"Where are you going?" John's mum asked. She was a sweet old biddy, entirely too tolerant for her own good, John thought, but he was grateful for it all the same.
"The pub. To pick up Harry." He said. He was 16 and already looking out for his older sister, knowing she was entirely too close to drinking herself sick on a daily basis.
"Alright. Just watch out for those Holmes' boys, won't you? I hear the younger one is vicious."
John raised an eyebrow, outwardly sceptical. "I can take anything he dishes out, Ma, he's scrawny, from what I hear." He was thrilled by the mention, of course. From what he heard at school, the younger one (apparently called Sherlock - the Holmes' were pretentious twats) was a genius. John's curiosity was piqued. He was sure Sherlock wasn't all that, and in fact, longed for a confrontation with the cocky little shite, but such things were forbidden. It did not do to get on the wrong side of Daniel Watson, John's grandfather.
"I didn't mean a vicious fighter." John's mum said primly, before sending him on his way. "If you're not back by ten I will send out your father."
John almost laughed. Dad would be beyond drunk by 10pm.
The pub wasn't far, and it was on the 'right' side of town. The Holmes' had an old manor on the outskirts of town, whereas the Watson's lived in a humble 4 bedroom just off the town centre. John enjoyed the comparison. He felt he came out of it rather well. It was a dingy pub, exactly the kind Harry liked to frequent (a comparison John liked a little less - he heard about the elder Holmes', Mycroft, and the classy establishments he frequented), and it was full to overflowing. Finding Harry and convincing her to leave would be a chore.
John was practiced at this, though, and the bouncer waved him through without a word. Recognised on sight for rescuing your older sister was not something he'd ever been proud of, but he was pretty sure Harry was.
The floor was sticky, and the tables filled. A queue was formed at the bar, and John spotted Harry sipping at a pint, clearly quite far gone, in the corner, alone. At least he wouldn't have to extricate her from someone who was being (he thought) entirely too friendly. John was on the rugby team, and enjoyed a good scrap, but not with someone at least 5 years his senior.
"Harry. Come on." He said. "We're going home."
"It's early yet, John. Come sit, have a drink. This crowd is boring."
John sighed. They had this conversation most days. "Harry, c'mon. Ma's expecting us."
Harry snorted. "She'll be fine." She waved her hand dismissively.
John scowled, slumped into the seat next to her. He'd wait this one out. He couldn't be bothered, in all honesty. He had school in the morning and he just wanted to go home. But fighting always made Harry dig her heels in.
A wicked grin split Harry's face in two. "Holmeses." She muttered, elbowing John. He sat up slightly, scanning the bar for a glimpse of them.
Ah, there. "The lanky one, looks about my age?" He asked Harry.
"Sherlock." She smiled.
John squared his shoulders, standing up and approaching Holmes the younger. He tapped him on the shoulder. "Not sure this was your sort of place, Holmes."
Sherlock smiled, scanning the surroundings. "Whereas this is exactly the kind of place your sister spends a lot of time in." He paused, a smirk settling on his features, before evidentally deciding John wasn't worth his time. "Go away. I don't have time for your family politics." He finished, sounding rather petulant.
John raised an eyebrow. Now that he was here, and the somewhat infamous Sherlock Holmes was in front of him, he was itching for a fight. "Busy, then? Doing what?" He said, brightly. He knew it was irritating.
"Just busy." Sherlock muttered icily, glancing around. He looked more agitated with every second John stood in front of him. John decided he'd be staying for a while.
"Buying cocaine." Sherlock said, evidently seeing someone he was going to... buy cocaine from? John assumed. "If you'll excuse me."
John blinked, and stood aside.
Apparently the Holmeses weren't so different after all. Even they have their vices.
John loathed British winters. It was getting dark entirely too early for his liking. They'd had to play rugby under floodlights. Floodlights! He and Greg were walking home in the dark, when John thought he saw a figure duck into an alleyway.
"C'mon John. Let's have a look."
John raised an eyebrow at Greg. He was a family friend, and John valued his opinion, but John was knackered and just wanted to go home. He sighed. "Fine, alright, whatever."
Greg grinned, flashing a smile that John had lost more than one girlfriend to. They entered the dark alleyway, nearly pitch black, and waited, silently, for their eyes to adjust.
"Sherlock Holmes." John whispered. Greg glanced at him sharply. He knew John well enough to know that John wanted to give Sherlock, the poor sod, a kicking.
