On this night, Sherlock had finally found himself captured by the madman Moriarty with no John involved; the doctor had been safely oblivious of the kidnapping as it occurred. Eventually – after Sherlock had received countless amounts of threats from Moriarty – John had, of course, come to his rescue with Lestrade's team in tow.
Although Moriarty had somehow escaped from Lestrade's team, the entire 'getting out alive' ordeal was worth celebrating.
Said celebration was the reason John and Sherlock now sat in a local pub, sipping on alcoholic beverages. The slight buzz of the alcohol was successfully dragging down the adrenaline levels in both of their bodies, leaving them on a more normal level.
At the moment, Sherlock was showing John how the women in the pub were all there for different things. They had already examined 4 women, none of whom had been there for the same reason. One 22 year old woman with blonde hair was there to get drunk and find a man to take her home. Another was more toward 30 and was there specifically to have a good time with her friends. And so on and so forth had their time at the pub gone.
Apparently, Sherlock wasn't done teaching John in the ways of human analysis.
"She is having a midlife crisis," Sherlock said, subtly nodding his head in the direction of a forty-something brunette. "She believes her husband is cheating on her, and, although he isn't – and never would, by the looks of it – she feels entitled to do a little prowling herself. . . which has led her to this very bar."
"How could you possibly know that?" John asked before taking a sip out of his drink.
Sherlock grinned slightly. "She has a new hair style, as you can see by how even her hair is on every side, and she recently had those highlights put in as well. She is wearing a new dress that is meant for younger (perhaps late 20s, early 30s) women who have not had any children or who are undeniably lacking in the breast region. She bought that dress to make herself feel younger. It helps that the dress is rather revealing, which will surely draw the attention of some lonely bachelor with a kink for older women."
Sherlock took a long sip out of his drink before continuing, "That woman is still slightly uncomfortable, as evidenced by her constant fidgeting and quick glances, so it's obvious that this is her first time doing this sort of prowling. Her husband thinks she's at the house of a distanced, sick aunt, tending to her ailments. I can tell that by the texts she has been getting; she looks guilty upon typing responses, but she doesn't look nervous that he will know where she is, leading me to deduce that she is talking to her husband, who is blatantly worried about the relative, but not close enough to be able to freely contact her."
John took a moment to examine the woman, who indeed looked rather guilt-ridden. She attempted to type a few messages, obviously trying to come up with a plausible retort to her husband's previous text but continuously struggling to determine the best phrasing.
"Spot on, so it seems. As always." John grinned at Sherlock across the small table.
Sherlock made eye-contact with John and grinned back. "I always miss something, initially, though. You know that." The detective drew his attention away from John again and began scouting the room for more interesting people to decode.
There was a brief silence in which both men were lost in their own thoughts. John had a question on the tip of his tongue but was afraid to ask it; he wasn't so much worried about the answer as he was the reaction that the detective would have upon discovering said answer.
Finally, John decided to go for it. What type of soldier doesn't have the bravery to ask his flatmate a simple question?
John took a deep breath before finally asking, "What can you read about me right now, Sherlock?"
The detective dragged his attention away from a rather distraught-looking man who sat alone, cuddling a beer.
Sherlock studied John briefly.
"Do you honestly want me to answer that question, John?"
"Hit me with your best shot."
'Well, shit. I definitely shouldn't have said that,' John thought
Sherlock looked skeptical at first, but he eventually started examining everything from John's clothes to his skin and back again to his face and his eyes. John was watching the detective closely as his magnificent brain pieced together all the evidence that John didn't even know he had been carrying.
After a minute long examination, Sherlock finally spoke.
"I can tell that you are already quite possibly regretting asking me to tell you what I see."
John turned a slight shade of pink as he tore his gaze away from Sherlock's. He took the last sip out of his drink and knew that he would need more, and soon.
"Next, I can see that you are not as happy as you try to make others believe. Thirdly, the bags under your eyes signify that you have been incapable of getting a full nights rest for at least the last week; probably longer."
Sherlock examined John's face a bit harder, trying to figure everything else out.
"Why would you be losing sleep, though? What is there that could be keeping you up at night anymore? You and Sarah broke up months ago, so that is out of the question. You love the violence that we accidentally surround ourselves with every day, so it mustn't be night terrors."
John finally brought his attention back to Sherlock. His breathing subtly increased, and he began opening and closing his left hand under the table to calm himself. He stupidly forgot that his flatmate was Sherlock bloody Holmes.
"The only option left, relative to you, is that you have some sort of emotional issue that does not involve just you. You are troubled by some sort of feelings you have about someone you know. If it was a woman, you surely wouldn't be having such terrible inner battles, so that leads me to believe that this is a man you have these feelings for."
"You can stop now," John interrupted. The doctor had begun to lose all the color from his face as Sherlock worked his way ever closer to the truth.
"No, I'm almost done. I haven't figured out who this man is yet, though. It must be someone I know; we spend nearly every waking moment together. This must be a man you know well enough to feel a troubling amount of emotions for, so I can cross out any of the men we have only met a few times. So where does that leave me?"
