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Fearing The Unknown

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Gripping the stack of papers in his clammy fingers, decidedly not nervous although the nerves in his body begged to differ, John rapped on the door in three steady flicks of his wrist. This wasn't the first time and it certainly wouldn't be the last, but the fact that this was by far his favorite day of the week made excitement thrum in his stomach.

"Enter!" the familiar voice came from within and John, despite breaking out in a cold sweat, grinned to himself. Always so serious, his news editor.

And intimidating.

And so bloody gorgeous it made it hard to look at him directly.

He pushed open the door and stepped inside, raising the papers in his hand, ignoring the jolt of electricity shooting through his veins at the sight of the man behind the desk. "Finished with this week's sports," he said without preamble.

Sherlock Holmes, editor of the school newspaper and absurdly good-looking human being, snapped his head up. "Oh!" Sherlock exclaimed seeming startled, eyes widening slightly at John standing in his doorway. He shook his head slightly. "Right, of course." He nodded his head toward the pile of papers at the corner of his desk. "Um, just there will do."

"Great," John murmured, wandering to the stack and settling his article on the pile. He hesitated for moment before letting go, frantically searching for a reason to stay in this office and find something to talk about. It was the only time during the week he had alone with Sherlock and making the most of it was something he thought about daily, constantly making a list of topics of to discuss which promptly disappeared every time he laid eyes on this gorgeous creature.

"Um," he mumbled, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was able to get an interview with the captain of the football team after their big win."

Why he said that, John would never know. Sherlock didn't give a shit about sports. It was an obligatory article that was required for their small university's paper, seeing as many of the students got in on athletic scholarships, John included, but he knew better then to try to engage his editor on the topic.

Blinking rapidly, seeming unsure how to respond, Sherlock stared, lips stuttering apart several times as if abandoning words he couldn't decide on speaking. John could feel the blood rushing to his face under the scrutiny, feeling so unbelievably foolish for bringing up something Sherlock had no interest in, let alone any opinion on.

This was the thing about his editor. He was… intense, for lack of a better term. He had these deeply piercing eyes that changed color constantly –shimmering silver in the early afternoons, clicking to green when he was focused, like now, and occasionally, when John managed to make him laugh, taking on a sky blue that seemed to twinkle when amused. His almost translucently pale skin accented every color, making him seem delicate and fragile, while the sharpness of his cheekbones and dark tumbling curls framing his face made him seem domineering and serious.

Oh, and he was gorgeous.

So fucking gorgeous.

"Oh. That's… that's um…good?" Sherlock ventured, looking as though he were hoping that answer was the correct one.

Relaxing slightly, appreciating that Sherlock was trying, a small laugh escaped his lips as he grinned. "It was difficult actually. Phillip Anderson's a total wanker. Talking to him can most definitely be classified as a hardship."

The corner of Sherlock's mouth twitched, threatening to turn into a full-blown smile, eyes crinkling at the corners as he slowly eased into their familiar banter. After only several weeks of working together, this had sort of become their usual thing. It always took a moment to get into but once they were there, it was like magic. John's heart did a victorious spin, overly thrilled to have initiated a smile on this beautiful boy's face and gotten them on a roll.

"Oh god, yes, I would have to agree," Sherlock chuckled. "Anderson is an imbecile on his best day."

John grinned. This was his goal every minute he spent with Sherlock. Get him to talk. Get him to smile. Get him to laugh. "Do you have classes with him?"

"Unfortunately," Sherlock grumbled. "You'd think this school would have been prestigious enough to keep idiotic individuals like him out of it, but apparently I overestimated the standards of the admissions office."

Why the arrogance mixed with intensity did it for him, John would never know, but it did. Sherlock wasn't afraid to say what he pleased, every thought he had seeming to escape his mouth without any consideration, which put most people off. The writing staff had many choice words about Sherlock's blunt reactions to their ideas and articles, some outright exclaiming anger and irritation.

Not John, thought. For some inexplicable reason, John adored it.

Especially since it didn't seem to deter Sherlock one bit. He took it all in stride. John took a sick pleasure in knowing he was one of the only staff writers that Sherlock actually put an effort in with.

Effort may be a strong word. Put up with? Dealt with? Didn't out and out mock?

"You absolutely did," John laughed. "They let me in of all people, so that says a lot right there. Although, they did take you so they must have a brilliance quota they need to hit each year."

He'd been stepping up his game recently. It had started as innocent ribbing and jesting, finding that they got along, and while Sherlock was undeniably good-looking, he was also rather unattainable, never moving things further along, no outright showing of interest or flirting in general with anyone, John included.

And truthfully, John was getting tired of the guessing game.

John just wanted to know. He just wanted to know if Sherlock was at all interested in him. If the blushing and the small smiles were all a sign of some sort. If they were Sherlock's subtle hints for John to make a move, or if they were just bodily reactions to a compliment. Just blushing from embarrassment. Just smiling from the flattery. Just the tolerance of John's flirting. Sherlock could like John without liking John. It was entirely possible.

And Sherlock was absolutely impossible to read.

This had become much more convoluted than it needed to which put John way out of his comfort zone. Before joining the newspaper, before Sherlock Holmes, John had gone the casual route. Casual dating, casual sex, no strings attached, no relationships. That's what uni was for, wasn't it? For the two years John had been in uni thus far he'd rather enjoyed himself, reaping the benefits of being the rugby captain, not so much taking advantage as taking the opportunities presented to him. After a couple serious girlfriends and a somewhat confusing drunken encounter with a rugby mate in secondary school, John had determined he was bisexual and ready to explore. And explore, he had.

He wouldn't quite call himself easy. Open-minded would be a nicer term.

Of course then he'd laid eyes on his news editor, all sassy and serious and sexy as hell and suddenly everything changed.

There just something about Sherlock Holmes. Something about their connection. Something in the way they spoke to and laughed with each other. Something that made John want to stay. To stick around. To settle in and commit. To fall in love. To let himself fall in love.

It was terrifying and exciting and uncharted territory for John Watson. It had been a long time since he'd wooed anyone. Since he'd put in the effort to get to know someone on a deeper level. To put himself out there and try. The attraction was there immediately, but John had almost forgotten that other level of dating. The part where you get to know someone. Where you ask questions and drop flirty subtext and smile shyly while talking about yourself. The level John had completely skipped with everyone else for two whole years, opting for quick and dirty, short and sweet, fucking and bailing.

And so now, John was trying. Or, well, trying to try. Trying to figure it out, trying to wade through the murky waters of dating again, of feeling out the situation before jumping head first into anything he wouldn't get right back. Of proving himself. Of wanting more and trying, without coming right out and saying it, to show he was worth it. Show he wanted it. Prove that he wanted Sherlock. Every bit of Sherlock.

The blush that instantly heated Sherlock's sharp cheekbones was so bloody precious, John could have kissed each one twice. Something tightened in his chest, completely thrilled with himself for eliciting this lovely reaction on those domineering features, wishing he had more then one opportunity a week to do so.

Here's the other thing about his editor. While he managed to come off snarky and difficult to please, the smallest praise made him react in the most adorable ways. John had found their banter always hit its peak when John's shameless flirting got Sherlock flustered and fidgeting, obviously unsure of how to respond. John couldn't tell if Sherlock was genuinely terrible at flirting or if he honestly wasn't interested in John, attempting to change the subject to avoid the topic altogether.

"Yes, well," Sherlock declared, looking down at his papers and shuffling them uncomfortably. "Is that all?"

"Yes, Sherlock," John grinned, enjoying this a little too much. "That's all." Sherlock didn't blush for anyone else like this, he was certain of that. One time he'd seen Molly Hooper, one of Sherlock's classmates in his chemistry major, tell him his shirt made him look fit and Sherlock had launched into an explanation about clothing material and how if Molly were willing to spend a bit more, she too could look good in her clothes.

John had laughed hysterically behind his hand, going unnoticed by them both.

"Mm." Sherlock looked pointedly at the door.

John snorted. "See you."

 

 


 

 

Dropping heavily onto the couch in his tiny flat, John groaned loudly in frustration, rubbing a palm against his forehead.

This routine had to stop.

It was like being on a constant one-shot loop of chances, waiting seven days in between, hoping maybe the next week he'd finally hit something for Sherlock to react to, blurting out a request for a date or yelling he had no interest in John at all. Was that so much to ask?

"And what is the matter with you today my dear flatmate?" Greg Lestrade slumped with a spoonful of ice cream in hand at their kitchen table, which consequently sat only inches from the couch, their small flat allowing for little space between the rooms.

"Sherlock Holmes," John mumbled. "Sherlock Holmes is the matter with me."

Greg snorted around his mouthful of freezing sugar. "Uh oh. What did our hot editor do today?"

John sighed. "Nothing. He did nothing."

"Ah," Greg said knowingly, digging his spoon back into the carton in front of him. "And therein lies the problem?"

"Yup," John replied, popping the p to emphasize just how disappointing that truly was.

"And you don't make a move because..."

"Because I can't get a read on him!" John exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air. "And I have to see him every day, so if he shoots me down-"

"Things will be awkward," Greg finished for him, nodding in understanding. They'd had this discussion several times. "Yeah, alright. And you really want to date this guy?

John sighed. "Unfortunately, yes."

"Not just fuck him?"

"Nope."

"Yikes," Greg mumbled down into his dessert. "So what's your plan?"

"I have no plan," John grumbled. "I just have weird moments and confusing interactions and a whole mess of unknowns."

"Mm," Greg hummed, shoving another pile of ice cream into his mouth. "Wanna get gloriously drunk?"

John nodded without hesitation. "I really do."

The nicest thing about living with your rugby co-captain and best friend was things like this. Having lived together for the entirety of their uni careers, Greg had essentially become like John's brother, doing almost everything together with ease, having most things in common – rugby, difficult majors, bisexuality, popularity. Greg was about as good at relationships as John was, opting for the more laid-back attitude, never finding anyone he'd quite fancied enough to stick with for a while, but always up for a party.

Which was why he was absolute pants at advice on the Sherlock situation, going the avoidance route instead, hence the offering of beers.

"I'm on it," Greg said, getting up from the table to grab beers from the fridge, leaving the now empty carton on the table.

John hummed in reply, closing his eyes and trying not to think about newspapers and editors and who the hell he'd become since meeting Sherlock Holmes.