"Stoned, are we?" John called out.
A grunt, in response. Then, the crumpled figure stood, untangling long limbs and emerging fully formed. "John Watson. Greg Lestrade. If you'll excuse me." He made to move past John, but John blocked his way.
"Shit, you are stoned." He said, grabbing Sherlock's arm. Sherlock swayed, gently, before correcting himself and stilling, utterly.
"I'm fine. If you'll excuse me, I have an older brother who needs my help. Although, not to be rescued from the pub for the fourth night in a row, John." He glanced at Greg. "Your girlfriend is cheating on you, by the way."
"How do you do that?" Exploded John. He shoved Sherlock, backing him into the wall. "I mean, yesterday, it was a bit creepy but in that pub everyone knows my sister's got issues. But how did you know that shit?"
Sherlock eyed him coolly. "If you continue assaulting me, I'm sure your medical school ambitions are much less likely to be realised." The my brother has influence went unsaid.
"I was simply concerned for your welfare. Any idiot can see you're clearly completely out of it. Right, Greg?" He glanced sharply at his friend, who nodded.
"Incorrect. I am stoned, as you so succinctly put it, but I am still considerably more lucid that the two of you combined."
John sighed, releasing Sherlock and stepping back slightly. "Explain, then. Prove it."
"You picked up your sister four nights in a row because three days in a row you've come in with your tie tied by somebody else. Your mother, most likely, is grateful for your assistance, but too embarrassed to say anything. You want to be a doctor because you were actually concerned about my mental well being, although not enough to prevent you from acts of violence." Sherlock paused, brushing dust from his suit. He turned to face Greg. "Your girlfriend is cheating on you because you clearly spent the afternoon with John, but spent the entire time checking your phone. The creases in your pocket suggest it's been frequently disturbed, but she didn't actually text you. Why? She had better things to do, and it wasn't a family thing because she would have told you in advance."
"Bloody hell." Greg said.
John just shook his head. "That was amazing. How did you notice my tie? We're not even in the same form."
"I notice everything." Sherlock stated, flatly.
John frowned. That was seeming a lot more likely than ten minutes ago.
"Insane." Greg muttered. He glanced at his phone, again. "I should call Anna."
John nodded. "Sorry, mate. See you in a bit, yeah?"
Greg smiled, weakly, and put his phone to his ear, walking away.
"Before you hated me because of my surname, now you hate me because you've had a conversation with me." Sherlock said, smiling drily.
John shrugged. "I dunno. It was pretty amazing."
Sherlock frowned. It was clearly an unexpected reaction. John prided himself on the fact that he noticed this.
"Perhaps it would be best if we didn't cross paths again." Sherlock said, stiffly.
John shrugged. "I promise not to assault you again. Though you should really stop getting stoned in dark alleyways."
Sherlock smiled weakly. "You're not alone in that opinion."
There was a beat of awkward silence.
"I won't tell if you don't tell." They said, in unison.
They shared a half smile, which turned into a laugh. "Let's just... you're still a Holmes, okay?"
"And you a Watson." Sherlock inclined his head.
"Next time I see you I'll hate you." John promised.
"And I'll be stoned. Irrelevant."
Sherlock turned on his heel and left.
John couldn't help but notice the grace with which he moved.
John had detention. This was excruciatingly unusual, and he was going to tell his mother that he had extra rugby practice, because of the match they lost at the weekend.
Not because he'd been caught fighting with that stupid Anderson kid. He stole Greg's girlfriend! It was sticking up for your friends, right?
Though what Anna had seen in Anderson, he had no idea.
Still. He had to sit out an hour in silence in a classroom. John was not a troublemaker - this was unanimously agreed by the teachers, but he was "loyal as a dog" (Anderson's words). His worst offense thus far had been a few forgotten homeworks, not enough to land you in an after-school detention.
The classroom was pretty empty, but then, John had no idea what a usual number for a detention would look like. With a groan, he slumped into a seat at the back of the class, and waited for a teacher to arrive. He dreaded to think who might be on detention duty today.
Eventually, a teacher strolled in, one John didn't recognise, and began calling out names. John almost didn't notice when Sherlock slunk in, just in time to answer for his name, and took a seat.
Sherlock spared him barely a glance, and John felt oddly disappointed. Though, that was required. Daniel Watson was barely satisfied with the fact that John attended the same school as Sherlock - had he known that they'd had a conversation, and John had even been amiable at the end of it, then John would be in for it.
