The first time Sherlock tried to tell John he loved him, they were out on a case. The setting was perfect. The night was clear and the stars shined brightest. They were high on adrenaline, and still chasing after the criminal.
“He must have gotten away.” John breathed, hunching over. “Can we-”
“Not stopping.” Sherlock voiced, but slowed down once he noticed John far behind. “John…”
“Sorry Sherlock. My age is getting to me.” John rasped, gripping Sherlock’s arm. He squeezed it affectionately, grinning.
“Ah John. You’re not old. You are two years, and nearly six months older than I am. Which puts you at thirty five.”
John giggled, brushing his cheek against Sherlock’s shoulder.
“Sherlock” He breathed, still giggling. “Two years, but so many more according to this body.”
“Not all the time.” Sherlock smirked.
“That-” John breathed in again. “Sherlock, that is private. What goes on when we’re alone, is private. For many reasons…”
“One being, you don’t want the Yard teasing you…”
“Sherlock, I also do it for the fact that one of your enemy’s could use it against us.” John leaned against him. “Come on. We have to find that man.”
“John…” Sherlock stopped him from running off. “I want to tell you something…”
“Anything.” John looked up at him.
“I…” Sherlock paused, looking behind John. He spotted the man coming up behind him, with a bat. Instead of speaking he pushed John aside, and attacked the criminal that was going to harm them.
After being pushed around and hit twice in the ribs, Lestrade and his minions finally showed up and arrested the man. Sherlock sat in the back of an ambulance, wincing under the orange blanket.
“Alright Sherlock, lets get you home before Lestrade has you admitted.” John walked over, helping him stand. “What were you going to say earlier?”
“Oh nothing. It was about the man. That’s all.” Sherlock lied, dismissing his thoughts from earlier. Another time would suffice.
The second time Sherlock tried to tell John he loved him was in the morning. There hadn’t been a case for three days, and Sherlock was bored. He had set up an experiment in the kitchen with a liver. John didn’t like it, but didn’t say anything.
John decided to shave on the particular day part of the liver, (or was it another one? He couldn’t tell) was resting in the bath tub. Resting, meaning, various parts in separate corners.
Sherlock barged in, donned in gloves and goggles.
“Sherlock, should I even be in here?” John asked, afraid.
“Oh don’t be frightened John. I’m doing this in case it explodes…” Sherlock answered.
“I don’t want bloody liver on my toothbrush. Or on the tiles, or anything….” John pulled him back. “Sherlock…”
“John, you’re saving. Finish up, and you will be fine.” Sherlock replied turning back to his liver.
“John…” He faced him, smiling at his half covered in shaving crème face. Sherlock pulled his gloves off, and grabbed John for a kiss. Shocked, John waved his hand around with the razor.
“Sherlock!” John pulled away, breathing heavily.
“What? I found you acceptable in shaving crème. Very acceptable, and arousing…”
“Sherlock, I have work….” John shook his head.
“You have an hour till work.” Sherlock smiled, kissing him again. He pushed John up against the counter, pushing his legs apart. “And,”
“God, stop talking.” John breathed, kissing Sherlock again.
‘I just wanted to say I love you…’ Sherlock thought, before feeling John’s tongue flick his bottom lip. After that, he was lost.
The third time Sherlock tried to tell John he loved him, he knew it would be nearly impossible. If he said it at that moment, everyone would know. Everyone meaning, Donovan, Anderson, and Lestrade. Lestrade might keep it to himself. But he knew Donavan and Anderson would think John was forced and tease the both of them endlessly.
But the reason was simple. John had made all the correct deductions. Nothing (except the fact the woman was a lesbian, but it was very, very hard to tell) John said was wrong.
“She was out.” John paused. “With a man…”
‘Wrong.’ Sherlock thought, almost saying it out loud. He held his tongue though. Out of his partners respect.
“She had sex. Lot’s of it buy the look of her back. She was poisoned. Needle right at the base of the neck, barely visible. That didn’t kill her…”
“Alright, you can stop playing detective, doctor.” Anderson interrupted, moving towards the body. Sherlock’s arm jolted out, stopping the idiot before he broke John’s thought.
“He’s correct. Do us a favor and stop thinking before the entire world, including myself, become the ape you are.” Sherlock stated, watching John cautiously. His brow was set, and his thumb was between his teeth. He was thinking.
“She was suffocated.” John finally spoke. “There are trace amounts of cotton around her mouth and nostrils. And it’s from an all cotton pillowcase. Standard queen…”
“All correct John.” Sherlock spoke, as if it was only he and John. “Very, very impressive. I lo-”
He hadn’t noticed that his feet had carried him to John. Their noses were inches apart, but all they did was stare.
“Sherlock.” John finally spoke, “You must be delirious.”
“Are not. I love that you’re finally learning.” He huffed as John walked away as if nothing happened. His eyes fell upon Donovan and Anderson. Their mouths could nest bats at that moment. And he smiled in triumph.
“So she was killed during sex?” Lestrade asked, respectfully ignoring what just happened to Sherlock’s relief.
“Yes, but actually one thing was wrong.”
“Oh, and do tell us what that is, since I was wrong, Sherlock.” John breathed out.