 

 


 

 

The weekly writer's meeting was tedious at best. Everyone crammed into what the school generously called a conference room, and listened to each other's story plans and ideas, all so their editor could judge or berate or shut it down altogether. It was a miserable affair really, considering the paper wasn't much for publishing meaningful pieces, most of the articles focusing on events or fundraisers or new teachers or advice. It was mostly on campus activities and general student information, supposedly helping with uniting the student body. John had to fight to stay awake most of the time.

The only thing John enjoyed about it was watching Sherlock glide up and down the front of the room, snapping and rambling and gesturing wildly, dominating the room delightfully, popping judgemental eyebrows at ideas, barking declarations of stupidity. He rolled his eyes and stomped his feet and clapped his hands like a child, smirking and glaring and throwing his head back while pinching the bridge of his nose in a clear gesture saying I'm surrounded by idiots. Most of the writers didn't understand him. Most of the writers made fun of him or scowled at him indignantly or simply sat silently, too afraid to speak for fear of attack.

John bloody adored him.

He was incredibly entertaining.

His long limbs moved so smoothly, his tight trousers forming firmly around his arse and legs, the tight button down shirts he often sported pulled taut against his firm chest as he rattled off orders as though he were the captain of a ship on the high seas, and his writing staff were his minions only there to serve him.

He barely cracked a smile during the meeting, eyes blazing and fighting and demanding perfection.

John took great pleasure in the fact that Sherlock had never once berated him. He'd raised dubious brows or rolled his eyes once or twice, but never did he put John down on purpose.

Actually, he never put anyone down on purpose. He simply spoke his thoughts, filtering nothing as the words came out, and left it to the audience to do what they would with it. Sherlock wasn't mean. He was just direct. Straight forward. Arrogant as hell, but not downright cruel. Sherlock was frighteningly intelligent, being all too aware of it and having no patience for ignorance and depthless work. A boy genius, Sherlock was the epitome of.

And maybe it was because John knew the other side of Sherlock that made him feel less intimidating. The blushing, fidgeting, blustering Sherlock he became during his individual meetings with John. It was adorable. How someone could be adorable and sexy all at once was something John would never understand, but Sherlock had perfected it.

So, as he sat in his usual seat, notepad in hand, watching intently as Sally Donovan ranted about how her article on beauty tips should be on page two instead of seven, John didn't notice the new tall, dark newcomer loping in the corner until much later in the meeting, eyes locked on his editor, enthralled with his every word and every move.

So John of course was entirely unprepared for what happened next.

"Alright, that's it for today," Sherlock said with a flick of his hand as Sally sat back in her chair with an indignant huff. "Off you go."

The writing staff began to gather their things, murmurings low and urgent as the new week began, when a loud throat clear came from above the noise.

John looked up in time to see Sherlock look over to someone John had never seen before.

"Oh, right," Sherlock said, rolling his eyes. "Hey - quiet! I forgot about this unimportant announcement, although I'm sure you'll all care to know. We have a new writer joining our staff."

That apparently was the throat-clearer's cue as he made his way up to the front, smiling winningly at Sherlock, dark brown eyes somehow glittering, wavy chestnut hair falling around his face perfectly. Even without speaking, John could see he was posh as hell, clothing clinging to every fit line of his body, hair perfectly coiffed into place, accessories strategically placed on his person.

Jesus.

In the looks department, this guy could rival Sherlock.

Although, really, Sherlock was in a league of his own. But of course, John was biased.

Already, John didn't like this newcomer. Maybe it was a rush to judgement. Maybe it was the way he was looking Sherlock. But the way this bloke carried himself just rubbed John the wrong way. Before even opening his mouth, this guy radiated self-importance, exuding a rather snobby look about him, as though without even speaking, he could still convey how much better he thought he was then everyone else. Like his status was above anyone else in this room and wanted to be sure everyone knew it. As though being born with a silver spoon in his mouth made him somehow superior to the rest of the people his age, family money being made obvious by his clothing, his diamond-encrusted watch, his fake smile. Obviously, this guy wanted everyone to know just how well off his family was. A posh brat, if there ever was one.

Sherlock was posh, no doubt, but never did he come off snobby. Rude, sure. Snide, absolutely. Brilliant, always. But not better. Not condescending. Superiority purely based on intelligence, not on clothing, looks or money in the bank. Sherlock earned his status in life by hard work, not privilege.

And why John was already getting defensive about Sherlock before the new guy had even breathed a word spoke volumes about how deep his feelings for his editor were starting to go. He shoved aside his rambling thoughts and focused on the events unfolding before him.

"This is Victor Trevor," Sherlock announced as the man sashayed up to the front, saddling up rather closely to their editor and sweeping a rather unfriendly smile across the room. "He's our new gossip columnist because apparently all newspapers need one trashy section that entertains the idiots that read it, so here he is. Victor will be writing his first article this week, so if you'd like to get to know him, do so on your own time, I could truly not care any less."

Victor, to John's surprise, chuckled, shaking his head fondly at Sherlock and smiling happily, like this was just the usual, like Sherlock's bluntness was just a form of endearment. Like he spent a lot of time with Sherlock and was used to these sort of remarks. Like he enjoyed it. He might as well have pat Sherlock on the head and called him a rascal for how he was adoringly grinning at him.

John could feel himself glowering.

He didn't like this. He didn't like this at allHe was the only one who enjoyed Sherlock's snarky remarks. He was the one that shook his head fondly at the boy genius. He was the one who should be spending a lot of time with Sherlock and getting used to his rude remarks. Not this random guy.

"Seriously?" Sally Donovan barked suddenly. "You treat my beauty articles like they are the scum of the earth but you agreed to a bloody gossip column?"

"Oh do shut up, Sally," Sherlock muttered.

"It's lovely to meet you all," Victor smiled brightly, his voice dripping with dramatic overtones and making John cringe slightly.

"That's all," Sherlock called. "Get out."

The writer's grumbled wanker's and tosser's as they exited the room, John lingering slightly to see if he could steal a moment alone with his editor under the pretense of article assistance or tips on better writing. His routine every time he was in the presence of Sherlock Holmes was to constantly search for ways to get him alone. To get back to their banter and flirting and teasing. To see if he could get any answers at all if his feelings were reciprocated or not.

Looking down intently, brow purposefully furrowed, John pretended to scribble something important on his pad, waiting for the remaining bodies to scatter, watching his editor out of the corner of his eye to be sure he didn't leave.

Sherlock was bent over the table, writing notes of his own, staring at his list of god knows what, brows knitted together in deep thought.

John smiled down into his lap. He'd like to think Sherlock was doing the same thing; stalling to steal a moment alone with his sports writer, faking an important note for the appearance that he wasn't staying on purpose. John had no idea if that were true or not, but he could hope.

John stood, gathering himself, planning to glance up with a confused look on his face, pretending to need assistance only his editor could provide; a ruse to start a conversation and not have to wait another agonizing few days to have.

He opened his mouth to start the preamble, looking up slowly as though just coming to a realization that he could ask Sherlock this fake important question he had, when the sight before him stopped him mid-step.

Victor Trevor was still in the room, still at the front, slinking his way down to Sherlock's bent over frame. He murmured something softly into his ear with a grin so quietly John couldn't make it out.

John's heart dropped heavily into his stomach as Sherlock's features twitched into a smile of his own and he laughed softly, flicking a glance up to Victor's dark brown eyes, features crinkling with mirth.

He fucking laughed.

John ached to make Sherlock laugh like that. To make him smile like that. To make him react in any positive way at all. Something pressed heavily on his chest, forcing the breath from his lungs as he watched this exchange. To watch Sherlock interact with anyone in such a way hurt more then John had ever even realized possible. It was an absurd reaction, but it didn't seem like there was much choice in the matter.

Sherlock and Victor wandered together - together - out of the conference room and John, feeling like a foolish child, trailed behind silently, hoping he was going unnoticed, wishing so much he'd just left the meeting with everyone else and not stayed to see this gross interaction.

To his relief, Sherlock took off toward his office with a small nod to his new companion, and Victor, after offering a disgustingly sweet smile, made his own way to his new desk.

The jealous beast apparently living inside of John Watson reared its ugly head, raking a clawed foot through against the ground and growling viciously, noting its territory being entered and not appreciating it one bit. John Watson had had plenty of girlfriends and boyfriends equally. John had dated, had plenty of sex, had rather enjoyed spending time with most of the people he'd been with. He'd even go as far as to say he fancied himself in love once or twice when he was younger.

So John Watson could definitively say that he was not a jealous type of bloke. He was not possessive or covetous, never quick to anger or frustration, never needing to reassert himself as in charge, as the boyfriend anyone belonged to. Never shooting dangerous glares or throwing furious punches, never even feeling the urge to do anything like that, never needing to prove himself.

As it turns out, when it comes to Sherlock Holmes, John Watson is all of those things. John Watson is a furious, fire-spitting, dangerous animal, needing to puff out his chest and stand a bit taller, prove himself worthy of this man. Prove himself worthy of being the only one allowed to touch Sherlock or kiss Sherlock or bloody look at Sherlock.

And John hadn't even done any of those things. Besides the looking. He'd absolutely done his fair share of looking.

Which was when John knew good and damn well how much trouble he was truly in.

He couldn't explain why that was his first instinct, but he found his feet carrying him over to Victor's desk, clearly feeling the need to assert his dominance. Make it clear he was a contender in this unspoken competition and he planned to win.

"Victor?" John asked innocently, putting on his best smile and sticking out his hand. Turns out the jealous animal that was now John Watson was an excellent actor. "I'm John. I do sports."

Victor turned to him with a blank stare, giving him a once over in a similar fashion to Sherlock's ever-knowing gaze without the actual scrutiny, the look seemingly just for show, before resting his eyes on John's face. He sighed and looked away. "Mm, no."

John frowned, dropping his hand uncomfortably. "Sorry?"

"No," Victor said again. "I don't have time to fraternize with... whatever you are."

John blinked. Jesus, this toff was rude. "Good to meet you too, mate," he mumbled, the beast within him deciding this tool wasn't worth his time if he wasn't even going to put in the effort of posturing.

