When Sherlock put the beaker filled with exactly 443,7 millilitre beer in front of his friend on the table, John knew that this evening wasn't going to be like what he had imagined.
But a pub-crawl with his best friend, best man and back-from-the-dead-detective was basically nothing that the two had ever done before. Since Sherlock did everything different, John, a mere mortal, asked himself why he still wondered about anything that Sherlock did.
Sherlock had an extra app on his Smartphone, in which he catalogued the amount of alcohol consumed and calculated their blood alcohol levels. He checked the precise timing for it all with his stopwatch.
„Oh, we're on a schedule?“ John asked with a sceptical gaze on the timer.
Sherlock grinned: „You'll thank me.“
Of course, their pub-crawl had come with a theme. Sherlock wanted to visit the pubs on streets where the two of them had once found a dead body.
He called it 'the personal touch'.
John knew he should find this fact macabre, but he automatically translated Sherlock's theme to "we-had-so-many-beautiful-moments-together-while-solving-these-cases." After knowing him for so long, 'Sherlockian' was John's second language.
The next bar was near London Bridge. They sat in strange wicker furniture and drank their second beer in comfortable silence. Or more specifically, the second 443.7 millilitres of beer. John began to wonder what he gotten himself into, but it was nice to go out with Sherlock for once. Although the evening started out a bit awkward.
Their next trip was to Whitechapel, where they had their third 'millilitres' beer at the bar. Sherlock had already finished his beer, while John's beaker was still more than half full. With regret, John realised that Sherlock was in a hurry and didn't want to sit in a pub longer than necessary. They spent more time going from pub to pub than they spent drinking.
Attic', the next bar, was near Waterloo Bridge. Sherlock dragged John into it to have their fourth beer. The detective seemed to be more interested in his obvious experiment with alcohol and with the statistics on his app.
When they arrived at the fifth bar in Soho, John noticed a slight change in Sherlock's behaviour. He didn't seem quite so tense any more and John slowly started to have fun on their tour. It was nice to travel through London again, and to reminisce about the good old days before Sherlock...
Everything was fine.
With a happy 'cheers' they clinked their beakers and drank their beer in one-shot.
For the first time on their tour, John felt the call of nature at the next bar. The music was loud, and they could hardly understand a word. He looked searchingly around the room, and then Sherlock pointed in one direction, "over there."
"Toilets. Any second now you're going to need..." Sherlock grabbed his cell phone to look at his statistics, when John put his hand on his arm to interrupt his sentence.
"Hang on, tell me after. I need the loo." John stood up and looked around once more, a bit irritated when Sherlock mumbled: "Hmm, on schedule"
"Nothing. Go!" Sherlock pointed in the direction of the toilets again.
When John came back, Sherlock's first question was: "How long?"
"Sorry?" John sat back on his chair in front of Sherlock.
"Your visit," Sherlock's voice was emotionless as ever, but it was obvious that the alcohol slowly took its toll.
John looked at Sherlock briefly in disbelief and then totally ignored his question.
„Estimate approximate volume discharge...“
"Stop talking now!" John looked at him seriously and then winked at him. Sherlock was briefly irritated by that and with a short disappointed look he tucked his smartphone away in his coat pocket.
In the next pub John fetched the beer from the bar. He drank a shot and ordered another, which he then secretly poured into Sherlock's beer. As he handed Sherlock the glass, the detective luckily didn't seem to notice the added alcohol.
Apparently Sherlock's observation was extremely impaired under the influence of alcohol. John grinned inwardly. Now the party could start.
Before John could enjoy the fruits of his labors, fatigue slowly spread inside his body. He propped his increasingly heavy head on his hand, while watching Sherlock loudly chatting with another man. John only got parts of the conversation, so it didn't make any sense to him.
Apparently he had missed something.
"I KNOW ASH!" Sherlock grouched at his opponent.
"Don't tell me I don't!" Sherlock tapped the man's shoulder forcefully and his opponent used that as an excuse to throw a punch at Sherlock. However, Sherlock still reacted surprisingly well by dodging backwards. The man had put so much force in his swing, that he stumbled forward and crashed into a table.
John jumped up, grabbed Sherlock and pulled him away from the man, all while the detective was still trying to strike his aggressor. Fortunately John had the detective firmly in his grip. This was certainly not the first time in his life that John had been forced to end a bar fight.
"All right, enough! That's... Stand up." John shoved Sherlock to the door.
"Ash! I know ash!" Sherlock called out to his attacker, while his friend steered him out through the door.
John didn't know how they arrived home, but they needed a long time to unlock the front door. The keyhole was too damn small and tended to jump away before they got the key into it.
They supported each other on the way to the stairs, however climbing them turned out to be an insurmountable endeavour. And they were so tired.
"Let's take a break? " Sherlock shuffled and sat on one of the bottom steps.
