "Then your brother sent word you'd been taken out of town on a case. Bit high-handed, that one, but I did appreciate the fact that someone bothered to inform me that you weren't dead."
"Sorry, Mrs Hudson," said John climbing the stairs after Sherlock. "Unexpected circumstances and all that."
"I'm just glad you're all right, dear. Your post is on the table upstairs, and there's a container of stew in your freezer next to the goodness-knows-what that I tried not to look at too closely. Not that I'm your housekeeper, mind you."
How many years had she been muttering that conversational suffix? It still amused John. "No, of course not. Thank you!"
He escaped into 221b and closed the door behind him. John gratefully sank down onto the sitting room sofa before even removing his jacket. "God, it's good to be home!"
"You said you wanted a change of clothes," Sherlock reminded him. He'd already hung his coat on a peg and crossed the room to where he'd last left his violin. Two days without it had to have been a strain, particularly coupled with everything else they'd been through. He took it from its case. John felt the tension begin to drain off of Sherlock at the first pluck of a string.
"I do. But I need two other things first. And don't forget you promised me dinner out tonight."
Sherlock snorted disdainfully at the idea he would forget anything let alone a date with his partner. "Of course."
As Sherlock tuned his violin, John hauled himself to his feet and into the kitchen. He found the stew in the freezer as promised. Chucking it into the microwave, he started it defrosting, and then finally shucked off his jacket. His shoes followed it and he flopped back down on the sofa.
"That is one thing," Sherlock said over the strains of -- John thought it was Debussy, but he wasn't sure.
John didn't point out that, if looked at differently, it was in fact three things. He dug his mobile from his pocket. Pulling up his contacts list, he found the number that he knew he didn't call often enough and dialled it.
The call was answered on the third ring and a familiar female voice said, "Hallo?"
He lay back, getting comfortable for a long stay. "Hi, uh, Aunt Jo? It's John. Do you have time to talk? I've got quite a story to tell you."