I'm coming home. Paula stood me up. And don't say 'I told you so' because I know you did and I don't want to hear it. –JW
I told you so. –SH
Ha ha, you're hilarious. Not. Hope your evening was less disappointing. –JW
Well, perhaps we can remedy it when you return. I have chips. –SH
You like chips. –SH
It'll help the empty stomach, I guess. Thanks. –JW
I think I'm just done with dating for a while. –JW
Hurry along, then. I'll put the kettle on. –SH
I've already got a cab; need anything from Tesco? –JW
Lighter fluid. –SH
I fancy an experiment in the morning. –SH
You're out already? I just got some for you last week. –JW
Just don't burn down the flat. –JW
I need extra. –SH
…Should I be worried? Because I sort of am. –JW
No. I haven't destroyed any of your belongings in over a month. You should be pleased. –SH
I'm more concerned about the kitchen, but yes, you're right, you haven't. –JW
Let's not change that anytime soon. Or ever. –JW
Let's not make promises, John. –SH
Remember the science, John. All for the science. –SH
I still don't see how burning my Christmas jumper was "for science". –JW
It was hideous. I saved humanity. It was for the sake of evolution. –SH
Jammie Dodgers too, please. –SH
How does that even—you know what, never mind. If you say so. But don't touch any more of them. In fact, don't even go into my room. –JW
Honestly? I just got outside. Fine, fine. Anything else? –JW
That will do. Thank you. –SH
I should get a lock for my door while I'm here, but you'd probably crack the combination in five minutes. –JW
Don't be so dramatic, John. –SH
Kettle is about to boil. Hurry up. –SH
I'm not being dramatic. You just have no sense of personal boundaries. –JW
We're flatmates. Therefore, what is in the flat is accessible. –SH
We don't share rooms, though. –JW
Your tea is getting cold. –SH
I'm almost there; bloody lights. I'll just heat it up. –JW
I made it the way you like it. You should be pleased. –SH
I'll be the judge of that, but I appreciate it. –JW
I still told you so. –SH
About the tea or Paula? For your sake, I really hope it's the tea you're talking about this time. –JW
You know perfectly well what I mean. –SH
Yeah, and I wish I didn't. I'm here; be up in a minute. –JW
John pockets his phone with a muted sigh and works his way into the foyer of Baker Street. He ascends to 221B, the shopping in hand, and nudges the door open with his shoulder after unlocking it. His eyes immediately spot Sherlock on the sofa, perched upside down. His mobile is on his chest and his hands are in steeple formation, his typical pose for concentrated thought. He is in his dressing gown and pyjamas. He opens his eyes when John opens the door. "Your tea is in the microwave," he says.
John doesn't bat an eye at the detective's bizarre pose. "Right," he utters with a little nod. "Thanks." The doctor meanders into the kitchen and sets the bags down. "Want one now?" he calls. "A Jammie Dodger."
"Please." Sherlock opens his mouth. He expects John to place the biscuit on his tongue.
It takes a few moments of silence for John to catch on. He peers out at Sherlock from the kitchen and rolls his eyes. He plucks a Jammie Dodger from its bag and walks into the sitting room. "You're ridiculous," he sighs, though he complies and puts the treat in Sherlock's mouth.
Sherlock grins as he tastes the biscuit on this tongue. He murmurs in appreciation and chews it slowly. He brushes the crumbs from his face and licks his fingers. "Wouldn't still live here if you didn't find me the least bit useful," he responds.
The soldier's feet carry him back into the kitchen. With a few taps to the microwave buttons, his teacup begins warming. "You usefulness has nothing to do with it. I'm never bored. That's enough to keep me here." He shrugs. "Though, I guess you have a point." …Even though he may have lost good jumpers and part of his mind via Sherlock's explosive experiments.
"I'm always right."
"Obviously," John scoffs lightly under his breath. A thin frown tugs at his lips. The microwave beeps, catching his attention. He retrieves his cup and returns to the sitting room. He sinks into his chair and sighs. "An hour and a half of just… sitting there. It's humiliating."
"I'm not just sitting, I'm thinking. Besides, it's better than you running off with your dates. Pointless."
"I wasn't talking about you," John glances in Sherlock's direction. "You sit like that anyway. It's not every day that I wake up and decide to sit in restaurants by myself, feeling a royal git." He bites his tongue to silence himself. He inhales slowly and takes another sip. John looks down into the cup. "It's good," he murmurs absently, gesturing to the tea.