John sat down beside him and rested his head wearily on the step above him. Sherlock turned his back to him and pressed himself close to John's body. It was uncomfortable and cold and John crossed his arms over his chest, pleased with the little bit of heat that emanated from Sherlock.
"I have an international reputation," Sherlock muttered suddenly. Then he raised his head and asked, "Do you have an international reputation? "
"No, I don't have an international reputation", John muttered grumpily.
"No." Sherlock rested his head back on the steps and closed his eyes.
After a while he turned his head back towards John and muttered: "And I can't even remember what for."
John quickly frowned his forehead thoughtfully.
"Shhhh," murmured Sherlock.
There was a moment of silence. Until Sherlock slurred: "Crime... something or other."
Mrs Hudson came out of her apartment to bring out the rubbish when she saw her two boys on the stairs nearly asleep.
"Oh, what are you doing back? I thought you were going to be up late."
„Ah, Hudders. What time is it?“ Sherlock asked without moving or opening his eyes.
Mrs. Hudson looked at her watch and just as she passed them to go to the door she said, "You've only been out two hours."
With this statement, the two friends tried to get up from the stairs at the same time, which was difficult when they were wedged together like two peas in a pod. When Sherlock had untangled his long legs, he fell roughly on the step below and looked at John in confusion.
Finally reaching their flat, John clumsily toed off his shoes with a not very elegant movement and poured Sherlock and himself a glass of whiskey. Then he slumped into his armchair.
"What do you want to do? Do you want to play something?" Sherlock asked John, peeking from under his heavy eyelids, while he settled into his armchair.
"Who Am I?" John suggested.
"What is it?" gestured the detective.
"We write a name on a note and stick it on each other's forehead. And you have to guess who you are with 'yes' or 'no' questions."
Sherlock pursed his lips and searched his desk for cigarette leaves, even though he had tried to give up smoking for years.
When he finally found them, he threw a pen roughly in John's direction; surprisingly, he caught it without any problems.
Sherlock scribbled 'Madonna' on his note and stumbled back to John. He knelt in front of him and licked briefly on the adhesive surface before carefully sticking the note on John's forehead. Then he thrust the leaves in John's hands and grinned at him briefly.
"Don't look!" John chuckled and ran his hand erratically over Sherlock's face, so that he closed his eyes. John didn't have to think long for a name. He wrote 'Sherlock Holmes' on his note, licked it and pushed Sherlock's curls away tenderly before sticking the note on his friend.
Sherlock pulled himself up in his armchair and took his glass of whiskey in his hand while he looked attentively at John. His blogger was leaning forward in his armchair, his left foot lightly touched Sherlock's outstretched legs.
Huskily John finally asked: "Am I a vegetable?"
„You or the... thing...?“
Sherlock snickered: „Thank you.”
“No, you're not a vegetable.“
John erratically held his hands up in surrender and leaned back. "It's your go." He took a sip of his drink while he waited for Sherlock's question.
"Erm... am I human?"
"Can't have sometimes. It has to be, um..."
"Yes, you're human."
"Yes or no. Okay. And am I a man? "
John held his arms thoughtfully in the air and muttered: "Not as tall as people think."
„I would say so.“
John chuckled as Sherlock continued to ask: „Hmm, am I important?“
„To some people.“
„Do people like me?“, Sherlock rolled his eyes at the word 'people '.
John put his glass down with a grin and leaned back in his chair. "Erm, no they don't. You tend to rub them up the wrong way."
John chuckled again when Sherlock leaned forward in his chair and guessed : "Am I the current King of England? "
"We...." John laughed: "You know we don't have a King? "
" No." In that moment Sherlock thought that there wasn't anything more beautiful than hearing John laugh. How much he had missed that.
John leaned forward a little too much and slid out of his armchair between Sherlock's legs. To support himself he took hold of Sherlock's knee and pushed himself back into his chair, before he realised where he had put his hand .
He removed his hand from Sherlock and held them both briefly in the air as he said more to himself, "I don't mind."
"It's okay ," whispered Sherlock, who looked at John and grinned.
"Am I a woman?"
Sherlock chuckled and John grinned after a while and asked: "What?"
"Yes." Sherlock slowly leaned forward.
"Am I... pretty?" John closed his eyes and pointed to his note. "This."
He put his head on his hand and looked at Sherlock with expectant blue eyes.
Sherlock leaned forward and slowly explained: “Beauty is a construct based entirely on childhood impressions, influences and role models."
And I think you're beautiful.
Sherlock hoped very much that he had only said that in his mind. When John, undeterred, asked further, he had soothing certainty .
"Yeah, but am I a pretty lady?" John pulled his lower lip into his mouth and looked at Sherlock again with those wide expectant eyes.
Sherlock leaned very close to him and squinted to read the note: "I don't know who you are. I don't know who you're supposed to be."