“She is a lesbian. The nail scrapes on her back are much closer than a mans would be, and there is a trace of nail polish.”
“Ah.” John smiled. Sherlock smiled too. His John. Always, his John.
This was all really getting to Sherlock by now. The forth time blew up in his face. He had tried to tell John, out loud, that he was in love with him.
‘I love you John.’ Sherlock had said many times before the attempts and in his head. It shouldn’t be this hard to express ones love.
Quiet literally, did this one blow up in his face. Sherlock decided to go domestic this time. By baking. Yes, Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker St. decided to bake for his beloved.
It was quite simple really. He was going to make a small cake out of John’s favorite recipe (which he got a hold of after stealing John’s laptop and emailing Harry). And just spell out in frosting I Love You John. Even Sherlock didn’t like the idea, but he had run out of options. Cases were bad to say I love you. Crime scenes, and chasing criminals, were also bad. Even kissing with shaving crème all over their faces didn’t work, and he thought that would.
So a cake would do. That is until he put too much of something, and when he took it out of the oven (baking shouldn’t be this hard for Sherlock’s genius, but it was.) it kind of exploded.
Sherlock DID NOT want to go into details with this one. Attempt four just exploded with his hopes.
Maybe John just knew Sherlock was in love with him. That would be much more practical, and just them.
But John was an idiot. And Sherlock knew that much.
Also, John wasn’t too happy about the messy kitchen when he came home from surgery. Some shouting ensued, then some very lovely (and angry), and not too loud (hopefully) make up sex on the flour covered kitchen table followed.
He was too exhausted to even attempt to whisper those words to John.
The One Time He Knew He Had Gotten It Right:
“We are going to the pub, if you would care to join us.” Lestrade offers, throwing his coat on. It had been a good case. Only one murder, and Sherlock prevented three more, and caught the man.
Even though now, his, and John’s noses were bandaged for being broken.
“Maybe next time.” John answers for himself and Sherlock.
“Alright.” Lestrade walks away from them.
“You want to go.” Sherlock speaks, walking close to John.
“You don’t want to go.” John counters, fighting the urge to scratch his nose.
“We should go.” He says. John stated at him, forgetting the pain. “Close your mouth John. It is unattractive and flies will inhabit themselves. I do not wish to kiss a maggot filled mouth.”
“You just said we should go to the pub. With the Yard.” John stated, ignoring Sherlock’s comment.
“Very nice deduction John.” Sherlock deadpanned, grabbing the mans wrist. “This will sound very unlike me, but here it goes. You like that kind of stuff. Acquainting yourself with others you know you see often. Lestrade, Sarah, Donovan, Anderson, etc. They think very highly of you, and think you must be psycho to be my friend. They do not know of our, secret would be the best word. I force you to follow, even though you volunteer. I should at least try to make sacrifices for you as well. Even if that means spending time with the most obtuse people that could inhabit this city.”
“What have you done with Sherlock Holmes?” John asked, stopping them.
“John, I am still the same. I guess you could say, that I am learning.” He dismissed John’s face. “I will still have mood swings, not talk, eat, or sleep for days, and will insult anyone within the vicinity of where I am standing.”
Sherlock watched John’s eyes widen. He really wanted to pull the idiot in for a kiss, but they were in public, and Mycroft could see them on camera. In fact, Mycroft probably had a few of their impromptu kisses on CCTV.
“To the pub then…” John finally spoke, striding ahead of Sherlock. Good, he left John a lot to think about.
Within minutes they entered the noisy infested pub, catching Lestrade’s eye. Everyone else looked like they had died at the sight of Sherlock spoiling their fun.
“Relax everyone.” Lestrade announced as John took a seat next to him, and Sherlock on the other side for good measure.
The night was entirely boring. John had two beers, but didn’t want to drink more. Sherlock didn’t touch the alcohol, for it would slow him down, and being in public with drunks around him, he needed to be quick.
He snuck glances at John, who was preoccupied by a story Donovan was telling him. Even Lestrade was listening in, and laughing at the appropriate time. Donovan was making a pass at John, who had no idea. Sherlock found this amusing. And finally made his way over.
“Hello freak.” Donovan said, swiveling her stool toward Sherlock. “Surprised you showed up.”
“I only wanted to observe the cougar in her main habitat. Since Anderson favored his wife over you last week, you are bound to be looking for some sad bloke.” Sherlock smiled, watching her eyes narrow. “And that surly won’t be John.”
“Possessive are we?” She sneered.
Sherlock just turned his attention back to John before grabbing his coat. Pulling, Sherlock slammed his lips against Johns before the doctor had any time to protest. He didn’t. Sherlock wrapped his arm around John, feeling the contact, and basking in the glory of the people who were shocked. (Even though it pained his and John's noses.)
When air was needed, both men pulled away. John had turned a bright shade of pink, and Sherlock felt dizzy with the lack of oxygen.
“Of course I am a tad bit possessive of the man I love Sergeant Donovan.” Sherlock replied effortlessly.
And when John’s lips were back against his within seconds of that statement Sherlock knew this was the one, and perfect time he had gotten it right.