Sherlock smiles. "You are a royal git, but I still make tea the way you like."
John purses his lips and sets down his tea. "You know what—" he turns to face Sherlock, holding up a finger, but any sharp-tongued remark he has fails and he sighs with a shake of his head. He puts down his hand. He smiles lightly as he eyes his flatmate. "You still look ridiculous. Have you really been like that the entire time?"
"Aside from your tea, yes. Problem?" he asks. "Did you really sit like that for a half hour?" Sherlock only half listened to John's complaints, and was oblivious to time passing.
"Tack on another hour and you're on the nose." John sighs and slouches in his chair. His hand slides into his pocket, and he quickly deletes Paula's number from his contacts. "I was waiting for someone. You were just… sitting… thinking… and brewing tea."
Sherlock licks his lips. He stares at John. "Who's to say I wasn't waiting for someone either?"
John snorts. "Right." He sips his tea. "Okay, so who was the Great Sherlock Holmes waiting for?" He sets his tea down. "Mrs. Hudson? Lestrade?" He chuckles and cants his head to look Sherlock's way. "Your brother?"
Sherlock puts his hands on the sofa and twists his body so he faces upright. He places his elbows on his knees and cups his face, still staring at his flatmate.
John watches Sherlock's unwavering gaze and a sudden thought clicks in his mind. He narrows his eyes and shifts in his chair. "…Me? Were you just waiting for me to come back?"
Sherlock says nothing. He breaks eye contact and sighs. He stands and wanders into the kitchen. John stares at Sherlock's empty seat. He blinks, thoughts consuming him, before shaking his head and reaching for his tea again.
Sherlock retrieves another Jammie Dodger. He slips a second one in his pocket for later. He nibbles on it while he returns to the sitting area. John notices him hogging the biscuits and frowns. "I bought those for the both of us," he sips his tea again. "Don't go eating them all on your own." Sherlock responds by chewing viciously, opened mouthed, and without proper manners. He resumes his place on the sofa, this time laying horizontally, flat on his back.
"What else would you be doing tonight?" Sherlock quips. There are no cases; everything in town is quite calm, which is not good for keeping happy, stimulated Sherlocks. He regrets his question, not wanting to envision John out on the town with his dates. He shuts his eyes, keeping his face placid.
"Huh?" The question catches John off-guard. He squints and considers commenting on Sherlock's strange behaviour, but settles for the simpler route. "You mean if the date had gone according to plan? I'd just be getting to know Paula better. Maybe go for a walk in the park after dinner." He shrugs. "Otherwise, I'd just be sitting here with you, or wherever you drag me to. It's not like you have Lestrade begging you for your help right now." He sets his tea on the saucer.
"You could do the same with me." He seals his lips tightly. He cannot believe he just said that. Sherlock Holmes never falters his words… and he just did. He reaches into his pocket for the extra Jammie Dodger and distracts himself with it.
John brows knot together tightly. He watches Sherlock for a moment, silently repeating the words he heard (had he heard them correctly?). "Do… what the same?" he asks quietly. "You don't mean the—" he can't bring himself to say the word 'date'. "Well, I mean… that's between two people who like each other." He shifts awkwardly and avoids looking at Sherlock. He feels uncomfortable.
Sherlock stuffs the Jammie Dodger in his mouth, chewing it slowly, focusing completely on his jaw movements. He cannot bring himself to respond to John, nor look at him. When he swallows, he stares at the ceiling.
John sighs softly. He knows this isn't the first date-related silence between them, but he is still unsure about what to do. He glances to the stairs and contemplates leaving the room, but something anchors him to stay with Sherlock. "Then what are we doing here?" he suddenly blurts as if he can't control his voice.
Sherlock sits up. He expected John to storm out of the room, curse at him loudly—perhaps even threaten to move out. Perhaps it's just his insecurities and strong desire for drama.
John stands and moves to the kitchen to finish his tea and clean the cup. "You mentioned something about chips, right?"
"Ah, yes, I lied about those to make you feel better. At least you had tea."
"Never mind it- I know a spot we can go, if you want. I'm still feeling for getting away for the night." He can't believe his words but he can't bother to stop himself.