The hour passed slowly. John spent his time trying not to watch Sherlock fidget. He was itching for a fix, John was pretty sure, (he'd done some research after stumbling upon Sherlock) and John found that faintly amusing. That the great Sherlock Holmes was stuck in detention, utterly sober.
He spared a thought for whatever Sherlock had done to wind up in detention. Probably insult a teacher. Noticed they were having an affair and announced it loudly. John vaguely wished he'd been there to see it, and then shook himself. Sherlock turned around, glanced at him, half cocked a smile, as if he knew, and then turned back to his desk, clearing his throat.
John frowned. Was he wanting to spend time with a Holmes?
Ma would kill him.
John spent the rest of detention studiously ignoring Sherlock, and attempting, vaguely, the maths homework he'd been set. He found himself easily distracted, though, and it was something of a futile effort. When the bell finally rang, he stood up and swung his back to his shoulder, making to leave the classroom as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this meant that he reached the doorway at the exact same time as one Sherlock Holmes. Swearing under his breath, he gestured to allow Sherlock to go through first.
Sherlock had a knowing grin on his face. John wondered what on earth it was Sherlock knew this time.
As they walked down the corridor, keeping a far greater distance between them than necessary, John ached to say something to break the silence. He shouldn't want to converse with this boy. At all.
Oh, god, Ma really would kill him.
"John Watson." Sherlock said, eventually.
John looked at him, arched an eyebrow. "Sherlock Holmes?" He offered.
Sherlock smirked. All his previous jitters had vanished, leaving a surprisingly suave sixteen year old in their place. "Coffee?"
John's whole brain stuttered. "I thought we agreed to hate each other?"
"Yes, but I'm afraid you just can't resist."
John blinked. Oh, fuck it, he thought. "Know anywhere good?"
"The best." Sherlock promised.
"You're late back. Practice run late?" Ma had her arms folded across her chest, bearing down on John as soon as he walked through the door.
"Had coffee with a... friend." John said, quietly.
"John! You're blushing. Have you got a new girlfriend?"
John flinched. Coffee with Sherlock had been good, and all, but Sherlock was, well, Sherlock. He had a tendency to make comments that were slightly too smart for John, but it wasn't as irritating as it should be. John had an horrible feeling that he might regard Sherlock with something akin to awe.
Also, Sherlock was male. Although it was entirely possible that he'd been flirting with him for the entire duration of their encounter. John was pretty sure he wouldn't mind, but Sherlock was a Holmes!
"No, nothing like that, Ma." He said, after what was entirely too long a pause.
His mother grinned. "Have it your way, John."
John rolled his eyes and walked past his mother. The scary thing was that her accusation hadn't been all that untrue. John did really like Sherlock. Which was, y'know, weird. And a little bit scary, because John had the sinking feeling that everyone he'd dated thus far had just been a practise run, preparation for the trauma that dating Sherlock was sure to be.
Oh god. He was really considering this, wasn't he? He'd be cast out of the family. He'd never be able to look them in the eye again. If they even knew they'd had coffee together.
Christ. John was so screwed. But he really liked Sherlock, didn't he? And that was the trouble, really. Because it was impossible to tell how Sherlock felt. He was unreadable. John was certain Sherlock could read him like a book (surely, though, that meant that he wouldn't encourage him if he didn't feel the same? John stopped that train of thought before it got too out of control) and that, too, had all it's risks.
I'm attracted to a Holmes John thought, a Holmes who is a genius and knows absolutely everything there is to know about me.
John was in for it. John was more than in for it. He vowed never to open his mouth ever again, for fear of what awful things might slip out and ruin him. As he made his way up the stairs to his room, he vowed not to let Sherlock creep into his head again. From now on, he'd just be that irritatingly intelligent (astonishingly elegant) kid that he was required to hate. Yup. That's exactly what he'd be. Right?
John's phone rang. The screen read Greg Lestrade, and John hit the answer button.
"Sally said she saw you and Sherlock getting coffee this afternoon?"
Shitshitshitshitshit. "Oh. Really?"
"She was certain it was you. Weird, huh?"
"Uh. It was me, Greg."
John winced at the long pause.
"You're an idiot." Greg said, eventually.
"Pretty much." John agreed.
"Can I ask why?"
"He's... um. He's an alright kid, Greg."
John could practically hear Greg rolling his eyes. Sometimes he hated how well Greg knew him.
"You like him. You properly like him."
John sighed. "Seems that way, yeah."