Victor turned to respond when the editor's office door swung open, revealing Sherlock Holmes bundled in a green scarf and his belstaff, sweeping out of his office in long strides. He didn't so much as glance in John's direction, making a beeline for the door. John ignored the disappointed swoop in his stomach, physically restraining himself from running after. He hated so much that he'd missed his opportunity to talk to Sherlock today, already dreading the following Sherlock-less days ahead.

"Bloody gorgeous, isn't he?"

Victor's voice was far too close to John's ear. He whipped around to find a grin he didn't like so much on Victor's face, all too near, eyes twinkling knowingly. "Sorry?"

"Our editor, darling," Victor crooned, smirking slightly. "He's absolutely delicious."

God, how much he wanted to wipe that look off Victor Trevor's face was unnerving. He physically shook with the effort to keep his fists at his sides, deciding a fight breaking out in the office wouldn't be for the best.

Victor's face darkened slightly, turning his smirk to rather smug and a bit evil, noting John's trembling hands. "You can't be serious, John."

"What?" John spat, snapping the word off, knowing full well he'd just given himself away entirely as he snapped his jaw shut.

Victor chuckled condescendingly. "Oh, now that's just pathetic. Adorable, short little rugby boy thinks he stands a chance with Sherlock Holmes? Please."

Ah. There's the competitor John was certain lay within that snobby exterior. "You don't even know me," John growled.

"Your crush is sweet and all, John," Victor said with a flick of his wrist. "Really, it is. But be realistic."

John bit down hard on the inside of his cheek, doing his best to keep himself in check. "Sod off," he ground out.

Victor grinned wickedly. "Well, it's good to know it won't be boring around here."

And with that, Victor spun on his heel and out the door, leaving a furious John Watson gaping after him.

 

 


 

 

"The guy sounds like a complete wanker."

Greg sat across from him at their usual lunch table, shaking his head as John relayed the saga of meeting Victor Trevor.

"Yeah, he really, really is," John sighed, running a hand through his hair.

Greg sighed. "And you really think Sherlock would prefer him over you?"

John shrugged, clamping down on the agony of pretending this wasn't that big of a deal. Like Sherlock wasn't all he bloody thought about. Like he hadn't had rather violent thoughts of snapping Victor Trevor in two. "I don't even know if it's a competition. Sherlock may not even be interested in me."

"And why can't you just ask him out and find out?"

John fixed Greg with a glare. They'd had this discussion already.

Greg laughed, tipping the drink clutched in his hand in acknowledgement. "Yeah, alright," he conceded. "So what's your plan?"

John shrugged. "No idea."

"What!" Greg cried with feigned shock. "John Watson doesn't have a plan?"

John frowned. "Do I normally have plans?"

Greg shrugged. "I don't know. I guess not. But you should. Sort it out and win your bloke!"

John laughed. "And how do I do that, exactly?"

"Oh, I have no idea," Greg said with a swipe of his hand.

John snorted. "Great, well thank you for the sound advice."

Greg grinned around a mouthful of sandwich. "Anytime, my friend."

Running a hand through his hair, John stared down at the table, lost in panicked thought that maybe he should in fact have a plan. What was he going to do? Was he going to fight? Step up his game? Make a move?

He didn't want to give up. Even going in blind, having absolutely no idea if he had a shot in hell, John really couldn't let this go. He couldn't just give up on it. Not on Sherlock. Not ever.

"There's an event coming up. For all the school programs," John muttered. "Sort of like a mixer for all the extracurriculars to get to know each other.

"Yeah, I know," Greg replied absently, staring down at his phone. "What about it?"

John cleared his throat. "Maybe I… Maybe I ask Sherlock? To go with me? Like…as my date? Or something? Not like outright, but maybe just mention it… And see what he says?"

Greg nodded vigorously. "There ya go! Blimey, John, was that really that difficult to sort out?"

John snorted. "Piss off."

 

 


 

 

 

Running, actually, seriously running like a lunatic, John tore down the footpath toward the newsroom, papers with his article crinkling in his hand, sweat dripping down his brow.

His class had let out late for the first time in the history of the semester, because John's luck was really just that bad, and now he was late for his one on one with his brilliant editor, and John hated everything. Every person that got in his way, every corner he had to turn, another furious ripple of rage shimmied its way down his spine.

All he bloody asked for was one day a week where he could go and spend some time with the boy he had it bad for, flirt with him and tell him he's brilliant just so he could see him blush. Was that so much to goddamn ask of this world?

Tearing up the steps of the building containing their office, John ripped open the door and barreled through, marching straight to the door marked Editor and knocking succinctly.

He was met with silence.

He knocked again, panting like a dog and wiping sweat from his face with his shirt, feeling sticky and disgusting and just wanting more then anything to lay eyes on his editor for the first time in days.

"He left for the day."

The hairs on the back of John's neck stood immediately, a cool shiver running down his spine, knowing exactly who was standing behind him. Turning slowly, preparing himself and throwing up an internal warning to stay calm, John's gaze locked on brown eyes.

Victor Trevor, ever present smirk ready and raring, stood before him. "Said he had some things to take care of."

John returned an insincere smile. "I see," he replied coolly.

Victor took a step forward. "I don't think he'll be back tonight." He glanced down at the curling, damp papers in John's hand and grimaced.
"If you'd like I can give that… thing to him. I'll be seeing him later and all."

Resisting the urge to scream, throat drying in protest, John narrowed his eyes, doing his best not to believe the words and failing miserably. "I'll just slip it under his door, thanks."

Victor's face dropped to false sincerity. "You're sure?" He asked in feigned concern. "I'll be meeting him round in an hour or so. I could just-"

"I said," John ground out through clenched teeth, "I'll slip it under his door."

Victor's evil grin was all the proof he needed to know his attempts and seeming unaffected were proving futile. "Very well."

John turned and ducked down, sliding the paper underneath the door with shaking fingers and as much dignity as he could muster, hardly daring to breathe. He could feel Victor's eyes on him.

Rising and ignoring the intent glare, John nodded once and took of toward the door. His hand was wrapping around the handle when the words came from behind him.

"You know," Victor's syrupy voice filtered into his ears, "I hope you've really thought this through."

Don't take the bait.

Don't take the bait.

Don't take the bait.

John was turning before he even consciously chose to. "Sorry?" he replied sharply.

Victor sighed as though this were all so tedious and annoying that John couldn't simply understand and move on. "Sherlock needs more then anything you could ever give him, John," Victor replied with a shake of his head as though John were just some poor sod with a hopeless crush. "He doesn't want some dumb jock like you. He needs an equal. Someone who can match him." Victor ran a keen eye over John's form. "In all aspects of his life. Physically, you're not even close. Intellectually, you're laughable. Sexually...well. I'm certain your skills wouldn't be able to please him. Although, I have heard you're rather…friendly in that area."

"How many times have you been punched in the mouth?" John bit back, forcing down the rage boiling deep in his bones. "Because I'd love to join that list."

Victor threw his head back and laughed in the most condescending way possible, showing his molars like some psychotic maniac. It might as well have been a scream the way John's blood curdled.

"Oh John," Victor cackled. "I'd stick to running after a ball and tackling boys to get your kicks. Boyfriend material, you are absolutely not."

Laughter waning, smile still plastered on, Victor lowered his face, light hitting him just so to look positively evil. "And if you know what's good for you," he growled, "you'll stay away from Sherlock Holmes."

Fighting down the squirming at the base of his spine, it was John's turn to laugh, because really, this couldn't actually be happening to him. "Jesus, what are you a theatre major? Take it down a notch with the dramatics."

Victor blinked. "Yes," he replied coolly. "I am a drama major."

John cocked his head. "And you think that's what Sherlock wants? A dramatic, spoilt brat?"

Victor pulled back slightly, fixing John was a smug glare. "Well when that dramatic spoilt brat is also double majoring in biochemistry, then yes, I think I'm right up his alley. You think he'd prefer a slutty jock over prestige and talent? Mm, I think not." He brought his wrist up to his face, glancing down at his watch as though just realizing the time. "In fact," he crooned, "I've got a little study date with our tasty editor. So if you don't mind, I'd better be off."

Discouragement, irritation and anger all swooped down heavily into John's stomach, rolling and beating and dropping all at once. John forced an eyeroll, certain his face was reddening with fury. "Whatever."

Before Victor could respond, John spun on his heel and took off, wanting nothing more than to get away from Victor Trevor and away from all the ugly truths he spoke. He could hear Victor chuckling darkly behind him.

 

 

 


 

 

 

"Alright, anything else we need to go over?" Sherlock glanced up. "John, you'll cover the rugby and football games this weekend?"

John nodded, ignoring the thrill running up his spine. His absurd reactions to just being acknowledged by his editor was truly pathetic, but he hadn't directly spoken to Sherlock in days, missing his individual weekly meeting on a fluke, instead ending up sparring with Victor and feeling utterly miserable. He'd finished off that carton of ice cream Greg kept stashed at their flat, feeling pathetic and unworthy and rather sorry for himself.

"What a hardship that must be for you," Victor's drippy voice came from behind him. "Having to report on sports. Poor dear. How will you ever manage?"

It wasn't that Victor's jabs were particularly cunning or clever, it was just the sheer condescension in his tone. The way he spoke as though everything John said or did was ridiculous. John hated to admit it but it was wearing on him. The looks he was thrown, the way Victor constantly raked his eyes up and down Sherlock's body, eye-fucking the shit out of him right in John's face was driving him up a wall. And his words from only days ago… they were hanging over his head like a sign, announcing to the world how truly unworthy he was of someone like Sherlock Holmes.

"Yeah, because making shit up to write about requires skill," John muttered in response, his own retorts becoming lame and boring even in his own head. He was tired. Just so bloody tired.

Someone snorted a laugh in response and John bit down on a smile. At least someone appreciated his efforts.

"Just because it's called gossip doesn't mean it's fictional," Victor bit back.

John rolled his eyes. The way Victor spoke made his skin crawl. It wasn't even natural. It was like he was forcing these sentences together, attempting to sound far more intelligent than he actually was. It was irritating to say the least, and John had had just about enough of it.

"Okay, I think that's all for today," Sherlock called at the front. "If you have questions, please ask someone else, I have no time for you people today. Oh and don't forget about the mixer next weekend. We're required to go and it's sure to be a miserable affair, so be sure to attend, drink copious amounts of cheap alcohol and act like complete morons. You know, the usual."

