It was a quiet morning for John Watson, so atypical in its calmness that is was absolutely refreshing. Sherlock was away on a case ("You're really going then? Really?" "It's an eleven, John, didn't you hear me?" "I heard you, Sherlock, I just didn't believe you."), but he was due back by the afternoon. John had had just over twenty-four hours of Sherlock free time. Time which he had anticipated cherishing, but had actually worn a bit thin after a while. The flat was quiet. Too quiet. And, god help him, but John was bored without Sherlock around to nag, strop, parade about, and generally be a poncey pain in the ass with his brilliant deductions, and his too tight-shirts, and his bright eyes, and his curly hair, and his complete lack of tact, and his beautiful arse that was just asking to be—ahem, the point was that John had had to find alternate ways to fill his time without Sherlock. He had volunteered at the clinic, caught up with Sarah, and gone out to the pub the night before with Greg. The men had ordered pints and sat at the bar commiserating over the complicated lives they led with the Holmes boys, comparing notes:
"That's nothing, mate," Greg had laughed, taking a healthy drink from his mug, "Mycroft literally brought the bloke from the CIA for questioning in our kitchen. I come home from work, fancying a nice spot of dinner and I find Mycroft looming--looming, John--over some poor sod with duct tape all over his face tied to my chair," Greg paused and took another sip, giving John the chance to chuckle appreciatively, "And I say to him, I say, 'Mycroft, what the bloody hell are you doing?' and he says--John you'll love this--he says, 'Isn't it obvious, dear, I've invited a guest for dinner, give me a moment to finish the appetizer.' Bloody hell, John. Good luck beating that."
John took a swig himself and laughed, "Greg, that is nothing. Maybe you didn't hear me earlier, but Sherlock left a corpse on the sofa last week. A corpse, a bloody human corpse, mind you, dressed in my clothes."
Greg guffawed and shoved John's arm gregariously, "Ah, well that's Sherlock, isn't it?"
"My clothes, Greg, including my favorite jumper!"
"You have a favorite. Really?" Greg looked genuinely surprised at the idea that John could possibly choose one out of the multitudes.
"Of course, I do! I have a favorite jumper!" John was not sure why at this moment this was such an important point to make, but it was; he shook his head firmly, "It's the—that's not the point, Greg! He dressed a bloody corpse in it! That's the point," Greg laughed and John joined in, soon they couldn't catch their breath, "And when I, haha, when I asked why, he said, I kid you not, 'because none of mine would fit.' I didn't even know that Sherlock had jumpers!"
Greg slammed his hand down on the bar, "That's because he bloody doesn't, hahaha. The little bastard, haha."
"Right you are," John smiled triumphantly, "I win."
"This time," Greg smirked in a way that John could relate to. It was an expression that said, quite clearly: "I live with a lunatic and things will never be dull. I should find this disturbing, but I do not." Sherlock and Mycroft had different methods of madness, but the effects on the people they lived with were generally the same bemused irritation mixed with admiration, hence this little contest, which was becoming a tradition between Greg and John.
"You miss 'im?" the DI asked, ordering them another round and nudging John conspiratorially with his elbow.
John rolled his eyes, "He's barely been gone, what? Twelve hours. Don't be ridiculous."
Greg just surveyed John in an all knowing way. People tended to do that when they discussed Sherlock with the ex-army doctor. The difference in this instance being that Greg actually knew both of the Baker Street boys intimately and was, further, well acquainted with the Holmes'. Hell he's been with Mycroft for almost ten years, if anyone knows what it's like, it's him. He could probably write a bloody anthropological study by now, or, at the very least, a guide book. The general result was that if Greg asked John if he and Sherlock were dating, the blogger would not be able to simply brush it off with an adamant "No, we aren't" or a swift change of subject, which was why, when Greg regarded him with that discerning glint in his eyes and said, "Yeah, ya do." John didn't bother denying it.
Truth: Sherlock had only been gone for twelve hours and John missed him. Tremendously. Bloody bossy, show off, makes it bloody impossible to live without him, making everything boring by comparison, bloody strolling off on a level eleven case, leaving me behind. Probably to make me miss him. All the annoying little things that Sherlock customarily did that drove John to distraction were things that he longed for in his absence. Oh, boy, John thought barely restraining himself from banging his head against the bar in despair.