Sherlock pondered for a millisecond before rattling off the list of the plausible contestants.
"There's Anderson, Lestrade, Mycroft, Angelo and myself."
John dropped his empty drink on the table at this time, a look of uncomfortable shock on his face.
"By your reaction, I can assume that I am correct in my deductions thus far; specifically the list of men. You obviously didn't think I would get all of this from looking at you."
John simply stared at Sherlock, his expression never changing. 'Don't think about how close he is getting to revealing everything, John. He will be able to see it in your eyes.'
To John's dismay, Sherlock continued on.
"I know that you would never be daft enough to have feelings for Anderson, so he is out of the picture. Angelo is too boring to be of any interest to you, and you have never interacted in such a way with Lestrade that would indicate any sort of feelings that went past amicable. So, that leaves us with a bit of an odd result: me or my brother."
"Sherlock . . ." John tried.
"No, John. This is all going to be finished in just a moment." He paused for a moment before continuing, "Mycroft is a manipulative, nosy, responsible adult with a lot of power. I am an undeniably rude sociopath with boundary issues."
"Having feelings for Mycroft would not entail a particularly difficult conflict. He is straightforward enough that he would almost immediately speak to you about all the feelings you were having. He watches you on the cameras often enough and has abducted you enough times to have had the opportunity to question you on your emotional matters. He's not busy enough right now to have to pass up the chance to call someone out on their feelings, which I know he would."
Sherlock brought his glass to his mouth, taking a long, deliberate sip from it.
"How do you know that he hasn't brought me in to question me, Sherlock?" John asked, hoping to mislead the detective in any way he could.
Sherlock smirked. "He would have told me by now, John. He would have rubbed it in my face that you were emotionally attached to him and not me; he would have tried to turn it around so that it seemed as though you only stay with me to be close to him." The detective fiddled with his glass that now lay on the table. He stared John in the eye as he said, "But we both know that's not the case, John."
John inhaled a short, shuttering breath. He continued the eye-contact with Sherlock across the table. John came to the realization soon after that the detective had figured all of this out some time ago, and he had probably known since the very start. This obviously meant that Sherlock didn't reciprocate the feelings, for, if he had truly known the entire time and felt the same way, he would have done something about it.
John decided that there was no harm in continuing to play dumb about the whole decoding, though.
"And what do you mean by that, Sherlock?" John was breathing short breaths through his nose, trying to remain composed.
Sherlock gave him his trademark look. "John, don't play stupid with me. We both know you're not stupid, let alone daft enough to not understand the point that we are speaking of."
The doctor tried to remain stoic, but the detective was staring at him in a way that was beginning to dissolve his defenses.
Finally, John relented.
"Alright, Sherlock. You've figured me out. You win." John stared back at Sherlock. "I know I asked for this, but I had no bloody idea that you would be able to see how I feel so easily. I thought, 'surely I must be hiding it well enough, Sherlock has never mentioned it to me before,' but now I know you have been holding this in for a while."
Sherlock continued to examine John across the table, twiddling his fingers together with a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. The detective said nothing in reply.
John continued, sensing that Sherlock was not going to answer him, "You allowed me to just look like a fool all this time; you let me suffer through these months of sleeplessness, feeling helpless and alone and tired. Why couldn't you have just put me out of my misery?"
Sherlock's face lost its happy edge at that. His eyes softened slightly, and he lowered his hands to the table.
A somewhat confused look crossed his face as he said, "John, I didn't know until now."
John studied Sherlock for any sort of dishonest glitch.
Sherlock continued, "I had an inkling that you might, possibly, have feelings for me, but I never truly knew. You are very subtle when you want to be, and you have only slipped up enough times to give me a suspicion about the way you feel." Sherlock paused. "The only reason I figured it out now is because I tried my hardest to tie everything together with your sleeping habits. I didn't intend on confronting you about my suspicions before, because I didn't want things to change between us if I was wrong, and you didn't have feelings for me."
John noticed the tone Sherlock had acquired on the last bit of his confession.
The doctor cleared his throat after a long pause, "So. . . Where does that leave us now, Sherlock?"
Sherlock was about to answer when suddenly, across the bar, there was a very angry shout.
"I bloody well knew it!" A glass shattered on the ground, thankfully quite a ways away from any bystanders.
John and Sherlock both looked in the direction of the ruckus and were shocked to see the man who had earlier been cuddling his beer gesturing angrily at the woman they had claimed to be "prowling" for younger men.
A man about the age of 28 sat in the chair next to the brunette, much too close to be simply chatting. The younger man had a look of sheer terror on his face, while the woman wore a look that appeared to be somewhere between confusion and guilt.
"I knew you been cheatin' on me! Telling me that you had to go care for your bloody Uncle Richard after his heart attack, you liar!" The woman's husband looked positively livid as he flailed his arms about in a drunken manner.
The brunette sat quietly, still evidently in shock at the turn of events that had occurred. Finally, she found her voice.
