Sherlock’s voice pulled John’s attention away from his paper. History. Such a waste of time. He almost made a dry remark about it until he noticed the look on Sherlock’s face, the creases around his eyes and his lips pressed flat, signifying his nerves. “Sherlock? What’s wrong?” he asked as he got up from the desk and closed the distance between them to join Sherlock on the bed. Hesitant to touch him, to lean against him as they’d done in years past because Sherlock had been oddly moody lately, withdrawn and avoidant, John settled on the end of the bed.
The frown on Sherlock’s face deepened, and he scooted closer, his arm pressed up against John’s while his other was wrapped around a pillow that he hugged to his chest as though it would protect him from the world.
At a loss, John had never seen Sherlock so miserable, and his continued silence wasn’t putting John’s worries at ease. If Sherlock had something to say, he said it. There were no secrets between them, but clearly something was bothering him, something that mattered.
“John,” Sherlock whispered, his eyes downcast as he looked anywhere but at John. “I think there’s something wrong with me.
That made John panic. Sherlock never worried about himself, not like that. “What?! What’s wrong? Do you need a doctor?”
“I don’t want to have sex.” The words were simple, but that seemed to have cost Sherlock something as he curled into himself, drawing his long legs up to his chest, hugging both them and the pillow to his chest.
John’s stomach dropped in fear. “Sherlock, is someone pressuring you? Tell me who it is and—”
Sherlock laughed, but it wasn’t with humor. “No, no. Nothing like that. I don’t want to have sex. Ever. I don’t feel that way about people. I never had the wet dreams like you did, have never felt the need to wank. I’ve tried of course, but it was rather pointless in the end. Too messy and too much fuss about something so small.”
John’s ears burned with embarrassment as he remembered his first wet dream, Sherlock running to get his parents, and the uncomfortable talk that had followed. Their parents had thought it was time for them to stop sharing a bed after that, but even if they started out in separate beds, Sherlock would always end up in John’s come morning. It had made wanking awkward for a bit, but Sherlock didn’t seem to mind and never said anything, so John had assumed that Sherlock hadn’t had a problem with it. The was a bit of a thrill too, knowing that someone was watching or listening. Though he wouldn’t admit it aloud, John had more than a few fantasies involving Sherlock which was part of how he’d figured out that he wasn’t only interested in the opposite sex.
Finally after a long hesitation, John said. “How do you know if you’ve never tried it?”
Sherlock snorted. “How did you know you liked both girls and boys if you haven’t tried it?”
“Point.” John agreed and a very good one. “Maybe you just haven’t met the right person?” John was having a hard time wrapping his mind around this. How could someone not want sex? But then this was Sherlock; he never did anything normally.
“Joooohhhn,” Sherlock drawled, both a warning and an insult.
“Why now? Why are you worrying about this at all? You’ve never cared about what others thought before,” John blurted out.
“Because you care.”
Sherlock’s lips suddenly pressed against John’s, soft, chaste, and he wasn’t sure which of them was more startled by it. John jerked back, and Sherlock looked like he’d been shot.
“What was that for?” John gasped, too shocked to really notice the way Sherlock’s face fell even more.
“I love you,” Sherlock whispered, so softly that John almost didn’t hear as he pressed back against John.
And with those simple words all the pieces suddenly fell into place, and John threw his arms around Sherlock, pulling the foolish boy—no, they were eighteen now, he was a man—closer to him. “Aww, Sherlock. You can be a right idiot some days. I don’t want you to change. I like you exactly the way you are. You’re not going to lose me, Sherlock, but you might have to learn how to share me. I don’t need you in my bed to love you, Sherlock. You’re my best friend.”
“More than that,” Sherlock whispered against the skin of John’s neck.
John found himself nodding yes. More than that. John had a few other friends, but none like Sherlock, not even remotely so, but then Sherlock was unique. John had never tried to examine it much because he didn’t have words for it, and he would never do anything to ruin his friendship with Sherlock.
“But things are changing. People grow apart at uni,” Sherlock all but whined.
John rolled his eyes. This was the Sherlock he knew and loved. “Sherlock, don’t be daft. We’ll be sharing a room. And it’s called growing up.”
Sherlock remained petulant, his lower lip grasped between his teeth. “I don’t want to.”
John laughed and dug his fingers into Sherlock’s ribs, grinning as Sherlock recoiled and ignoring the betrayed look he got from Sherlock. “Don’t think you have much choice in the matter. What happened to the excitement of moving out?”
“Room’s too small,” Sherlock pouted.
John laughed again. Of course. “Maybe you could blackmail Mycroft to get a flat instead.” John had only meant it as a joke, but the sudden gleam in Sherlock’s eyes had John backpedalling. “Now, Sherlock. I didn’t really mean it. Don’t go getting any ideas. I don’t need Mycroft on my bad side.”
Sherlock tugged on John, pulling him down to lay on the bed so they were facing each other. “Mycroft would never do anything to you.”
Ears burning, John glanced away.
“He didn’t!?” Sherlock asked, almost scandalized. “Really? Did he offer you money? Did you take it?”
It was John’s turn to be hurt. “Of course not.”
“Pity,” Sherlock said. “Next time think ahead.”
John stared at him in disbelief until John realized Sherlock was mocking him (at least mostly). Grabbing a pillow, he whacked Sherlock across the face.
Eyes wide with startlement and betrayal, Sherlock quickly retaliated and soon they both laid flat on the bed, panting between giggles, mangled pillows surrounding them. Things were changing, yes. But they would always have this. The world be damned if John wouldn’t try his hardest to hold onto this. Sherlock needn’t have worried; John didn’t think there was anything Sherlock could do that would send John running or make him think less of him. Someday he hoped Sherlock would understand that.