February 24th, 2013
Red carpets were always the same. That ocean of crimson under your feet, the camera flashes, the screaming fans with their signs, the lanyarded staff members and assistants and publicists, the reporters with their microphones and their questions—always the same inane questions. John was glad he wouldn’t have nearly as many stand-ups as he’d had the year before; tonight he was just a presenter, neither he nor Sherlock were up for anything but perhaps a stale Bruce Vilanch joke at their expense. Last year, they’d been the biggest entertainment story around. Now, they were delightfully old news.
The cheers of the crowd hit him like a physical blow when he and Sherlock climbed out of their car. He waved as they walked up the carpet hand in hand, greeting a few of their colleagues, pausing for photos.
“Boring,” Sherlock muttered, as they stood there awash in camera flashes. “Do they not get weary of photographs of us in tuxedos?”
“Apparently not,” John said, his smile unwavering. “If you’re bored, do some people for me.”
“Which people shall I ‘do’ for you?”
They moved slowly down the carpet, carried along in the crush of formalwear. “Umm...that bloke there, with the earring.”
“Film student. Part-time job as a publicist’s assistant. Lives in the Valley, has a small dog that isn’t house-trained.”
“Now that woman with the pink thing.”
“Someone’s relative, most likely a mother of someone in the tech arts categories. Mmm...I think production design. Possibly art direction.”
They turned, and John grinned and embraced Ellen while Sherlock got an armful of Portia, then they swapped and repeated the process. He was dimly aware of many flashes going off--so much gay royalty in one spot!--but put it out of his mind. “I was hoping I’d see you tonight,” John said. “Am I coming on the show? The studio’s still working out my press schedule.”
“I’d love to get you on, always,” Ellen said, beaming at them.
“All right, I’ll make sure I get there. We were thinking that, well....” He glanced at Sherlock. “Now might be a good time for that joint appearance.”
Her eyes widened. “Don’t tease me, John.”
“Irene thinks it’s a great idea. I’m sure we can work it out.”
“Okay! We’ll make it happen! Awesome!”
Portia waved them all together, hauling out her phone. “Photo op!” she said, grinning. Ellen grabbed them around their shoulders, standing on tiptoe to fling an arm over Sherlock, who had to stoop quite a bit, and they smiled for Portia’s camera.
They exchanged hugs again and separated. Irene was guiding them towards the Access Hollywood camera. “First of three,” she muttered as they approached. “Keep it brief. Billy will probably mention the Globes.”
One thing John had always appreciated about Billy Bush was that he wasted no time. He shook their hands briefly, and then got right down to it. “I’m here with last year’s Best Actor winner John Watson, who is a presenter tonight. John, how’s it different than being a nominee?”
“It’s a lot less nerve-wracking. I don’t feel like I might vomit, which is a nice change.”
“And who’s your date?” Billy said, winking.
“No idea. He followed me here from Starbucks.”
Sherlock smirked. “You looked so sad, buying a latte in your tuxedo, all alone. I thought you could use a plus-one.”
“Sherlock, congratulations on your Golden Globe win last month!”
“Thank you. But I’m not here for myself; I’m just John’s trophy husband tonight.”
“John, you’ll be presenting the Best Actress award tonight. Any predictions?”
“They were all fantastic performances. My only prediction is that I’ll be very happy to get a hug from any one of them.”
“Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the show!”
“No problem, Billy.” They moved on down the carpet.
“Starbucks?” Sherlock murmured in his ear.
Sherlock didn’t have time to answer before they were being hailed again. “Hey, the best-looking couple in tuxes,” said Joe, snapping their photo with his iPhone. John grabbed the phone, ducked around and slung one arm around Joe’s shoulders to take another photo of them.
“Be sure and tweet that, I expect to see myself trending tonight,” John said. “Going to try and get snaps with as many nominees as possible. Hoping to start a #photobombjohn hashtag.” They laughed. “First nomination, Joe. Congratulations, the film was spectacular.”
“Thanks. I’m not going to win, though.”
“No, you’re not,” Sherlock said. “Good on you for accepting it now.”
“You’re so fucking cheerful, Sherlock.”
“Realism is the less heartbreaking outlook.”