And with those parting words, Sherlock exited the room, leaving the writers to sort themselves, and John to wallow in his misery.

"So sad, isn't it?" Victor murmured in his ear. "That gorgeous body should be a crime. And look at you, lusting after it like some schoolboy. So pathetically sad."

"Oh my god," John whinged, bolting from his chair and out of the room. He couldn't take much more of this. He'd never been bullied before. He'd always been the all-around nice guy that people flocked to. He'd never felt bad about himself or questioned himself. He was treading in unknown waters and it was terrifying.

Ripping his coat from his desk chair, John furiously threw it over his shoulders.

"John?"

And just like that, the world righted itself. That deep, lovely baritone he'd longed to have directed at him found its way into his ears, flowing down into his soul and wrapping around him like a warm blanket. He turned, head already floating, snapping mental photos of his beautiful editor, eyes so very green today, crinkled in concern.

"Yeah?" he replied almost dreamily, wanting nothing more then to drag Sherlock by the collar out of this office and into his bed.

"Are you alright?"

John opened his mouth to respond when seemingly out of nowhere, Victor Trevor appeared at Sherlock's side. "He's fine," Victor replied for him. "Just a bit sick, aren't you John?"

John faltered, somehow falling wrong-footed in this conversation. He could just call Victor out. Call him a liar, say he's not sick. Profess his feelings for Sherlock and ride off into the sunset together.

But something stopped him. Fear of the unknown? Terror of rejection?

No.

He fought the thought so hard, his head ached but he knew. He knew what it was.

It was Victor Trevor.

In his head.

Fucking his mind up.

"Yeah," John nodded, clearing his throat. "Just a sore throat."

Sherlock's brow creased. "Oh," he said softly. "Well. Feel better."

"Thanks I-"

"He absolutely will," Victor chimed in again, face pinched with a fake smile. "He's got a date tonight!"

John's eyes bulged. Shaking his head vigorously, the word no just on the tip of his tongue, Victor suddenly turned to Sherlock, hand wrapping around his arm as though urgently needing something. "OH! Oh my, Sherlock, I forgot to tell you, I just spoke with our Chemistry professor, about the homework?" He slowly dragged Sherlock away, continuing to talk above John's protests and holding Sherlock's attention.

Swallowing so hard, he thought he may swallow his tongue altogether, John bolted from the office, biting back tears of frustration and hurt.

 

 

 


 

 

 

"What the fuck, John?"

Startling out of his intense focus on homework, John snapped his head up to find his flatmate glaring daggers into him, panting angrily. Greg slapped the folded newspaper he held in his hand down onto the table, crossing his arms with an irritated eyebrow raise.

John wrinkled his nose. "What?"

Greg huffed furiously and stabbed a finger onto the third page article the paper was already turned to. John glanced down, following Greg's direction.

The first thing he saw was the photo.

The second thing was the title.

The article read in bold letters. John took three tries to sort out what the meaning of the words were. The picture below it went a long way in explanation, showing John and Greg sitting side by side at their usual table in the courtyard. John was staring up at his friend, lips parted as though in awe, looking oddly smitten, which wasn't helped by the fond smile Greg appeared to be throwing in John's direction.

Even knowing it wasn't what it looked like, John had to admit it did look rather convincing.

Of course, if that wasn't enough, the article would do the trick.

Friends Having Lunch Or Something More?

Spotted: Co-Captains of the University Rugby team Greg Lestrade and John Watson having lunch together in the courtyard. A gentle shoulder nudge here, a shy smile there, these two sure do look cozy. Two captains sharing a meal or are our two beloved rugby players having a go at something more?

Written By: Victor Trevor

"Jesus Christ," John growled, scrubbing a hand down his face. "What the fuck?"

"Yeah, what the fuck is right," Greg barked, still looming over him. "What is this shit?"

"Look, mate, I'm sorry," John started. "Victor and I… got into it a bit last week. He's just getting back at me for it. Don't worry about it, I'll get it sorted-"

"Why was I bloody dragged into this?" Greg was seething above him, eyes blazing with fury.

John frowned. "Uh- I don't know. Probably just an easy target or something seeing as you live with me. I'm sorry, he has it out for me, I told you. It'll be fine-"

"It's not fucking fine, John!" Greg all but yelled, face going impossibly red.

John paused and waited a beat, trying to sort out exactly why his best friend was so unbelievably furious about being confused for his boyfriend. It wasn't like it was the first time this had ever happened. "What's the problem, Greg? Stuff like this has never bothered you before."

Greg opened his mouth to respond before snapping it shut again. "Nothing," he replied hastily. "Never mind."

John sat back in his chair and waited, absolutely not taking that as an acceptable answer. "Greg," he prompted.

Greg let out a frustrated sigh, running an agitated hand through his hair. "Christ - I like someone, okay?"

John's eyebrows shot up immediately. It had been a long time since Greg had fancied anyone. "Really?"

Greg glared back. "Yes really. Don't know why that's so hard for you to believe. And thanks for the vote of confidence. But I haven't… he doesn't know. Not yet. I'm still trying to work up my nerve. But he's…well it's complicated but I don't want him to think I have some sort of relationship with you before I even have a chance to…" Greg rolled his hand through the air to finish his sentence.

"Court him?" John said with a smirk.

Greg's lips twitched, fighting back a smile. "Shut up. Just… fix this, will you?"

John sighed. "Yeah, I'll try. You know this doesn't bode well for me either seeing as I'm trying to do a little courting of my own."

Greg nodded once sharply. "Good."

John rolled his eyes. "Jesus, who is this bloke who's got you all twisted up?"

"Why don't you worry about your precious Sherlock and I'll get myself sorted, yeah?"

John snorted. "Yeah alright."

Greg sat down heavily in the chair across from him at their small kitchen table. "So, what're you going to do?"

The heavy sigh elicited from John's lips was his only answer.

"Mate," Greg's voice had softened abruptly, and John glanced up to find his friends eyes crinkling in concern. "Why don't you just go for it? Just put it out there. You're miserable around here, and now this shit with this Victor guy? It's crap, John. You deserve better than this. Go see Sherlock, yeah? Just go and tell him how you feel."

Sometimes, Greg could be a complete wanker, and sometimes Greg said things like this and John actually smiled for the first time in days. "If you will, I will," John muttered.

"Not if you paid me a million quid," Greg laughed.

 

 


 

 

Taking a gamble and showing up unannounced and unscheduled at the newsroom, John sauntered slowly toward his editor's office, already feeling his resolve waning. He had talked himself into this, pacing back and forth until finally deciding Sherlock probably wasn't even there and it wouldn't hurt to go check and who knows maybe even just have a quick conversation since they'd missed each other recently, and overthinking every step he took until he was in the room and in the doorway, staring down Sherlock Holmes who was in fact there.

"Hey," John murmured uncomfortably.

"John," Sherlock replied without looking up.

John lingered for a long moment, shifting his weight back and forth, unsure if it was only him feeling awkward or if it was them both.

"Are you going to come in or are you just going to bob and weave in my doorway."

John snapped his gaze up to find Sherlock still not looking at him, but smirking slightly.

John huffed a laugh. "Sorry," he mumbled, taking a step into the office.

"Why are you here?" Sherlock said as John took a seat in the chair across from the desk. Never one to beat around the bush, his editor.

"Um... the uh- that article Victor wrote?"

"Mm," Sherlock replied in response.

"It's, uh, not true."

"It's gossip, John," Sherlock replied, scribbling away on the paper in front of him. "I don't expect anything he writes to be the truth."

"Er- yeah, I- I suppose, but I just meant that that really isn't true. I mean I'm not dating Greg, or anything, or anyone, I-"

"I'm aware you aren't dating Greg," Sherlock interrupted, voice conveying no emotion whatsoever.

John halted his bumblings and did his best to get a read on his unreadable editor, suddenly feeling like there was a lot more going on here then he'd even considered. "Um...okay. I just want to make that clear. That I'm not dating him. Or anyone. At all."

"I know that too, John," Sherlock replied.

John wasn't sure what he was expecting. He sort of hoped Sherlock would take it from there. Give some sort of acknowledgement one way or the other. Relief that John was single? Confusion as to why John was giving him this information? Anything at all?

Everything felt wrong. Everything. Like Sherlock wasn't saying something he wanted to. Like John should just blurt out everything he was thinking. Like their banter John had come to cherish was suddenly too much, the interaction too fragile.

John had no idea how to get around it. There was too much riding on this. Too much to lose. Too much of a risk.

Feeling off-balance, John took a chance and changed the subject as Sherlock continued not to look at him. "Are you going to the mixer tonight?"

"I'm required to," Sherlock grumbled.

"Should be fun."

"Mm."

"You'll be there around seven?"

"Yes."

"And the entire staff will be there?"

"Yup."

"Is it open bar?"

"No idea."

"Are you friends with anyone in any other clubs?"

"No."

"Are you bringing a date?"

Oh fuck.

Sherlock's head snapped up just as John was rising from his seat, ready to run with practiced ease. "What?"

Fuck.

He hadn't meant to say that.

Not at all.

Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuck.

"N-nothing," John replied quickly, retreating to the door.

Sherlock was staring wide-eyed at him. "John-"

"Sorry, I shouldn't...it's not-" John searched for an explanation, stammering stupidly, heart thudding hard in his chest in panic. "I'll see you, uh, there."

And without waiting for a reply, John turned and bolted, something he was becoming quite familiar with and perfecting quite nicely. At least he had that going for him.

 


 

"So… let me get this straight," Greg said slowly as John slumped in a familiar fashion onto the couch, still shaking from his interaction with Sherlock.

"Please don't make me repeat it," John grumbled.

"So you got there," Greg continued anyway. "And he was there. And you… started to…ramble, I suppose?"

John nodded dumbly.

"About not dating me?"

"Uh-huh."

"And then you said you were single."

"Basically."

"And he said nothing."

"Nothing."

"And then you…asked a bunch of weird questions."

"Yup."

"And he hardly responded."

"Essentially."

"And then you asked if he had a date tonight?"

"Greg," John groaned in frustration. Reliving it was worse then when it actually happened.

"And why didn't you just ask him to be your date?"

"Go away," John grumbled.