"Me? Cheating on YOU? You hypocritical sonofabitch, you've been sleeping with th-"
Sherlock took this moment to stand up and quickly walk over to where the fight was occurring.
"Excuse me, but if I could interject, I think I can explain this situation so you two will shut up and quit making fools of yourselves," Sherlock said, maneuvering between the man and his wife.
"Who the bloody hell are you to think you can just barge in on our conversation?" The man asked, jabbing a finger at Sherlock.
The detective grinned cunningly and said, "I'm Sherlock Holmes, and I'm going to save your marriage. Now sit down and shut up."
Sherlock grabbed a chair and dragged it across the floor to the standing man, encouraging him to sit. The husband grumbled ill-naturedly, but sat down nonetheless.
Sherlock cleared his throat before he started, "First, let me have your names, please."
The detective looked at the 28 year old man sitting next to Rachel expectantly.
Sherlock stopped himself from rolling his eyes.
"Alright, so, from what I have gathered, Rachel and Ben are married. You have been for at least 20 years, but things haven't been the same for the past few months. Both of you think the other is cheating on you, when, in fact, neither of you are." Sherlock directed his attention to Ben. "Rachel was – obviously – convinced you were sleeping with your babysitter, based on friendly chatter she had overheard out of context. You love her, though, and would never hurt her intentionally."
He looked at Rachel. "And Ben believes that you have been lying to him compulsively the past two weeks about where you were going and who you were seeing. The only time he has been correct is tonight, in which you told him you were going to care for your. . . who was it, again? Your Uncle Richard? Very clever, but not clever enough, you see. He had been coming here to sulk for the past few weeks, but you didn't know because you've been too busy worrying that your hips are too big and your wrinkles are the only things people are noticing about you when speak to them."
Sherlock grinned slightly at the look of astonishment on Rachel and Ben's faces before continuing, "You see, Rachel. . . you are going through a little stage in life called a midlife crisis. Your marriage has become boring and predictable, your self consciousness has gotten in the way of your confidence, and your son graduating from primary school has left you feeling older than ever. You need to realize that everything you are thinking is complete shit. You are a beautiful woman with a husband who cares for you, and your wrinkles are no more noticeable than your slightly-too-large-for-your-face nose, so can you both please calm down and apologize for your behavior?”
Rachel looked over at her husband, who currently was staring at her in wide-eyed disbelief. She flushed slightly and nodded her head to show how correct Sherlock had been.
"He's right, you know. I just feel like I'm getting so old, Ben." She looked Ben in the eye as she reached over and grabbed his hand. "I'm sorry that I lied to you about all of this. It was all very stupid of me to believe that you were cheating on me; I know you love me." She smiled.
Ben looked at Rachel skeptically and glanced at Rory over her shoulder. "Then who is this guy?"
The woman looked at Sherlock, hoping he would say who it was and explain that nothing had happened, but he just raised his eyebrows in her direction to show his interest in what she was going to say.
She sighed. "I just met him about 5 minutes ago. We didn't do anything, but I'm not going to say that, before all of this, that I didn't intend on something happening between us tonight." Rachel reached up and cupped Ben's face before saying, "I regret ever doubting you, Ben. I wasn't in my right mind; I was jealous and angry. Please believe me."
The husband looked at Sherlock for guidance, who simply nodded, suggesting that Rachel was – indeed – telling the truth.
Ben smiled at Rachel reluctantly. "I believe you, love." He leaned forward and place a kiss on his wife's lips.
When they pulled apart, they both looked to where Sherlock had been, only to find him back over at the table he had been at before he had come over to play Benvolio.
"Now, where were we, John?" Sherlock said, smiling down at his in-shock flatmate.
John shook his head in disbelief at what he had just witnessed and stood up to stand in front of Sherlock.
"I don't think we were anywhere, Sherlock. Although I do recall that you were not correct about Rachel one-hundred percent."
Sherlock looked at John with a confused look, obviously not sure what he meant.
John smirked playfully. "You said that she was aiding her sick aunt, when in fact, she had said she was helping her sick uncle."
The detective laughed aloud at that. "I told you I always miss something the first go-round."
John joined in laughing.
"You know, I don't know where were were, Sherlock, but I would quite like to find out where this all leads you and I."
"Me, John, me."
"Right," John laughed. "Me. I would quite like to find out where this all leads you and me. I guess we've both made simple mistakes tonight."
Sherlock grinned at his flatmate, "You could have just said us, too."
John directed his gaze to Sherlock's face.
"Does that mean there is an 'us' now?" John asked.
Sherlock smiled grandly. "If you want there to be, there will."
The doctor smiled back before replying, "Oh God, yes."
The detective, still smiling, reached out his hand and grabbed John's before leaning down and lightly brushing his lips against the doctor's.
Sherlock pulled back slowly after a few seconds.
"Let's go home, then."
Sherlock never once let go of John's hand on the way home - to their home. To 221B Baker Street: the place where their relationship would truly begin.