Fridays at the surgery were always the worst. The regular weekday staff were all counting down the minutes until the weekend, the patients were all trying to get in to see the doctor before close, and all of London were trying to cram on the Tube for the commute home. By the time John walked in the door to 221B, he was already looking forward to a good long night in front of the telly with nothing more mentally taxing than deciding what curry to order.
Thoughts of a peaceful evening were ruined by Mycroft’s presence on the sofa, however. He and Sherlock were silently glaring at each other and had been for some time, John guessed, since he hadn’t heard shouting as he made his way up the stairs. He nodded briefly at Mycroft and headed straight for the kitchen.
“Excellent idea,” Sherlock said aloud. “No tea for Mycroft, though - that’s a courtesy I’d like to reserve for welcome guests.”
John swallowed back a retort about how a) he hadn’t actually offered tea, and b) it’s not like Sherlock would have been the one offering tea even if Mycroft had been welcome in the first place. Instead he filled the kettle, plugged it in, and leaned back against the counter to wait for it to beep.
“I’m serious,” Mycroft said. He was out of John’s line of sight but his carefully neutral voice carried just fine. “Mummy is worried about you.”
“That’s her favorite pastime - I’d hate to disappoint her.”
“And yet you so frequently do.” A rustling noise, which John knew from experience was Mycroft twirling his folded umbrella against the fabric of the sofa cushions. “She’s got someone for you to meet when you come home for Christmas - Lady Ashton’s daughter Annabelle. A doctor, Mummy tells me, so perhaps good enough for your attention after all.” John didn’t need to see Mycroft’s face to hear the sneer.
“Come now, Sherlock. Mummy lives for the day you meet a nice young woman and settle down-”
“I’m gay, damn it!” Sherlock shot out of his armchair with a snarl and started pacing, in and out of the sliver of living room John could see from his position near the kitchen counter. “When are you and darling Mummy going to understand that? I’m not going to settle down with a ‘nice young woman.’ Simply won’t happen.”
“You say that now, brother dear, but she still lives in hope that you will get over this phase and come to your senses.”
“Tell her I’d rather fuck men, Mycroft. Is that blunt enough for you?”
“So crude - but how would you know? Rather academic when it’s all theoretical anyway, isn’t it?”
There was next to zero possibility that the Holmes brothers had forgotten John’s presence, but it certainly felt like they’d failed to remember he was still there. John was used to Mycroft’s carefully phrased diplomacy - hearing such a cutting tone was jarring all on its own, and that wasn’t even considering the content of his comments. Apparently it was possible for Mycroft to be even more annoying.
So Sherlock was gay. He’d never actually said anything, beyond their stilted conversation about “married to my work” the first day they met, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise. The “theoretical” part was slightly more unexpected: John would have put even odds on Sherlock either being terribly inexperienced or having fucked anything that moved during his substance abuse phase. Having it confirmed (well, sort-of confirmed) was a bit surreal, though. There was something innately sexual about Sherlock - the way he moved, the way he dressed, the timbre of his voice - but he almost never used it, even on cases. The fact that women’s (and gay men’s) attraction tended to wither within five minutes of actually speaking to him didn’t help, but still.
Sherlock paced past the kitchen doorway again and John was struck by how easily he could read his flatmate now, even given just a few seconds of body language. Sherlock was tense, obviously, but it was a different tension than when he was solving a crime. Then it was nervous energy - channeled, coiled, ready to spring forth at the slightest opportunity as soon as a break in the case came. Now the tension was . . . twisted, somehow. Sherlock was angry with Mycroft and angry with himself and he didn’t know how to express it. Ashamed of himself, perhaps?
Fuck it. John may not have been gay himself, but he’d be damned if he was going to let Sherlock be beat up for it. By his family or by himself.
“Sherlock?” John moved forward a few steps so he could catch his flatmate’s eye. “Can you come in here a second, please?”
Sherlock didn’t stop glaring, but he redirected his steps toward the kitchen. As soon as he was close enough, John grabbed his hand. It was warm and slightly damp and Sherlock blinked in shock.