Greg sat silently for a long moment and John closed his eyes, head pounding with every emotion in the book.

Then hands were closing around his wrists. "The fuck?"

"Get up," Greg demanded, yanking John up from the couch. "Look, Jesus, I can't believe I'm saying this, but my uh… guy I'm interested in? Yeah, let's go with that. He'll be at the event tonight. So let's make a deal right this bloody minute, alright? A pact if you will. Between two captains and all that."

John furrowed his brow. "Uh-"

"I solemnly swear to make a move on the bloke I'm into tonight, if you also promise to do the same with Sherlock."

John sighed. "Greg, it-"

"Shut up and promise," Greg barked. "We're both being giant babies because we haven't done this in years and it needs to get bloody done, so just promise me right now, we're in this together and if one of us gets rejected, then the other has to promise to beat up the offending bloke. Deal?"

Greg was panting by the time he was done, glaring at John, waiting.

John's lips twitched as he threw his head back in resignation. "Fine," he grumbled to the ceiling.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Shoving his hands in his pockets and hurrying up the steps, Greg trailing behind silently, John's brow began to sweat. This was a big night for them both, and the nerves were finally starting to kick in the high gear. He'd managed to fend them off while getting ready and on the walk over, but now they were taking over. Now, they were racing through his veins, making his blood run hot and cold all at once, vibrating with anticipation. It had been a long time since John had really put himself out there like this. The fear of the unknown was something he hadn't experienced in a long while and now here it was, staring him in the face.

He was ready.

He had to be.

He'd made a deal with his best friend. There really was no going back.

They pushed open the doors to find a rather swanky event already in full-swing, small tables scattered around the court, three bars placed purposefully in each corner, a small dance floor sitting strategically in the center. Men and women mingled in small groups, drinks in hand, smiling and chatting excitedly.

The university really did pull out all the stops for their extracurricular students.

"Wow," Greg breathed beside him.

"Right?" John responded, turning to his friend. "A little over the top but-"

John cut himself off immediately at the sight of his best mate staring in complete awe at someone standing across the room. John couldn't help but smirk, idly wondering if he himself looked quite as gob smacked when he looked at Sherlock, and followed his co-captain's gaze to a rather dapper looking ginger-haired gentleman standing at the bar, scotch in hand, looking as though the entire event unfolding before him was boring the pants off him.

"That him?" John murmured as though the man may hear him from several meters away.

Greg nodded absently, eyes locked on his target, a rather stupid looking grin forming on his face. "Yeah," he breathed. "Yeah, that's him."

John waited. "Well? Go talk to him!"

Greg's smile cleared immediately as he took a small step back, shaking his head. "No…no not yet. I…I need a drink."

John snorted. "Alright, liquid courage may be a necessity tonight I suppose. Which bar?"

Greg turned immediately to the furthest one from the man across the room and made a beeline for it, head down, hands shoved in his pockets.

John shook his head, wondering why Greg couldn't simply pull it together and go talk to the guy he'd obviously fallen arse over tits for. It couldn't be that difficult.

Of course, that self-assured thought skidded to an abrupt halt as John turned to follow and instead laid eyes on the person he was equally dreading and needing desperately to see.

Dressed in a black button down and the usual black fitted trousers, Sherlock Holmes stood off to the side of the crowd, eyes green and sharp this evening, raking over the crowd in that all-knowing way he had, shoulders pulled back, shirt stretching slightly at the buttons.

John's body temperature skyrocketed as he took in this gorgeous human being he had absolutely no business being interested in the way he was. Average at best, John bit down hard on his lip and stood a little straighter.

Time to jump.

Take the leap.

Sink or swim.

John moved and like a magnet from his left, someone else came barreling out of the crowd with purpose toward him. John glanced just in time to see Victor Trevor smirking at him as he made his way to their editor, sashaying in such a way that made John's blood boil.

And just like that, just that single look, John lost his nerve entirely, spun on one heel and walked back out the door.

Fuck this.

He couldn't compete with that.

With that attitude and that intelligence and that bloody look.

All John had done in front of Sherlock was embarrass himself. Victor had of course assisted with that but in all reality, John should have handled this better. John should have taken this on much sooner, should have made a damn move, shouldn't have waited for someone like Victor to show up, swoop in and blow him right out of the water, killing any chance he ever thought he held with Sherlock Holmes.

Maybe it was better this way. Like John could ever keep someone like Sherlock anyway. Maybe Victor was right. Maybe John really was just some dumb jock. Fuck, Victor was in his head. Victor had John exactly where he wanted him. Second guessing himself. Questioning himself.

"Fleeing already?"

John spun around, a ripple of terror running down his spine following the unexpected sound of someone's voice behind him.

The man Greg had been ogling only minutes ago stood before him, hands dug into his pockets, sly smile on his face. "And so early in the night," the man continued. "I thought a man of your status wouldn't cower to someone as pathetic as Victor Trevor."

John slapped a hand to his chest, sucking in a sharp breath. "Christ, you scared the hell out of me," he muttered.

"My apologies," the man replied insincerely. "I thought the rugby captain would be prepared for someone simply speaking to him."

"Yeah, I- wait, what?" John took a moment to sort out if he should be offended or not by the implication of this man's words.

"Never you mind," the man said with a flick of his wrist. "We have more pressing matters to discuss."

John frowned. "We do?"

"We do."

"And you are?"

"An interested party."

John stifled a laugh. "Ominous."

The man smiled. "Yes, well."

"Yeah, I don't much care for anyone associated with Victor Trevor, so if you don't mind-"

"Oh good god, I am not in any way associated with Victor Trevor, I assure you," the tall man replied with a horrified look on his face.

John raised a challenging eyebrow, not entirely sure if he should trust this stranger or not.

"Really, John, I was hoping we could bypass the possibilities of conspiracies and simply move on to our common goal."

"Which is what exactly?"

The man's brow twitched upward, looking rather maniacal. "Taking something away from our dear Mr. Trevor. Something he wants."

John swallowed around a stab of panic rising in his throat. "Listen, I don't really do the whole 'ruining someone' thing. I mean the guy is a prick but I wouldn't want to actually hurt anyone."

The man stared blankly at John for three long seconds. Then promptly rolled his eyes. "For godsake," he muttered under his breath, "that was very much not what I was suggesting."

John pursed his lips, furrowing his brow in confusion. "Okay?"

The man sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger as though this conversation was nothing but torture for him. "Victor Trevor is a brat, John. A spoiled, snotty little child who gets whatever he pleases because his daddy pays his way through life. Victor has no imagination, no intelligence. Have you actually seen him act? He's ridiculous and terrible. The only reason he's in the drama program is because daddy dearest funded a new theatre for the school."

John stared. "Seriously?"

The man nodded. "And that double degree he is so hell bent on rubbing in everyone's face? He's failing. Miserably. Like I said, no intelligence whatsoever."

John shook his head. "No way, he would have been kicked out if he were actually failing-"

"Money talks, John," the man replied. "Victor is a fraud. A fake. Nothing more than a liar with an attitude problem and daddy's credit card in his back pocket. He is no better than you John. No better than anyone. Trust me."

"Well he's got Sherlock wrapped around his finger," John muttered, this conversation making him feel no better than before. So Sherlock ends up with someone terrible. Someone worse than John. Someone worthless. So what?

Fuck, even as he thought it, he knew damn well it wasn't 'so what?'. It was awful. The worst thing.

"No he doesn't," the man said sharply. "He doesn't have anything. Not yet. And if you would step up and quit second-guessing yourself, I'm quite sure you could kill two birds with one stone. Get what you want while taking something away from Mr. Trevor."

John blinked. "Did Greg tell you that?"

The man frowned in ignorance. "Tell me what?"

Faltering, John looked down, cheeks red as a cherry. "About how I feel for...about Sherlock."

"Oh," the man flipped his hand. "No, that was obvious."

John's eyes bugged. "What?"

"John," the man said slowly. "You practically started drooling when you walked in tonight. It wasn't that hard to figure out."

"Oh my god," John groaned, burying his face in his hands.

The man chuckled. "Don't be embarrassed. But stop avoiding it and fix this. For all our sakes." With that parting shot, the man turned to leave.

"Why are you so worried about this?" John said hurriedly. "What did Victor do to you?"

The man turned with a shrug. "Nothing. I just had him in one of the classes I assisted in last semester. He's a horrible little bastard. I pulled some strings and was able to give him his first failing grade. Money talks but so does information."

After this odd, random conversation, John couldn't do much more besides laugh. This had to be one of the most bizarre situations he'd ever been in. Really, what other reaction could he possibly have?

"What's your name?"

The man grinned. "Mycroft."

"Well, Mycroft, this has been weird and …oddly great."

A small smile formed on the man apparently named Mycroft's mouth. "Good luck, John."

John grinned back. "Greg is lucky to have you," he said with a chuckle.

Mycroft's face immediately fell, pleased crinkles turning to flat out confusion, mouth falling open in shock. "Sorry?"

Uh oh.

"N-nothing," John replied hastily. "Sorry- fuck, sorry, I didn't mean... I just know he likes you." Face flaming immediately at the implication, John shook a hand out in front of him. "No no, I mean, not that he likes you likes you, just that he likes being around you. Or, I mean he has said he enjoys your company... Like he thinks you're great... but not like that, just like he... is glad to...know you."

Oh good god.

Mycroft was staring at John, blinking rapidly, brow wrinkled.

"Gregory..." Mycroft said slowly, eyes skittering across the ground, clearly attempting to sort through John's stammerings "...likes me?"

"No! No no, he...he..." John tried again shaking his head vigorously. "He just... he said he..."

Mycroft was watching him closely, eyes narrowed in scrutiny, trying to decipher the ramblings of a mad man.

John sighed. "You know what," he said finally, deciding that Greg could jump on this throwing yourself out there train right along with him. Too bad if he didn't like it. "Fuck it. Yes, he likes you. A lot. So. There's that." Stepping around Mycroft and heading back toward the doors, John called over his shoulder, "I'm going to go put myself out there. I recommend you do the same."

Without waiting for a reply, John pushed his way through the double doors back into the gym, renewed energy coursing through him and determination running hot in his veins.