John fell back in frustration: "You picked the name!"
"But I picked it at random from the papers." He gestured vaguely towards his desk.
"You're not really getting the hang of this game, are you Sherlock?" John put his feet on Sherlock's armchair.
"So I am human, I'm not as tall as some people think I am. I'm... I'm nice-ish, clever, important to some people. But I tend to rub them up the wrong way."
Sherlock laughed again and John got infected by it: "Got it "
"Go on, then."
„I'm you, aren't I?“
John laughed and shook his head. "You have to give me a new note. How should I guess the name if you can't answer any question from me? "
Sherlock made an affirmative noise and let himself slowly fall forward from his chair, on the rug between the two of them. He knelt in front of his friend, who had leaned forward slightly. Sherlock had trouble keeping his balance on his knees, and he slid his hand onto John's thigh to hold himself steady. With his other hand, he tore the note off of John's forehead, crumpled it and threw it behind him, with a huge grin on his face.
„Close your eyes“, he said quietly.
John snickered and closed his eyes. Sherlock lost his sense of time, when he gazed at John sitting so close in front of him. His eyes were closed, relaxed. John wore a gentle grin of happiness. He had missed John so much during these two years. Only now he realized the full extent of his feelings towards his friend.
He put his hand on John's cheek and slowly stroked it. John opened his eyes slowly and looked at him a little surprised.
„Sherlock, are you okay?“
The detective slowly shook his head. „You're here again.“
John smiled: „Because you're here.“
„Do you mind?“ Sherlock nodded with his head towards his hand that still stroked John's cheek.
John shook his head slowly, then he cocked his head and slid from his chair until he was kneeling on the floor in front of Sherlock.
„Come here“, John whispered and pulled his friend into his arm. Sherlock pulled John as close to him as he could. He could feel the warmth of his friend. The heat which gave him comfort and security. Sherlock buried his face into John's shoulder and breathed in his scent. His lips touched the skin on his neck, he felt the rapid pulse. Accelerated pulse, there was something significant about that... But he couldn't remember what it was.
Amazing how quickly instincts take over, if you can't think properly. Sherlock ran his mouth over John's neck and let it slide up to his ear.
„Stay with me, will you?“
He felt John nodding: "Always."
Sherlock looked at him. John's eyes were so expectant, a little bit shy. A small smile turned up his lips. When John briefly moistened them with his tongue, Sherlock's decision was made. The detective leaned forward and kissed his blogger. To his great surprise and delight, his friend kissed him back.
John pushed Sherlock's jacket over his shoulder and then buried his hands in the detective's thick curls as he deepened the kiss. Sherlock's thoughts came to an abrupt halt when he felt John's tongue in his mouth. There was only John.
Sherlock broke the kiss briefly to free his friend from his blue jumper. His hands wandered over John's chest. Way too much fabric. He began to unbutton John's shirt. To his great joy, John's hands began to open his shirt too. John's hands were so warm, so careful but yet determined. He knew exactly what he was doing and that gave Sherlock the sense of security that he needed to relax into his touch.
Sherlock startled when Mrs. Hudson came to their flat with a: "Yoo hoo!"
Irritated, he looked around. Sunlight fell into the Baker Street flat and blinded him briefly. What had happened? His head ached terribly. John .... They had kissed and...
Sherlock noticed that he was sitting in his chair, still wearing his clothes from yesterday. In his own chair, opposite him, John was still asleep. He had put his feet under himself and had laid his head on his arms atop the arm rest.
John was still wearing his clothes.
"Are you okay? Did you two have fun yesterday?" asked Mrs. Hudson. She handed Sherlock a cup of tea.
"I'm not sure."
Sherlock tried to get up, but it took a couple of tries. He knelt in front of John and ran his hand through his friend's short blond hair.
John grunted and pressed his face deeper into his arm.
"Hey ... I have tea for you."
Slowly John opened his eyes, only to groan and to close them again .
"I'd rather have an aspirin," he murmured softly.
Sherlock smiled briefly and looked expectantly at Mrs. Hudson. Normally, she would have quipped, 'I'm not your housekeeper', and then fetched an aspirin for John. But in this case, she said nothing, but she beamed happily at her two boys, before she went into the kitchen.
Sherlock was glad that nothing had happened between him and John last night. From the state of their clothing, it was obvious that he had only dreamed about their kiss and everything that came after that. He loved John and didn't want to rush things. Above all, he wanted to experience all of that with his full senses – without the influence of alcohol.
Unfortunately, he now recalled the reason for their evening together. John and Mary were about to be married. And John would leave him.
Sherlock was egocentric in all situations. However, in this moment, he became aware of the exception. John.
He loved John, and he wanted nothing more than for John to be happy. At this moment, Sherlock swore a vow to himself that he would do everything in his power to ensure just that.