Sherlock stands and walks to John. "Really?" he surprises himself with the softness of his tone. He can't remember the last time he genuinely spoke that way, aside from working on a case where he needed to get information out of someone, and charm was the main ingredient needed to do so.
John busies himself with cleaning the few dishes in the sink, but doesn't back out of the offer. "Well, why not? Been a while since we went out, anyway. It'd be a nice change of scene, and you'd actually have a reason to get off the sofa." He teasingly smiles at Sherlock, then dries his hands. "But you're not going out in your pyjamas."
Sherlock scoffs. He turns on his heel and walks to his room to change clothes. When he is out of John's line of sight, he smiles to himself, more excited than he's been in a while.
John smirks as he turns and leans back against the stove; arms crossed loosely. "It obviously isn't a date," he whispers under his breath. The flustered state of his breathing and redness of his cheeks counteract his words. He nabs a Jammie Dodger and sets the forgotten lighter fluid among Sherlock's other equipment littering the table.
Sherlock returns shortly in his typical suit. He reaches for his coat and beloved blue scarf. "Shall we?" he says, gesturing toward the door.
John nods in agreement. He hesitates before picking up his coat to snatch the bag of biscuits. He tucks them in his jacket and heads out the door. "I really should have you pay," he says as Sherlock allows him to exit in front of him. "It was you who promised me chips, after all." John smiles to himself, not intending to let Sherlock pay at all but playing (flirting? No, of course not!) nevertheless.
Sherlock watches John walk down the steps with longing. He sighs silently as he follows his flatmate; he's glad to be out of the house with him, particularly without any other distractions. Despite his love for the chase and the unlocking of mystery in his cases, he truly enjoys spending time with John. This is a nice mix to their more domestic, slower-paced evenings and adrenaline-surged, dangerous nights.
John hails a taxi once they are on the street. He smiles to Sherlock as he slides into the cab. "Ben's Fish 'n Chips, please," he directs the cabbie as Sherlock sits next to him. He turns to Sherlock, "Haven't been there in years, but the chips are amazing. Hope they're still as good as I remember." They watch the world turn by as they make their way to the restaurant. Sherlock gently strums his fingers on his knee. John twiddles his thumbs in his lap. He peeks toward the sky to guess the weather. The idea of a park-side walk is still appealing, even if the company has changed. He glances at Sherlock out of the corner of his eye, who is rustling through his coat pocket. It reminds John of his own; therein he reaches for the bag of Jammie Dodgers. "Figured you weren't done, since you were sneaking them into your pyjamas."
Sherlock takes a biscuit with a small smile and nibbles at it slowly as they make their way closer to their destination. He's thankful, and he knows John is aware even if he stays silent. John takes one as well and settles it between his teeth as he turns back to the window. He mulls the silence over in his mind, but he can't find anything to say. He wonders if anything needs saying. He keeps fighting off the urge to make his "this isn't a date" remark; perhaps because he knows, deep down, the truth in the statement is blurred. The thought almost makes him choke on the biscuit, and John quickly finishes it with a cough to distract himself.
"Alright?" Sherlock asks quietly as they approach their stop.
"Yeah, fine, fine," John replies waving his hand absently. "Must have gone down the wrong tube." He pays the cabbie as Sherlock slides out. John stretches his legs as he exits, eyeing the familiar sign with a little, reminiscent smile. "Here we are."
Sherlock feels something strange in his abdomen; it's not bad, per se, but it's unusual, unfamiliar. It's mildly pleasant, mildly irritating, and he's not sure how else to describe it. He shakes his head as he opens the door for John, following him inside.
John notes the unchanged atmosphere; he briefly recalls meeting with Mike and a handful of other blokes at least once a week when he was still training at Barts. John unearths his wallet and approaches the cashier. "Two chips to go, please."
Sherlock snatches John's wallet from his hands as he leans forward to pay. "Allow me," he says, handing the attendant his card. He hands John his wallet when the man turns to arrange Sherlock's payment. "You insisted I pay, did you not?" He signs for the tab.
"It was a joke."
The line of date vs. friends-out-at-night fades even more.
The feeling in Sherlock's abdomen won't go away, but he doesn't want to concern John with it. He does a quick assessment and figures it's a combination of hunger and something psychosomatic.
Their food arrives. John thanks the cashier and his hand brushes Sherlock's as they both reach for their bags at the same time. Sherlock shudders and John retracts his hand awkwardly, blinking and reaching for the other bag as quickly as he can. "You okay?" John asks, noticing Sherlock's odd behaviour.