John missed Sherlock despite the frequent texts over the course of the day (this is just bloody sad, he thought), which went something like this:
Reports of this case were wildly exaggerated-SH
Taking far less time than expected-SH
Will be home by tomorrow-SH
Will murder Lestrade in retaliation for misinformation-SH
Do not WARN him, John. That would defeat the purpose-SH
No, I have not been "sneaking" cigarettes, John-SH
Yes, I am sure-SH
It is so dull here-SH
Yes, I know I've a case to solve, but I haven't my blogger-SH
Besides, I have already solved the case-SH
John hadn't had a new message in a few hours, though he'd checked his mobile repeatedly. Greg smiled at him, as if he knew just exactly what he was thinking. It was eerie. Maybe if you lived with Sherlock or Mycroft long enough, you started to pick up on their annoying ability to "read" people. John had not yet reached that point, but it didn't take a genius level intellect to know what was going on inside Lestrade's head. Oh, here we go.
"You miss him," dear God, had Lestrade just said that in a sing-song voice? How many pints had he had? "Nothing to be ashamed of, mate. Always get a bit stroppy when Mycroft gallivants off to points unknown," he tapped his nose theatrically and gave an audacious wink, "top government secrets. You're not privy to the information, John."
"Right, let's just be clear," John was feeling a bit tipsy himself, but far less than Greg, "Sherlock is not Mycroft and I am not you. And he and I—"
Greg threw an arm around John's shoulder's leaned in close, shook the younger man slightly, and said affably, "John, John, John, John, John…yes you are."
The blogger sighed, and that's my cue to leave, "All right, Greg, let's get you out of here before Mycroft has me shot for letting you get sloshed."
Greg rolled his eyes but let John lead him out. They split a cab to Greg and Mycroft's where John was given a stern look and Greg was given an indulgent smile. Then, John went the rest of the way to Baker Street where he tried not to think too much about what Greg had said as he fell into bed. He looked down at his mobile where there was a waiting message.
How was your evening with Lestrade-SH
John hesitated for a fraction of a second, but then thought, oh, what the bloody hell, I'll blame it on too much to drink in the morning if it comes to that.
I miss you-JW
There was a pause.
Obviously. You are also slightly inebriated-SH
John just groaned and pressed his overly flushed face into the cool side of the pillow. This is what you get for being emotional with the great bloody brilliant Sherlock Holmes who wouldn't know a gesture of affection if it bit him on the bloody nose, you stupid fucking idiot, John Watson, you need to—
His phone dinged and he looked down to see a new message.
Don't be dull, John. I miss you too-SH
Now, go to sleep-SH
And with a combination smirk grimace John did just that, unsure how exactly Sherlock could read him so well via text and not sure that he really wanted to know.
The next morning (this morning) dawned bright and clear. John dawned a bit more fuzzy than usual in a silent, still empty flat with a pulsing headache. He made tea, strong tea, which he needed like he needed air, made toast, and talked to himself to fill the spaces around the intolerable quietude. He tidied up a bit, knowing that within fifteen minutes of Sherlock's arrival his work would be irrevocably undone. Then he went to Tescos. They needed milk (how are we always out of milk? He blamed Sherlock's warped ideas of what was sensible to keep in a refrigerator) and nicotine patches, and you know, edible food. He took his time and (miraculously) did not get into a row with the machine at the register.
When he came back to the flat, he found the door unlocked and felt a huge grin spread across his face, before he cleared his throat, composed his expression, and stepped inside.
"Oh, you're back," he said good-naturedly.
Sherlock turned from where he was standing in the middle of the room, surveyed John, and said imperiously, "Clearly." The consulting detective's face bore a lopsided grin that grew slightly as he looked John up and down, obviously deducing something, though what exactly the blogger wasn't sure, "but you knew that already."
John's mouth twitched, "Well you did say you'd be back this morning, so I just went out to get some—"
Sherlock waved his hand vaguely, "Yes, yes, of course."
"Right, well I'll just put this away. You go back to what you were doing: staring into space, remodeling the mind palace, contemplating Anderson's death. Don't let me keep you."
Five minutes later, John was berating himself for being a prize idiot and arranging the last of the groceries on the refrigerator shelf that, twenty four hours ago, had held three severed feet. Why three? John had asked himself this question (and avoided considering how he was more concerned about the number of severed feet than their presence amongst the eggs and jam) but decided, upon reflection, that it was probably best if he didn't know. He had unobtrusively removed them, hoping they weren't so important an experiment that Sherlock would throw a fit at their absence.
"I don't understand."
"Bloody-," John had whacked his head rather hard against the freezer door, "Must you always loom like that? Jesus."
Sherlock just stared impassively, "I am not looming, I'm standing, how can I be looming if I am standing in a relaxed attitude in our kitchen?"
"All right, fine, sure, whatever, you weren't looming. Just don't sneak up on me, okay? Nearly gave me a bloody heart attack"
"No, I didn't, just a bump on the head," he paused, "You haven't answered my question."