“Jesus, John, how do you stand it? I mean, he’s cute and all, but damn.”
John laughed. “Haven’t you heard? It’s a publicity stunt.”
“Must be the longest one on record.”
“Have you seen Leo? I think he should be my next photobomb victim.”
“I just saw him, I think he’s up there by the little platform whatever thingie. Oh, and watch out, Mel is here.”
“Why is that cause for caution?” Sherlock said, frowning.
“Oh, you didn’t hear? He told Paul that he was going to come as late as he could tonight so he wouldn’t run into ‘those British queens’.”
John had to laugh. It was all the remark deserved. “It is so fucking hilarious that he thinks his opinion matters bugger-all to anyone anymore.”
Sherlock snorted. “And that’s he’s either stupid or self-centered enough to say such a thing to Paul, who he must know is a friend of ours.”
Joe’s publicist was pulling him away. “See you later, guys. John, we have to talk about the...the thing with that one script, the one Alan wrote?”
“I know, we will. Good luck tonight,” John said.
He and Sherlock continued on, pausing for photos now and then. “Is it my imagination, or has the frenzy for photographs of us died down a bit?” John said.
“Not your imagination. Newer and shinier targets have supplanted us.”
“Thank God. It took long enough.” They moved off down the carpet again. “I suppose we’re just another boring Hollywood couple now.”
“Was that not the whole point?”
John stopped. He looked out at the camera banks, the reporters, the screaming fans. Some of them were holding signs, mostly for this years’ nominees, but he spotted a few for him and Sherlock. He waved at the bleachers, getting a surge of shouts and cheers in return. He saw a young man blow him a kiss; he pointed at him and winked. The young man pretended to faint.
Sherlock had stopped a few yards further along and was looking back at him. John was frozen to the spot, momentarily overwhelmed by his own life.
Jesus Christ, John. You’re at the Oscars for the second time in as many years. And why are you back this year? Because you fucking WON last year. These cheers you’re hearing? They’re for you. That career rebirth you’d all but given up on? You’ve got it. That solitary life you’d resigned yourself to? A distant memory. Joke’s on you, Johnny. See that gorgeous chap who looks like he strolled off the cover of GQ? The one currently looking at you like you’ve gone mad? He’s your husband. Try not to look too addle-brained, you’re on national television.
John shook his head a bit and met Sherlock’s eyes; the nonverbal exchange was fast. Where did you go just now?
Just having a moment. All’s well.
All right, then?
Yeah, fine, I’ll tell you later.
Right, tell me later.
Sherlock held out his hand. John walked forward and took it, and they resumed their course down the carpet. “Are you still bored?”
“Excruciatingly,” Sherlock said, but his eyes were twinkling and his thumb was stroking the back of John’s hand.
“All right, then. Do him, the one with the hat.”
“Is that all I am to you? A performing bear for your amusement? Cheap entertainment?”
“No, of course not, you’re also a pretty good shag. Although I suppose that could also be considered cheap entertainment.”
Sherlock shook his head, sighing in mock irritation. “What has become of my life?” he mused.
“Same thing that’s become of mine.” John stretched up and kissed him. He heard cheers and shrieks and a flurry of cameras clicking, but paid them no mind. “I love you,” he murmured.
“I love you, too.” Sherlock smiled at him. “Now, which one did you want me to do? The one with the hat?”
I have some folks I'd like to thank here at the end. First of all my amazing beta, tzikeh. You guys have no idea. For their unwavering support and willingness to let me talk at them about story points I must also thank fandom girlfriends mariemjs, moony, mazarin221b, my Britpicker Kayleigh, my Hollywood Insider Crystal, and most of all, every one of you readers for the encouragement and comments. Many thanks also to anyone who's ever drawn fanart of this story; there's been some great stuff. I plan to make an art masterpost at some point.
I'm not done with Actor!John-and-Sherlock. All my ficcing will be taking a brief hiatus while new episodes air, but once the furor has died down, there'll be new fic from me, namely the Genie's Blog "origin story," and additional stories that follow along from "Performance," most notably John and Sherlock's wedding, which I suspect some of you may be disappointed not to have seen in this story. Patience!
My deepest, humblest thanks, and I'll see you all soon!