"I'm fine," Sherlock grumbles as he heads to the door, determined to get a moment's fresh air.
A frown tugs at John's lips. He's not quite satisfied with Sherlock's answer, but he doesn't push it. "If you find you're not… you know. I'm here," he says before slipping out the door before Sherlock.
Sherlock is tempted to verbalise how he feels; especially after John's last comment. He doesn't want to spoil the evening by saying too much. He smiles a 'thank you' as they slip into the cool night. They walk side by side. John is nudged to Sherlock's immediate side by other people passing as they walk along, but after two or three times he quits correcting the distance and settles for remaining close. Sherlock smiles to himself when he senses John's increased closeness. They near the London Eye. John eyes the wheel as Sherlock leads toward a nearby bench. John pulls out their unfinished Jammie Dodgers and settles the biscuits between them while glancing up at the large wheel in the sky. "If you feel the need to sit in the most ridiculous way imaginable, just let me know and I can stand," he jokes with a smile.
"I'm not one for public spectacle at the moment," he jokes back.
"That's a nice change of pace." He nibbles his chips while absentmindedly gazing at the sky.
Sherlock reaches for a Jammie Dodger at the same moment John decides to; their fingers brush again, intertwining briefly. John gasps quietly, not sure if he should pull away or let their fingers stay. Sherlock hesitates, nearly moving his hand away, but he's so lost in the moment, he doesn't move. Perhaps he's too scared. Sherlock, always the braver, curls his fingers around John's hand, lacing their fingers until they are completely clasped.
The tug in his abdomen increases.
John inhales slowly as their hands settle. The biscuits forgotten, he settles for finishing his half bitten chip in his opposing hand. "So," he speaks after a moment. "Hampstead Heath's not too long of a cab-ride away. If the weather holds, it'd be nice to go for a walk… if you want to. Or if you just want to head home soon…" His voice is hopeful, however, and he looks over at Sherlock on the bench.
Sherlock realises that the feeling in his stomach is purely psychosomatic now. He determines that there is a correlation between his interaction with John and his gut sensation. Sherlock meets John's eye and smiles. "Nice night for it; let's go." He stands and tosses their rubbish in a bin nearby, not letting go of John's hand the entire time.
John's face lights up at the answer, and he smiles in return. He finds himself not worrying or caring about their hands, and wonders why. Part of him knows, though he pretends he doesn't. "Nice to get a bit of fresh air, anyway. You know… not counting the 'fresh air' around a crime scene…" He calls for another cab and slides in, breaking his hold on Sherlock's hand just to get in. "The Heath," he directs simply, still wearing a smile.
Sherlock knows John is just making excuses, but he too, cannot help but smile brightly. The sensations are so overwhelming he distracts himself with medical questions. "Are you aware of any psychosomatic conditions of the abdomen?"
John looks puzzled at the question. He tilts his head slightly. "None that I can think of," he says after a moment of contemplation. "Are you not feeling well?"
"I feel… different. A bit jittery. Fulfilling, but odd. A slight strain… but it's not awful. I'm just not familiar with it. Are you?"
John's eyes wander as he quietly mulls over the description. "Nothing with a medical diagnosis comes to mind," he admits. "You might just be anxious about something." He opens his mouth to offer another explanation, but closes it. He doubts himself because it involves Sherlock, and Sherlock doesn't feel like that toward anyone—let alone him. John pretends he didn't think the last part and clears his throat and thoughts. "Well… keep note of it. Tell me if it gets worse."
The cab comes to a stop at The Heath. Sherlock pays the cabbie and slides out, breaking their hands' hold only to remove himself from the vehicle. He closes the door shut and takes John's hand again. They stroll. "That's just it," he says. "It doesn't get worse—it keeps getting better."
"So… your symptoms are growing… but they're getting better." He blinks a few times and scans The Heath. He finds it mostly empty, to his pleasure. "Something about that is totally backwards," he chuckles. "You don't seem to be suffering, I'll give you that."
"No, I'm not suffering. I just don't understand it."
"Sherlock Holmes admits he doesn't understand something? First time for everything." His eyes scan the greenery around them and he finds himself at peace, simply walking - hand in hand - with Sherlock. He knows he should be questioning it, but he doesn't. "Is that bothering you? That you don't understand it."