No time to waste, John barreled back inside head on a swivel. He had some business to take care of, and just enough momentum to truly make a fool of himself, and dammit all to hell, he was doing it. Right now. He'd already spilled one secret tonight. Why not keep it going?

Finding Greg first, John marched right over to him, grabbed the drink he held in his hand, and threw it back, swallowing it hard with a loud exhale.

"Hey!" Greg cried indignantly. "That was mine!"

"I told Mycroft you like him," John replied, eyes searching through the crowd for curly dark hair and pale skin. John could practically hear Greg's eyes bulge.

"You...WHAT?"

"Yup," John replied, wiping his arm across his lips. "I did. So I suggest you go sort that out while I take care of my own problem."

He didn't even give himself time to process the start of Greg's rant as he took off, deciding standing and waiting would do him no good. Circling the crowd like a vulture, John's blue eyes were blazing with determination, deciding not confronting this thing with Sherlock could be worse then rejection, and needing to get on with it before he lost his nerve.

Brown eyes caught his first, narrowed and knowing, an evil smirk sitting just below that.

Victor fucking Trevor.

There he was and John knew Sherlock couldn't be far.

Stalking over like a lunatic, John tore through the groups of people, making his way until both Victor and Sherlock were in full view, both holding drinks, chatting animatedly to each other.

It fueled the fire in John's belly, hot rage bubbling inside of him hardening his resolve all the more.

Fuck this kid.

Sherlock was worth the humiliation.

Unfortunately, Victor saw him coming, murmuring something to Sherlock and taking off toward John.

Oh, hell no.

"Move," John replied sharply before he'd even reached him.

Victor smirked, stepping up closer to John, angling himself in the way of his view of Sherlock. "Sorry Johnny, we're actually having a conversation."

"Yeah, I don't care," John replied, never taking his eyes off Sherlock. "Move."

"He's busy right now," Victor replied coolly. "Maybe later, if he's available, you can talk to him then."

"Are you his bodyguard?" John bit back.

"From petulant jocks? Absolutely."

"Oh fuck you," John growled viciously, moving to step around Victor. "Sherlock-"

"I said," Victor snapped, stepping in his way again, "he's busy."

John opened his mouth to retort, eyes flashing in irritation to the smirking boy in front of him, when his attention was snapped away to another, now familiar voice.

"Mr. Trevor," Mycroft's cool words came from behind him. "Is there a problem?"

To John's shock, Victor actually faltered, eyes widening at the taller man. "I- no," he murmured. "No problem."

"Mm," Mycroft responded. "You mind letting Mr. Watson by?"

Victor hesitated, looking back to John, then to Mycroft.

John glanced over in time to see Mycroft raise a defiant eyebrow, silently assessing and judging the hell out of the spoiled prat in John's way.

Victor, sighing as though a man resigned to his face, stepped aside, looking down. "Yes sir," he mumbled.

John shot Mycroft a meaningful look, as the tall ginger dropped a wink.

Encouraged and recharged with excited adrenaline, John took off toward Sherlock at the bar.

Or, well, where Sherlock just had been.

Fuck.

Fucking hell.

Where had he...

John spun round, reaching up on his toes and peeking around bodies. No. This is so not how this was ending. Hell no.

Just on the verge of finding Greg for an additional search party, he caught sight of dark curls pushing through one of the back doors.

John took off like a shot, practically running toward the exit, not letting this boy get away from him.

Throwing open the metal door with a bang, John practically ran into a tall, slender body, cigarette dangling between his lips, curls shaking as he stumbled backward.

"John?"

No thinking.

No more thinking.

Just doing.

John plucked the cigarette from between Sherlock's teeth, threw it to the ground, then wrapped his fingers into Sherlock's shirt and pulled him down.

Sherlock stumbled forward, uncoordinated and somehow graceful as his lips collided with John's.

Maybe it was a stupid thing to believe, but John had assumed once things were clear, once his feelings were made known, one he shoved his lips to Sherlock's, the adrenaline pumping through his body would ease. The tension would drain away and maybe Sherlock would pull back and nod that yes this is what he wanted, or shake his head no this is not the way he feels.

John did not anticipate the heat. He did not anticipate the spark lighting between their lips, the sheer want adding itself to the rushing blood in his veins, the taste of Sherlock's tongue, the quiet moans they were exchanging, filtering gasps and groans into one another's mouths. He didn't anticipate Sherlock's hands wrapping around John's arms, clinging to him, holding him in place. He didn't anticipate the need to shove Sherlock up against the wall and snog him until they both couldn't breathe, Sherlock giving back as good as he was getting, fingers digging into his skin, body pressing insistently to John's.

Having spent far too many hours daydreaming about what it would be like to kiss Sherlock's pillowy lips, this was far better than any fictionalized version John had created in his head. Sherlock tasted faintly of liquor mixed with a sweetness that John couldn't quite place, but Christ it was intoxicating, the flavor and movements of Sherlock's delicate mouth and sharp tongue. John gave himself over to it, grabbing possessively, pushing into every lick, every bite.

"Come home with me," John murmured between open-mouthed kisses against Sherlock's neck, barely registering that there was a far more important conversation they should be having, but deciding he'd just show him. Show Sherlock exactly what it was he wanted - which, of course, was everything.

"Yeah," Sherlock groaned. "Yes. God, yes."

 

 


 

 

Barreling through John's front door, mouths still connected, John stumbled in, dragging Sherlock along with him, refusing to unlatch his lips from Sherlock's. The journey home had been messy and grabby and giggly and delightful, but now they were here and John didn't want to waste anymore time.

"Are you sure?" John gasped between dives of Sherlock's delicious tongue into his mouth, boasting a bit with pride as Sherlock moaned and pushed into John's touch.

"What? Of course I'm sure," Sherlock replied gravelly, pushing at John's jacket. He paused slightly. "Are…are you not sure?"

"Oh I'm sure," John growled, descending his lips upon Sherlock's long neck. "Christ, I'm sure." His fingers found the back of Sherlock's head, holding him close as he sucked and kneaded his teeth into the smooth skin at the base of his throat.

Sherlock groaned, clutching at John's shirt and tilting his head to the side. "John," he gasped, holding him close.

Smirking, John went to work on flicking each button of Sherlock's fitted shirt open, revealing a plane of pale, silky skin. Several hairs curled out wildly along Sherlock's fit pectoral muscles, and John ran his fingers along gently, grazing over Sherlock's nipples, grinning as they hardened under his soft touch.

"Oh-" Sherlock murmured, lips closing around John's ear and sucking, pushing his chest further into John's hands.

John brought his mouth down to trail in between Sherlock's pectorals, planting wet kisses along his breast bone, snaking his tongue out to lave over the skin. Sherlock stayed close, his hand finding the back of John's head, riding the motion of his mouth against his body, breathing heatedly in John's ear, panting as John tongued at his nipple.

"John!" Sherlock cried softly, grip tightening in his hair at the sensation. "Oh, g-god…"

"Mm," John hummed, traveling back up to capture Sherlock's lips again. "Bedroom."

Sherlock's kiss deepened at that single word, hands coming to the hem of John's shirt and yanking it up, only pausing the kiss to pull it clean over his head. "Yes," he growled, sliding his fingers into the small space between John's belt buckle and his jeans and tugging, pulling him along.

John giggled and followed, stealing kisses as they made their way to the bed, belts unhooking, buttons popping open, zippers unzipping, until finally a very naked John was pushing an equally nude Sherlock onto his back, angling him so his head hit the pillows gently, and crawling over him, leaning down to find his lips again. Sherlock hummed underneath him, thumbing at John's nipples and sucking hard on his bottom lip.

Without preamble, John brought a hand down to wrap snuggly around Sherlock's cock, wanting desperately to touch the hardened flesh he'd felt against his abdomen only minutes earlier. Heat radiated off the tender skin, sitting hot and heavy within John's grasp.

The guttural cry that spilled from Sherlock's lips into John's mouth was so fucking hot, John gave a gentle, slow twist on the upstroke, tasting Sherlock's next moan.

"J-John, oh god, oh-" Sherlock murmured, threading his fingers in John's hair and hanging on as John stroked over him. Watching intently, John savored every reaction he elicited from the beautiful body below him, every arch, every cry. John couldn't get enough. Christ, he didn't want to hurry through this, but fuck it, he couldn't wait any longer. He'd been waiting. He'd been waiting forever.

"John- Oh, fuck, John, get o-on with it," Sherlock moaned, writhing and rolling his hips into John's hand.

John grinned against his lips. "Bossy."

Sherlock smiled, huffing a laugh that promptly turned into a stutter and a gasp as John thumbed the head of his cock. "J- oh, god, please."

John dragged his hand downward to the base of his cock, releasing his grip and cupping Sherlock's balls, tenderly rolling them in his hand. Sherlock sighed, his frantic kisses slowing to a caress of his lips against John's, calming from frantic thrashes to slow, undulating waves, body rolling in time with John's ministrations, hands loosening their snug grasp on John's hair.

John's fingers wandered further, brushing over Sherlock's perineum to the tender skin between his arsecheeks, pressing a finger to his opening. "You want this?" John breathed, applying a bit more pressure as Sherlock gasped.

"Yes," Sherlock murmured harshly. "L-lube, we need-"

"I've got it," John leaned over to the night table, keeping one hand on Sherlock as he pulled the drawer open for his supplies.

"Good to know you're prepared," Sherlock teased.

John turned back to his task, gaze lifting to bite back a remark of his own. But upon seeing Sherlock spread out beneath him, eyes glazed over, face flushed, lips parted in anticipation, John's breath caught in his throat. He scrambled up the bed to lay another kiss on this gorgeous boy's mouth, simultaneously flicking the lid of the small bottle open and pouring some onto his fingers, sweeping his tongue back into Sherlock's mouth.

Christ, this couldn't be real. How had John gotten lucky enough to get to have Sherlock like this? Sherlock with his unbelievably sensual lips and tousled, wild curls. Sherlock with his sharp angles and long limbs. Sherlock who was absolutely a pretty boy but with such a depth to him that most people didn't fully understand, his intelligence going almost unnoticed. Sherlock with his sharp tongue but soft eyes, gazing up at John, simply watching and waiting with baited breath.

John wanted to give him everything. Everything he ever could.

Circling Sherlock's puckering opening with his middle finger, John gently slid his finger inside, watching intently for any signs of discomfort.