“I owe you an apology,” John said with just enough volume to be sure Mycroft overheard. “I had no idea you were still being harassed about this. I was being selfish.”
Sherlock gaped at him - but, John was pleased to note, didn’t pull back his hand.
“Your happiness is more important than me staying in the closet,” John continued, fixing Sherlock with a significant look. Just go with it. It’s all fine.
“John.” It was all Sherlock seemed to be able to manage.
And it was confirmation that the great consulting detective was more affected by the situation than he would have been willing to admit. “If you want to go public,” John continued, “I’ll deal with the fallout at work, I really will. Sarah can’t resent me forever. We can ignore the jokes at the Yard - hell, we’re ignoring them anyway. I just don’t want to see you work yourself up over this.”
Sherlock was still frozen, thunderstruck, his magnificent brain obviously working a mile a minute to revise everything he knew about Watson, John and associated topics. John rubbed his thumb gently over the back of Sherlock’s hand and shot him a small smile - probably the same one he’d have been using if he really had been in love with his flatmate. Which I’m not, of course. Obviously. But if I were-
“Are you sure?” Sherlock’s eyes darted over John’s face, taking in the smile and the angle of his jaw and the tilt of his eyebrows and what were probably a hundred other tiny tells, but John felt no need to hide anything. They both knew Sherlock’s are you sure? was I don’t know why you’d do this for me - I don’t deserve it. And John was very damn sure. Because no matter how “not gay” John might have been, Sherlock definitely didn’t deserve to be belittled for his orientation.
“Love - it’s fine. It’s all fine.” John squeezed Sherlock’s hand one last time before letting go and wandering over to pop his head out into the living room. “Mycroft?”
The elder Holmes brother fixed him with an impassive expression.
“It’s not theoretical,” John said. “I fucked your little brother silly just last night on the very spot you’re sitting, if you really must know. And if I had known you were giving him shit over being gay, I would have let him go public about us a lot earlier. So do us both a favor and fuck off please, if you would? Sherlock and I have a lot to talk about, apparently.”
Mycroft stiffened at the mention of sex on the sofa, but otherwise didn’t move. “You’re lying,” he said. “I could list off fifteen observations demonstrating you’re clearly heterosexual.”
“I can show you one big one that proves we’re not,” John countered. “Observe.” And he launched himself at his flatmate for a full-on kiss.
The momentum knocked Sherlock back against the kitchen table. There was a brittle sound of something breaking, a tense second of no motion at all, then Sherlock was moaning and parting his lips hesitantly and John felt no shame about sweeping in to possess his flatmate’s mouth. He tasted of coffee (his beverage of choice during cases) and toothpaste and warmth and John moaned in return as he sank into the kiss. Somewhere between Sherlock opening his mouth and John mapping out every square inch with his tongue, they ended up with Sherlock’s arms locked around John’s neck and John’s arms holding tightly to Sherlock’s hips and it was absolutely marvelous.
There was only a tiny fraction of John’s brain still working as intended, but that fraction pointed out that the point of this was for Mycroft to see. Which meant moving. Which meant letting go of the kiss-
No. John tightened his grip around Sherlock’s waist and started shuffling backwards. Sherlock made a needy little sound and hesitated, but ultimately followed when John’s hands started guiding him forward. John walked the two of them to the center of the living room, still locked in their embrace, still mostly focused on the feel of Sherlock’s tongue hesitantly coming up to trace his own-
Mycroft cleared his throat. Loudly.
Sherlock started, his spine straightening, but John still finished off the kiss with a languid press before letting go and stepping back. Sherlock’s eyes were wide open, just staring at him with something between awe and astonishment. John found himself wishing he could put that look on his flatmate’s face more often.
“Guess we’re out now,” he said quietly, holding Sherlock’s gaze. “Mycroft, fuck off.”
Mycroft made a big show of gathering up his umbrella and standing, but John and Sherlock both pointedly ignored him. They didn’t move until the downstairs door had closed firmly and the flat was once again silent.