Sherlock nods. John contemplates the quiet reply. His hand gives Sherlock's an unconscious squeeze, caught in his thinking. Sherlock gasps; he likes it. Why does he like it?
John's arm brushes Sherlock's as the walkway narrows and he mutters a little apology, offering a sheepish grin. "Maybe you're not supposed to understand it? Maybe it's just something you've got to feel and not know though reason." He chortles at his words and shakes his head. "It's a bit human, really."
"I sense you do have an idea of what it is, but refuse to tell me." John gulps quietly. He knows he should have seen it coming, but he can't address it yet. Sherlock hasn't had this much of a heart-to-heart with someone in years. It's strange, a bit awkward, but refreshing. He's glad it's with John, despite the oddity of it all. They approach a narrow wall. Sherlock sits upon it with ease.
John has to hop once or twice to even reach it. When he does, he huffs and adjusts himself, hands resting on the wall. He shudders when he brushes against Sherlock, but he doesn't pull away. Their arms and thighs touch lightly. John stares up at the sky pensively. The sky seems clearer from this angle, a little darker than in the rest of the city. One can make out more constellations in the sky than in other parts of London. "You really ought to learn about the solar system," he looks at Sherlock and challenges, "Can you even find the North Star up there?"
"What for? It's pointless. I don't need to know it. They're just balls of gas; they're useless for my work."
"That doesn't mean they're useless in life. Say we got separated in some town we didn't know, without our phones or a map or a compass or each other." He looks up at the night sky again. "If it's night - just like this - you could find your way north if you know where the star is. Comes in handy when you least expect it."
"I never intend to be in that situation."
John huffs and shoots Sherlock a 'just shut up and listen' face. He takes Sherlock's hand in his and points the man's fingers towards the stars. Sherlock's breath hitches in his throat. "Just find the Big Dipper - not that hard." He guides Sherlock's hand away from the handle of the constellation. "Find the two stars at the back and look for the one furthest from the handle." He draws an imaginary line with Sherlock's index finger. "Draw a line away from the Big Dipper..." until he finds the smaller Dipper, "to the Little Dipper." John smiles slightly. The tip of Sherlock's finger rests on Polaris. "And there it is." He reluctantly lets Sherlock's hand go and searches the sky for more constellations.
Sherlock takes John's hand again and pulls him off the wall. John nearly stumbles, but doesn't particularly mind. He follows Sherlock down the road to a less illuminated spot. He lets go and puts his hands on John's shoulders, positioning the doctor in front of him. He reaches down and takes John's hand in his, much like how he did to show him the Big Dipper. He points up with their hands. It's much darker out; one can see many more stars in the sky. "Pick a shape," he whispers in John's ear.
A pleasant chill couples the vibration of Sherlock's voice on John's neck. He takes a quick breath to try and slow the racing of his heart. "A wh-" He turns to face Sherlock, their faces centimetres apart. "A constellation, or just… a shape?"
Sherlock hums almost inaudibly as John curls within his arms. "A shape. A simple shape. An object, animal, just something basic."
John can't stop himself from leaning slightly against Sherlock. He knows personal boundaries are being pushed, but he doesn't want to change that. He knows he shouldn't be dancing on the steadily dissolving line of friendship to romance, but he wants to. He knows he should be worried but he isn't. He blinks himself out of his mind and thinks. "A magnifying glass, then."
Sherlock grins. He traces a magnifying glass in the between various stars in the sky. John chuckles. "Your turn."
Sherlock traces a string with two circles at the end. John is hyper aware of Sherlock's touches; he doesn't pay attention to Sherlock's drawing. Sherlock notices his confusion. "A stethoscope. You should try harder, Doctor," he teases.
"That was a terrible stethoscope," John scolds mockingly. He smiles at the simplicity. He takes Sherlock's hand in his and takes the lead, sketching his own stethoscope. He realises half way through that his is worse than Sherlock's. "Shut up," he utters in an attempt to subdue any Holmes critique. He brings their arms down, not letting go of Sherlock's hand.
Sherlock chuckles. John is more enveloped in his arms; their faces are even closer than before. He's tempted to seal the gap, but hesitates.
He opens his mouth to speak, but can't find the courage to do so. He closes his lips and sighs softly through his nose. "This certainly isn't how I thought I'd end the night," he confesses. "Thought I'd be miserable and moping and watching Bond movies. This is nicer. So… Thank you."