Sherlock, however, simply melted into the mattress, eyes closed, panting slightly, hips moving rhythmically with John's hand.

"More," he murmured, spreading his legs further. John grinned.

Fuck Victor Trevor. John knew what he was doing in the bloody bedroom.

Sliding another finger in to fit next to the first, John stretched and prodded, loosening the tight ring of muscle as Sherlock moaned.

"J-John," Sherlock gasped. "I'm…if you want to start you… you can."

John chuckled and folded himself over Sherlock's lengthy torso until he could reach those pouty lips again. "You're not quite ready, but thank you for offering," he murmured, capturing Sherlock's bottom lip between his own.

Sherlock smiled, attempting a laugh of his own and abandoning it halfway through as John crooked his fingers just so.

"Fuck, ohhhh fuck," Sherlock muttered, wriggling his hips against John's hand, fingers digging into the sheets beneath him.

Preening over delivering someone a bit of pleasure was a bit immature, but John didn't much care. He was completely mesmerized by the incredible sounds Sherlock was making, the way his body moved toward John like a magnet, the way his mouth dropped open further when John touched him in the perfect way. This couldn't be real. After all these weeks of stress and terror, this right here couldn't possibly be happening.

Already, John was thinking about the next time they do this. And the time after that. And the time after that. Luckily, John had already prepared for this. He already knew just how deep in his was with Sherlock Holmes. No turning back now. Everything he could ever want, everything he had wanted for so long was currently naked, moaning and writhing beneath him, and John had no intention of letting him go.

And with that last thought, John withdrew his digits, trying not to laugh at the grumble Sherlock made in protest, and slid his hands under Sherlock's thighs, hauling him closer, effectively pulling Sherlock's hips onto his own. Sherlock tilted his pelvis upward and wrapped his legs around John's waist, spreading himself further as though welcoming John in. John took a moment to admire the view, this gorgeous creature splayed out beneath him, every inch of him flushed and vibrating, fingers twitching in the comforter seeming to want to reach out to John, every nerve in Sherlock's body seemed to be gravitating toward him, his body responding to every touch, every tease, every breath. Even his cock twitched upward, straining toward John for attention.

He was a sight to be had. And John absolutely planned on having him.

Lost in his observation, John almost missed Sherlock suddenly tensing.

"Or… or I could turn over, if you…if you'd prefer…" Sherlock stammered, the clasp of his legs around John's hips loosening slightly as he went to move.

John's hands flew to Sherlock's thighs, tugging him close again. "No way," John shook his head. "I want to see you."

The flush in Sherlock's cheeks darkened impossibly deeper, creeping down onto his neck and chest. "Oh," he murmured, seemingly stunned, eyelids fluttering slightly.

John smiled and leant down to plant a soft kiss on Sherlock's knee, then guided his erection to Sherlock's entrance, pushing lightly before snapping his gaze up to Sherlock for a final confirmation.

Sherlock was propped up on his elbows, watching John's every move, eyes wide and dark as he eyed the cock about to enter him. He licked his lips and pressed his hips upward as far as he could, silently asking for it.

It was the sexiest thing John had ever witnessed, the sight of Sherlock straining for him, wanting it as badly as John did. And with that look on Sherlock's face burning in his mind, John pushed in.

The gasp John made was covered by Sherlock's own cry, his body pulling taut for a half a second before relaxing completely, hands loosening their white-knuckled grasp on the comforter, head falling back to the pillow.

"Good?" John murmured.

Sherlock smiled, eyes still closed. "Yeah, good. Go on," he murmured, rolling his hips.

John leaned forward, pressing a kiss to Sherlock's sternum, sliding a hand behind one of Sherlock's thighs to open him a bit further, and trailed his lips up to meet Sherlock's again.

Sherlock's arms locked around his neck, holding him close, and John thrust in, swallowing down Sherlock's next moan.

Settling onto an elbow and gripping one of Sherlock's legs over his hip to keep him from scooting up the bed, John set a steady pace, snapping his hips insistently. Sherlock's heels dug into his lower back as he clung to him, making soft little pleased noises and pushing himself back to meet John's every thrust.

Knowing better then to trust those all too calm sounds, John shifted his weight, positioning his angle just so, searching for-

"Fuck!" Sherlock burst out as John's cock nudged against his prostate with the perfect amount of pressure. "Jesus- fucking – oh fucking hell, John-"

Sherlock was clinging to him, face buried in his neck as he sobbed through every wave of intense pleasure John delivered to him. "Yes, god, yes, John, yes yes yes," he babbled, lips brushing against John's pulse point, hot breath ragged on his skin.

"Oh, Christ Sherlock," John murmured, his own orgasm looming all too close, every nerve in his body responding to Sherlock's praises and pleas. His body pulled John in deeper, tightening his grasp around John's cock rhythmically. John audibly groaned, turning to push his face into silky ringlets that smelled like lavender and wholly Sherlock. It was overwhelmingly intoxicating.

"Oh- oh John…John! John, I…I want to… can I? Can I please-"

John didn't need Sherlock to beg for it. He didn't need Sherlock to even ask.

Without responding, John released Sherlock's leg and snaked his hand between them, continuing his quick, sharp thrusts, and took Sherlock in hand, stroking him in time as he pistoned into him.

Sherlock threw his head back. "Oh god yes, yes, yes John, yes…oh…oh…"

"Yeah, come on Sherlock," John growled, hips beginning to stutter uncoordinatedly as a deep pleasure coiled at the base of his spine, begging to unravel. He stroked Sherlock faster. "Come for me. God, I want you to, please come."

And on the heels of those words, Sherlock's entire body tensed, mouth frozen open in a silent scream, eyes slammed shut. John watched as a sudden and violent tremor ripped through the boy beneath him, starting in Sherlock's hips as he came, long white ropes spurting onto his stomach and chest, and rippling through the rest of his body, muscles clenching around John.

"Oh f-fuh-" was all John could get out before his own orgasm tore through him, his body shuddering through his release, the sight of Sherlock Holmes coming heightening his pleasure all the more. "Christ, Sherlock," he muttered, twitching through the sparks and tingles, eyes locked on the boy below him still gasping and panting to recovery.

John collapsed, body exhausted from the sheer intensity of what just transpired, and curled himself around Sherlock, kissing his cheek and sighing contentedly.

They laid silent for a long while, both inhaling each other's musky after-sex scents and holding on, listening to the other's breathing slow.

Sherlock was the first to move, twitching slightly underneath John.

"Sorry," John murmured with a soft laugh, "my weight probably isn't super comfortable." He slipped his softening cock from Sherlock and pulled back, tugging the condom free. "That was-"

He stopped short as Sherlock scrambled out from under him and off the bed, diving for his clothes in a rather panicked, erratic way.

"Sherlock?" John froze on his knees, still completely naked, feeling oddly vulnerable as Sherlock yanked on his trousers. "Sherlock? Hey, where are you-"

But Sherlock was already out the door to the main room, still topless.

"Hey!" John called, jumping off the bed and scurrying to his dresser to find a pair of pajama bottoms so at least he could keep some of his dignity, having never had a lover run out on him like this. He hurried out into the main room to find Sherlock just finishing buttoning up his shirt. "What are you doing?"

Sherlock turned sharply to John. "Sorry?"

John blinked. Seriously? Did Sherlock really believe this is what normal behavior was after sex?

"Uh- what are you doing?" John repeated. "Why are you getting dressed?"

Sherlock frowned. "Because I can't walk home naked," he said slowly, seeming unsure if John would comprehend his words.

John's stomach dropped suddenly. "Why are you going home?"

Sherlock blinked in confusion. "Because I live there?"

John stared incredulously at him. "Sherlock, what the bloody hell is going on? Why aren't you staying?"

"Because I don't live here? John, this conversation is getting rather tedious."

"You don't… Jesus Christ, we just slept together for the first time and you're just going to fucking bail?" John demanded. Now he was getting angry. This was not proper relationship etiquette. This was not on.

Sherlock frowned. "Did you want me to…have tea or something?"

Anger was quickly turning to furry mixed with a nasty case of hurt. "I want you to stay here!" John yelled rather childishly, but vulnerability was getting the better of him. He'd wanted this for so long. So long, he'd dreamt about being with Sherlock. And finally, finally he'd gotten him and would like to bask a little in the afterglow. Why was that so difficult to understand? "Why don't you want to stay the night with me?"

Sherlock was still eyeing him like he was the nutter. "In my experience, one does not stay the night after a one night stand. It leads to discomfort in the morning."

That yanked John right back to reality. His furious brain suddenly cleared as he processed exactly what he'd just heard. He blinked rapidly until his eyes refocused and sharpened on the beautiful boy still slightly flushed in front of him. "You... I...What?"

Sherlock fell silent, brows raised, gaping incredulously at John for a long moment.

Then he turned to pick up his coat off the floor.

John rushed to him, reaching out a hand. "I don't want this to be a one night stand," he said hastily, shaking his head and laying a hand on Sherlock's forearm.

Sherlock wrenched himself out of reach and stepped back, swinging his coat over his shoulders furiously.

"I don't want you to go," John said softly. "I don't want this to be a one time thing."

"Well, I'm sorry about that but I don't do the casual thing," Sherlock replied coolly, doing up the buttons of his bellstaff.

"The...casual?" John reached out again, tightening his grip this time when Sherlock tried to pull away. "Sherlock- Christ, will you please explain what the hell you're talking about?"

"I think I was pretty clear," Sherlock bit back. "Now if you'll let go-"

"Sherlock," John demanded.

"I don't do this!" Sherlock yelled, turning his back to John. "I don't… I don't do this," he repeated softer this time.

"Hey- do what?" John replied even quieter. "Please. Please explain it to me, Sherlock."

Running a hand through his curls, Sherlock sighed, shoulders rising and dropping heavily. "I don't want to just... fool around or whatever it is you like, John," he said sharply over his shoulder. "I don't... I know you like casual and unattached but I can't be - I don't do that." He went to move toward the door, body already curling slightly in on itself, when John reached out to grab his wrist again. "This was a mistake."

"No," was the only word John could form because, Christ, it had taken them this long to get to this and dammit all if he wasn't going to see this through. "No, hold on."

