Sherlock isn't someone naturally suited to routine. As far as John can see, he doesn't believe in doing anything regularly. Thank heavens he does shower, but it's at all times of day, sometimes up to four times in the same day if Sherlock feels the urge. (John has learnt to take early showers out of necessity and the limited size of their hot water system.)
The one and only exception to Sherlock's entire way of life is Sunday tea. Every Sunday afternoon at exactly four o'clock John will find himself dragged into some café, restaurant or hotel for afternoon tea. As far as John's concerned, afternoon tea should be a cuppa and a few biscuits, not finger sandwiches and croissants, colourful macaroons and poetically described tea choices. He wants a cuppa, not an 'indulgent experience for the senses' that costs over twenty quid each. But come hell or high water -- or in Sherlock's case, mysterious disappearances and puzzling murders -- Sunday afternoons mean afternoon tea.
It's not the strangest thing about Sherlock, but it's baffling. Strange enough that eventually -- after five consecutive afternoon teas, all at different but equally expensive establishments -- John has to comment. "There's a pattern to our Sundays. It's not that I don't enjoy it but…. You keep taking me out for afternoon tea. It's a little odd."
"Sitting with someone else makes me look less eccentric," Sherlock says airily, helping himself to a vividly blue macaroon. "You appreciate routine and this is an outing I enjoy, so it should be a happy compromise."
"A happy compromise," John echoes because, well, what do you say to that?
"We're two people," Sherlock says, long fingers waving from himself to John, "going out and having fun."
John blinks and looks away, remembering saying something very similar not too long ago. But he'd been talking about dating Sarah and… "You make it sound like we're dating."
"We're not?" Despite a mouthful of sugar confectionary, Sherlock sounds genuinely surprised. "What are we missing?"
"You mean, what stops this from being a date?" John asks. He waits for the obvious answer to occur to him, but it doesn't. They're out in public and enjoying each other's company. Hell, Sherlock's even paid. Mostly because John can boil a kettle and make a cup of tea himself, so he refuses to pay ridiculous prices just to drink it in a fancy tea room, but Sherlock still paid. "Don't think we're missing anything, honestly."
"That's settled, then," Sherlock says, and in the same breath adds, "The blueberry macaroons are delicious, John. You really should try one. With your eyes closed if the colour unnerves you so much."
"I'll stick to my overpriced pot of tea, thanks."