Sherlock spins John around and pulls him in a proper embrace. His chin rests on top of John's head. He breathes in the scent of his shampoo, memorising the texture of his hair, the contours of his scalp. "This… has… been… pleasant."
John shuts his eyes and falls more into Sherlock's hold. He can't deny that he fits nearly perfectly in Sherlock's arms - a thought which should alarm him, but it doesn't. He hums softly in agreement.
Sherlock feels that pull, the odd fluttering around his navel increase in intensity. It has the entire night, but even more so now that he has his loyal companion in his arms. He's soft but strong in frame; feels as if he belongs there, as if he's always belonged there, and that's why no one else has ever come close to even claiming a spot there before. "Could you explain to me what you refused to tell me in the cab about my psychosomatic diagnosis?"
"Oh, you know. It just... Like I said, it's probably not anything medical." John searches through his mind for the right words to say. "It just - what I came up with, what it could be, anyway, is.. pretty far-fetched." He doesn't mute the soft sigh that escapes him. "It's impossible," he adds in a low murmur; gaze falling to the grass beneath their feet.
"Enlighten me. I'm curious."
John pauses and is tempted to lie, but he can't stop the words from his mouth: "You could be in love."
Though it is biologically improbable, Sherlock feels as if someone pressed pause on his heart.
"Chemical compounds and biological interactions aside, being in love is a tricky concept. No one really understands it, or comprehends until it's experienced." John speaks slowly, careful to not tie his tongue in his words. "You feel warm… safe. Comfortable… yet it's terrifying at the same time." John partially doesn't know why he's explaining it; he's never known Sherlock to experience fear, only doubt. While those emotions can go hand in hand, they are often misinterpreted by holding too high of a positive correlation between them. "It's kind of like holding a cup of hot coffee and realising you're going to sneeze."
Sherlock's body shakes with silent chuckles. John grins too. His description is silly, but accurate. He smiles against Sherlock's chest but is nervous that his words will grow sour; he's fearful of Sherlock's response. He expects Sherlock to chastise him, claiming that love is pish-posh and a weakness. Despite the flux of the conversation, he's glad he didn't resort to the 'butterflies-in-stomach' description, as he knows that would leave the door open to even more mockery.
Sherlock pulls back his arms. He feels as if someone has hit fast forward on the beating in his chest. John's words resonate in his head. Normally he would tell him off, stating the disadvantages of emotion, but he knows he'd be a hypocrite if he did so. Instead, he brings a hand to John's face, tipping his chin up to meet his gaze. "You feel this way, too, don't you, John?"
John nods. "Stronger than I've ever felt before."
Sherlock's eyes lighten, his lips curl into a bright smile... perhaps shining more than the hazy view of the stars above the duo. "What do we do now?" John is more experienced in this department. Sherlock intentionally ruined the majority of John's dates, an insecurity digging at his brain every time he wished to dine with a woman... but at this stage, his track record, no matter how big, small, or awkward, would assist the two of them at this point.
John takes a brief moment to stare back up at the sky, in part to admire the stars and to gather his scattered, disbelief-filled thoughts. "We could stay here and freeze our arses off, go home, or…" He pauses and chuckles nervously.
Sherlock looks to John's eyes. "Or..?" he repeats.
John leans up to Sherlock. His eyes flutter shut as he presses a gentle, chaste kiss to the detective's lips.
Sherlock's eyes close at the touch, pressing back instinctively. He pulls the doctor in closer to him, sealing the space in between them. The surge, the "love" that John described- swells from his torso up, circulating through him like blood, swirling through his entire body, enveloping him.
John hopes it isn't a dream, thinking it far too cruel to wake from it. As he breaks their kiss (the first of many, he realises), he knows it's reality- Sherlock feels for him what he's felt for his detective since God knows how long. He laughs breathlessly and can't help but grin like a cad. He's sure he looks silly, and he feels it too, in the best way imaginable. "Been waiting over a year to do that," he confesses. The flush on his cheek spreads. He takes Sherlock's hand, drawn to it like magnets, and laces their fingers. "People will definitely talk."
"People do little else." Sherlock laces their fingers together. He runs his thumb over John's knuckles. John shivers slightly. Sherlock unties his scarf from around his neck and loops it around John's. He takes John's hand again, and leads them toward a line of cabs not too far from their stargazing spot.