"John, don't," Sherlock's voice had become so small. "I've done this once before, okay? The friends with benefits or casual dating or whatever else you want to call it, doesn't work for me."

"I-" John started, then immediately froze, foggy after-sex brain sharpening.

The way he said that made something tug on John's heartstrings. Something that connected to his brain and flipped a switch, snapping its fingers to gain John's attention, to listen, really listen, and understand and get it.

And when it sunk it, John's only-jealous-for-Sherlock mind beat its fist against its chest and growled ferociously.

Because it all suddenly made sense.

The unattachedness of their conversations.

The uncertainty in compliments.

The confusion in flirting.

The questions during sex. Are you sure? I can turn over if you want? Can I come?

Someone had broken Sherlock's heart.

Somewhere along the line, before uni, before John, someone had used Sherlock. Someone had disregarded his feelings, used his body for their own needs, taken whatever they wanted, claiming something stupid like it's all just fun or it's just casual, taking no concern with the incredible boy they were screwing around with, shattering and stomping all over his feelings, leaving him to pick up the pieces.

Jesus, it was so goddamn obvious now, John clenched his jaw to keep the scream from escaping his lips.

He should have made a move a long time ago.

He should have declared his feelings, asked Sherlock to be his, and bloody taken care of him.

This boy. This serious, intense, closed off, wary boy had been hurt. Some stupid fucking prat out there had done a number on this utterly perfect boy, had made him this way. Had forced him to protect himself from another heartbreak. He made him disbelieving and frightened of his feelings and convinced that everyone would do that to him.

And of course, John's reputation hadn't helped in the least.

Or Victor Trevor certainly whispering in his ear constantly.

John had the overwhelming urge to hold Sherlock. Hold him tightly to his chest and kiss his temples and his curls and his cheeks and his neck and never let anyone hurt him ever again.

"I do want to date you," John replied fiercely, tugging on Sherlock's wrist. "Jesus, I want to be with you Sherlock. So much."

Sherlock shook his head. "I know you like casual-"

"Okay, who in the bloody fuck told you that exactly?" John demanded, his desperation turning into downright rage as he gripped Sherlock's hand. "Sure I've had some fun, but Christ, I want so much more with you Sherlock."

The taller boy didn't reply, his back stiffening slightly, seeming to refuse to turn.

"I like you so much," John said softly, stepping closer, fingers lacing with Sherlock's. "You're... you are what I want. You make me laugh constantly. You have the nicest smile when you're happy. You're snarky as all hell," he nudged Sherlock's shoulder with his and the curly-headed boy huffed a quiet laugh. "You're gorgeous," John murmured, turning round to step in front of Sherlock. Those ethereal, silver, currently wide eyes caught John's blue and held his gaze, looking so scared and unsure. But the hint of hope, and the softness that sat just behind that was what kept John going.

"You're stunning, Sherlock," John whispered as he lay his hand against Sherlock's cheek, stroking a thumb along his cheekbone. Sherlock leaned into the touch. "And as much as you pretend you don't, I know you care. About this paper, about your writers. I can see it. I love that about you. Although you could stand to be a little nicer."

Sherlock chuckled. "Maybe," he muttered.

"Except to Victor," John growled. "Don't be nice to Victor."

Sherlock grinned a real, genuine grin. "You're jealous," he said softly, his eyes disbelieving but his mouth pleased as punch.

"You're goddamn right I am," John growled. "Do you know how painful it was to watch you talking tonight? Or ever really? And he knows too, he knows how I feel about you. He's a mean fucker. No more being nice to him."

"Okay first of all, have you met Victor Trevor?" Sherlock replied dubiously. "He's completely ridiculous."

John's eyebrows shot up. "What? I thought you two were friends?"

Sherlock snorted. "You're kidding right?"

John faltered, feeling like he'd missed something. "But you're always like...smiling and...laughing and stuff."

"Well, I am a human being, John," Sherlock replied, pursing his lips to keep from laughing. "I do smile and laugh on occasion."

John glared back. "I thought you were flirting with him."

Sherlock's mouth dropped open. "I would never flirt with Victor Trevor. I don't even know how to flirt."

John couldn't help but smile. "I know."

Sherlock opened his mouth momentarily, then snapped it closed, eyebrows wrinkling together to form a single crinkle in the center. "Oh my god," he murmured, eyes skittering across the ground in thought. "That's why...he's the one who told me about your promiscuity."

John bit back a growl. "Jesus, I wasn't just some easy shag. Can you not call it that?"

Sherlock blinked. "What else would I call it?"

"How about that time in John's life we no longer talk about because we're together and only sleeping with each other?"

Sherlock startled slightly. "To-...together?"

John smiled. "Yes, Sherlock," he said slowly, mocking Sherlock's common tone of talking to him like he might not understand. "Together. Would you like to be my boyfriend?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes, although the sarcastic gesture was hurt a little by the happy glow in his cheeks and the smile on his face. "Boyfriends are supposed to be nice to each other," Sherlock muttered.

"Then you stand to learn a thing or two, yeah?" John teased, pulling this impossible boy closer.

Sherlock laughed as John kissed his cheek.

A thought scurried across his mind and John pulled back sharply to look Sherlock in the eye. "But no more being nice to Victor. I'm serious about this. Be mean to him. All the time. Whenever possible."

Sherlock snorted, sliding his hands around John's hips. "You have nothing to worry about," he murmured. "You are who I want. I just didn't think you wanted this... a relationship... with me."

"I want you," John whispered fiercely. "I'll tell you as many times as you'd like, but I want you. I want to be with you. All of it. I want it. With you."

Sherlock smiled leaning his forehead down against John's. "Alright, calm down," he muttered and John laughed, reaching for a kiss.

"Good, now that that's sorted, we can do one of two things," John said, running his hands up Sherlock's back. "We can either go back to bed right now and find more wicked things to do to each other. Or we could go back to the party and snog each other senseless in front of Victor Trevor. The choice is yours."

Sherlock let out a loud, belly laugh, shaking his head adoringly at John and grinning from ear to ear. "Bed, I think," he chuckled, reaching for John's hand. "I don't think the editor of the school newspaper sucking face with one of his writers in public would look so good."

"Yeah, I very much don't care about that but I suppose I can see your point," John sighed dramatically and Sherlock giggled, pulling him back to the bedroom and closing the door with his foot. "Now, where were we? Oh right, you were about to take your clothes off again."

Sherlock snorted. "Oh really?"

"Mmhmm," John murmured, reaching for the buttons. "I find a naked Sherlock much more pleasant than a clothed one."

"I'll keep that in mind," Sherlock breathed, watching as John slipped the buttons through their holes again, inhaling sharply as John pushed his shirt off his shoulders back to the ground where John firmly believed it belonged for good.

A loud, sharp bang rang out through the small flat and John's fingers froze in their movements, eyes shooting up to find an equally frightened Sherlock.

"The fuck was that?" he murmured, throwing his arms around Sherlock's waist to keep him close. Sherlock went to move around him, brow creasing from terror to curiosity. John dug his fingers into his hips to hold him in place, feeling the need to push Sherlock under the sheets and cover him with his body, protect him from whatever was out there.

Sherlock frowned down at John's hands curling in on him. "John?"

"Hush," John whispered, straining to hear anything-

"Ohhh god-" a low moan came from the hallway and John's body immediately relaxed.

"Fucking Christ," he blew out a breath. "It's just Greg. And-"

"Uh! Y-yeah... yeah, yes-" Greg's stuttered, muffled words filtered through the door.

"Articulate, your flatmate," Sherlock whispered, raising an eyebrow.

John threw a hand over his mouth to stifle his laugh. "Be nice," he whispered. "He's had a crush on this guy for a while, I suppose they-"

"Ohhh fuck Myc-" Greg cried and John bit down on his hand to stifle his laugh.

"Wow," he chuckled, "this is a whole new level for us as flatmates."

He glanced up to find a comically wide-eyed Sherlock staring down at him in absolute horror.

John crinkled his brow. "What?"

"What's the man's name?" Sherlock growled. "The one Greg has a crush on, do you know-"

"Fuck! M-Myc...Mycroft, y-yes-" Greg continued to moan.

"Mycroft, apparently," John teased with an unsure smile, watching as Sherlock's mouth dropped open. "Who apparently must be great at sucking-"

Sherlock's hand flew to his mouth, slapping his palm over his lips. "Do not finish that sentence," Sherlock spat with as much venom as he could manage while whispering.

John's eyebrows shot up, silently asking what the bloody fuck is wrong with you?

"Mycroft happens to be my brother's name," Sherlock whispered sharply. "And seeing as Mycroft is a rather uncommon name, my guess is that we are currently listening to my sibling perform fellatio on your flatmate, and this may be the most scarring, horrifying moment of my lifetime."

John's eyes widened impossibly larger, before another loud moan filled the flat.

Then John started giggling. It started as a soft huff behind Sherlock's hand and began to build, stomach muscles clenching.

"Stop laughing!" Sherlock cried indignantly. "This is not funny!"

Which of course only made John laugh harder.

Sherlock abandoned his grip on John's mouth and instead opted to dive into John's bed, under the covers with a pillow over his head.

Still giggling, John crawled in beside him, snuggling up and ducking under the pillow too, which did in fact make a nice sound barrier.

"This is the most upsetting thing that has ever happened to me," Sherlock garbled into the sheets.

God, he was absolutely adorable. John did his best to stifle his laughter, pressing kisses to Sherlock's cheeks as he wiggled himself closer.

"I actually met him," John replied conversationally. "Nice bloke. He helped me with you actually…"

The realization crashed over them both at once and John nodded, rather impressed. "Sneaky," he muttered.

"Oh my god," Sherlock groaned.

"Come on, it's a bit poetic," John cackled, pulling Sherlock closer under the pillow. "The Holmes brothers both started relationships on the same night, assisting each other in the process. So romantic."

Sherlock scoffed indignantly, but pushed into John's grasp anyway. "You have to move out," Sherlock grumbled. "Move somewhere I never have to see or hear this nonsense ever again."

John wrapped his arms around Sherlock's waist, snuggling into him. "Already making demands so early in our relationship?"

Sherlock nodded. "We're making an agreement. A boyfriend's agreement. I will be mean to Victor and you will move. Deal?"

John snorted and pressed a kiss to Sherlock's ear. "Yes dear."