"Last I checked, Sherlock, you hadn't asked one," John folded his arms and leaned back against the, now closed, fridge. How is it possible to miss bickering so much in twenty four hours? Greg Lestrade's voice answered him quickly Because you're actually flirting, you great bloody ponce. John was so shocked to have Greg invading his mental space that he momentarily lost track of what Sherlock was saying, which was never something you wanted to do.
"Sorry," John shook his head to clear it of all extraneous voices, "What were you saying?"
Sherlock sighed theatrically and rolled his eyes, "I asked you, 'Why?'"
"Why?" John was under the impression that he was missing something critical, "Why what?"
"You missed me. You said that you missed me. Why did you miss me, John?"
John was nonplussed and his face reflected it. Though Sherlock could have deduced John's reaction in less than a millisecond, he chose to remain silent and step closer to the blogger, "I was gone less than twenty-four hours, not a significant amount of time, and, when we are occupying the flat concurrently, you complain, with frequency, that I am a 'bloody horrible flatmate.' It does not make logical sense for you to have missed me. So, why?"
He did not pause long enough for John to answer.
"What makes even less sense, John, is why I should have missed you. No, don't get upset," John's face had turned stormy in short order, Sherlock moved even closer as he spoke, "I had a stage eleven case, John, eleven on a scale of one to ten. Yet, I found myself bored, I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, not because it was not enjoyable, but because it was not half so good as it would have been with you there. I wanted to come home. Why is that John?"
He stopped six inches from John and he really was looming now, John had to tilt his face upward to look him in the eye, which only brought their faces closer together, John balled his hands into fists before they could do anything too stupid (they currently wanted to pull Sherlock flush against him, or perhaps throw him up against the table, No, hands, no John directed them sternly).
"I—" John closed his mouth again, working his jaw and trying to find the words he wanted.
Sherlock leaned closer, "I am a deplorable flatmate, John," Holy jam on toast, someone call the press, Sherlock Holmes just admitted a flaw a part of John screamed, but the rest of him was too focused on trying to decide what color Sherlock's eyes were and how they were able to shift between green, grey, blue and various combinations. Did they always look this grey green when they were only two inches from your face? John swallowed, hard, and clenched his fists more tightly. Don't do anything stupid, Watson, he admonished.
"You," Sherlock looked at John as if he were completely baffled, like the blogger was the greatest puzzle that he'd ever had the chance to solve, "You ought to be boring, John, but you aren't. We ought not to go together, but we do. Why is that?"
"Because," John's voice broke and he cleared it, "because we're Mycroft and Lestrade," Sherlock flinched backwards and looked at John, as if he'd taken complete leave of his senses,
"Oh bloody hell, that's not what I meant," John was flustered. Oh, bollocks, don't botch this up! "What I meant was that, ah, it, that is," John sighed, and Sherlock surveyed him dubiously. Nevertheless, it seemed that he would patiently wait for John to sort it out, barring anything too insane. Another moment we need recorded for posterity. Sherlock Holmes being bloody patient.
"We don't…go together. You drive me insane half the time, honestly, you're completely brilliant, but I swear, sometimes, you're mental," Sherlock narrowed his eyes, but allowed John to continue uninterrupted, "But when you aren't here, it's dull. When you aren't here, I miss you. Before you I was, ah, I was alone and I was lost and now I'm not. We do go together, you and I, we go together and it doesn't make any bloody sense, but we fit," he laughed slightly, "Sometimes the things that matter don't make sense."
Sherlock waited with his brows slightly raised, as if to say, "And?"
"And, sod it, I bloody love you, you bloody git!"
Sherlock smiled beatifically, as if this were all a carefully concocted plot.
"Nicely deduced, John, I must say that it took you—"
But John had finally released his hands, which of their own volition spun a pleasantly surprised detective around and pressed him up against the fridge, "Sherlock?" he smirked, as he brought their faces closer together and felt one of the taller man's long slender hands come to rest on his waist.
"Yes, John?" The detective's changeable eyes were mostly black now, swallowed by his pupils and his already deep voice had dropped several octaves. John cupped Sherlock sharp cheek in one hand and placed the other on his lower back, pulling the two of them together.
"Shut up, you idiot," and before Sherlock could say anything at all, he brought his mouth up to meet the world's only consulting detective's. Somewhere in the very back of his mind, behind the fireworks going off in celebration; the animalistic section that had no words to express its hunger, frantically that Sherlock's clothes be torn off immediately; the relieved romantic chorus sighing/singing "At Last;" and the voice that sounded the most like John's own saying "YES, BLOODY YES!, God, he tastes good. He did have a cigarette, the ruddy scamp. Yes, Sherlock, just like that, yes, please!" there was a very small, very quiet, very tiny, very smug voice that sounded a lot like Gregory Lestrade saying "Told ya so."