John looks down at his neck. "I feel like I need to make a deduction, wearing this. All I need now is a long coat and a short friend."
"I'd fear you'd trip on this," Sherlock turns his coat collar up. "You'd soil it." He grins, and brings John's hands up to his lips, kissing away the tease.
John laughs with a shake of his head. "Totally uncalled for." His smile suggests otherwise. He slips into the cab, and once Sherlock is in he gives the directions for Baker Street. John leans back into his seat and shuts his eyes for a moment, when a thought strikes him. He reopens them and gazes to Sherlock. "You won't stand me up, will you?" he jokes. "If or when we go out on dates." He realizes that he can't even recall her name, with Sherlock and their runaround life filling nearly every corner of his mind.
"I can't make promises, John." He pulls John close against his side.
"Me sitting for an hour and a half waiting for you probably won't end as nicely as today did. After all, if I'm waiting for you, then I won't have a flatmate to come home and give Jammie Dodgers to, and end up taking them on a chip date. But, I'm glad it happened like that. All nonsensical." John smiles to Sherlock as he's pulled close and leans to rest his head on the man's shoulder.
"I thought this was my date," he emphasises. He sighs as the doctor is tucked in his lap. He kisses his forehead. He's never been one for novelty, but this is an evening he will store in his mind palace forever. He'd heard about serendipitous moments, and now, he's experienced one, with the only person, only man who has ever mattered to him.
"But it was my idea," John teasingly argues. The forehead kiss makes him smile more, and he hums contentedly. "It happened, however it did." His eyes reopen and he glances Sherlock's way. "Got a bit sick of beating around the bush, to be honest." Only now does he see how exhausting it was, now that he isn't doing it anymore.
Sherlock noticed that the tension between the two of them dissipated when they confessed how they felt. The cab pulls to a stop in front of Baker Street. Sherlock hands the cabbie some money and slides out, pulling John with him. He unlocks the door and lets them in, walking up the steps to the flat hand in hand with his love. He slips the key in the lock to their flat and shucks his coat once they are inside.
John follows Sherlock out of the cab and stretches as they reach the door. He looks skyward, hardly finding any of the stars they had seen in The Heath. Sherlock's hand tugging him inside drags him back to reality. Once in the flat, John stifles a yawn and slides Sherlock's scarf off his neck and near his coat. "Right, I forgot to mention." He gestures with a tilt of his head to the kitchen. "Lighter fluid is on the table when you want to do... whatever you're going to do." He kicks off his shoes and plops onto the couch.
"It can wait." Sherlock slides next to his companion on the sofa.
"I would hope so. It's a bit late to be starting fires in the kitchen." After a still moment, he asks, "What exactly does this make us?" He slides his arm around Sherlock and glances his way. "Flatmates, friends, boyfriends, partners... People are going to want a label on it." He can't help but roll his eyes slightly, somewhat dreading the onslaught of commentary they'd surely receive.
"Other half, perhaps," Sherlock says quietly. Perhaps he's out of character, but he doesn't care. The entire evening has made him experience new things, and that can make one vulnerable, no matter how strong, or tough, or slacken of expression they may be. "But... boyfriends will do, if you like."
The words make John smile. He nods, unable to disagree with them. His thumb brushes Sherlock's arm gently. "For other people, we'll be boyfriends." The words tingle on his tongue; new and strange and oddly right. "But between you and me, we're each other's other half." He looks over with a fond smile. "I think 'boyfriends' is about the best explanation for other people." There was no way anyone would understand what they meant by other halves, and part of John was glad for that.
Sherlock smiles, grins, and kisses John's head in agreement.
A pleased grin crosses John's face, and he rests his cheek on Sherlock's shoulder again. "After all, it's like you say - they're all idiots." He could only imagine the wit Sherlock would have prepared for their inevitable reveal.
"Yes, they are... and you are my John." He yawns sleepily, not wanting to give in, but feeling himself relax with the doctor in his arms.
John hums in contented agreement. "Always will be," he murmurs in reply. He catches Sherlock's yawn and smiles, amused. "You're actually tired for once?"
"Stranger things have happened."
John curls into Sherlock, an arm protectively resting over his detective, as they drift off into the soundest sleep they've had in years. There are no nightmares, no distractions; just Sherlock and John, and they wouldn't change a single thing about it.