"It's never going to work. You've met him, right? He's an obnoxious little shit. Not to mention the whole you'll-be-disowned thing."
"Yeah, well, I wish it hadn't happened too."
"Why did you agree to coffee with him?"
John swallowed. "Actually, I have no idea about that bit."
Greg laughed. "You're a fucking idiot."
"I know. You won't tell anyone, will you?"
"Your secret is safe with me. Can't speak for Sally though. Especially since her and Anderson are all over each other now." He spat the name Anderson like it'd caused him physical harm.
"Oh, shit. Seriously?"
"Yep. She properly hates Sherlock, too."
John swore. "Everybody hates Sherlock."
"Including you, as far as everybody knows."
"Right. Right. This is going to go really badly, isn't it?"
"Be careful, John."
"See you tomorrow, Greg. If I haven't been brutally murdered by members of my extended family."
"I'll keep my fingers crossed."
John was meeting up with Sherlock for the third time in the past week. He was infatuated. It was bad.
Nonetheless, it was a surprise when he found himself pushed against a wall by the boy, lips against his, breathless, gasping. Sherlock pulled back, chuckling to himself at the look of utter surprise on John's face.
"Okay?" He said, brushing a thumb against John's jaw.
John cleared his throat. "Fine, fine."
Sherlock smirked, and pressed his lips to the spot where, a moment ago, his thumb had been. John gasped.
"Sherlock! We're going to get... guh... caught!"
"You want to get me somewhere more private?" Sherlock said, grinning, catlike. John pushed him away, getting his breath back.
"I'm serious, Sherlock. This is... this is really dangerous. I don't know about you, but if my family find out..."
Sherlock sobered, for a moment, pressing his forehead against John's. "I don't particularly care about my family."
"You do. You'll have nobody to buy you expensive clothes, or convince the police to look the other way."
Sherlock sighed. "I know."
"What'll we do?"
"We could go back to yours."
"We'll get you in drag to sneak you past my Ma."
Sherlock looked like he was seriously considering it for a moment, right up until John started cackling with laughter.
"I'm not going to make you dress as a woman, Sherlock. We'll figure something out."
"I should go. Mycroft will be thinking too hard. He might strain something."
John smiled. "We'll figure it out, Sherlock. I promise."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "Your family are all idiots."
John's face soured. "Sherlock."
"It's true, John! If you look at the average Watson IQ compared with the Holmes, ignoring the obvious outlier, they are found sorely lacking."
"The obvious outlier." John said flatly.
"Well, you, John."
John's face did not soften. "Oh, get lost, Sherlock. Flattery won't help you. Go figure out some kind of genius plan to win over our parents."
"Sorry, John." Sherlock said. He kissed John's cheek, a surprisingly childish gesture, and darted out of the alley they'd found themselves in.
John, alone, found himself surprisingly willing to forgive Sherlock. I think I love him, he thought, with growing terror. Shit. He'd call Greg for advice, but he was pretty sure he'd just be told what he already knew. That he was a fucking idiot for falling in love with literally the only boy in town he could not have. Could not publicly have, anyway. Privately, Sherlock was more than willing to participate.
John had been blowing off rugby practice to see Sherlock. Sherlock had been blowing off... well, god only knew what. Getting high, probably. John hadn't seen him stoned since that first time. He talked about experiments, sometimes, (he wasn't just a genius who liked showing off, apparently he liked making stuff explode as well. Dissolve, occasionally, too.) but John couldn't keep up with whatever it was he was explaining.
John thought, maybe, he might like (love? No, it still felt ridiculous to admit it to himself) Sherlock enough to want to run away with him. To leave his family behind. But that was another concept that was beyond John's reach, though he didn't doubt Sherlock would happily explain it to him. Would happily offer to help him. Sherlock appeared to have no such attachments to his family, aside from their usefulness to him. But then, having spent more than half an hour alone with him, John could understand why. Imagine being constantly surrounded by people of Sherlock-level intelligence. It would be like torture. You'd have to vet even your thoughts before you faced anyone in the morning.
Although they were, proper, old money. Not like John's family. John's stupid family, with it's addictions and grudges (John was under no illusion as to whose fault this whole feud really was) and the fact that they relied entirely too much on him.
If John ran away, disappeared into the night with Sherlock, a boy he barely knew, what would Harry do? What would Ma do, left to face his father's drunken rage by herself? Would they tsk and mutter about how deluded he was, thinking somebody like Sherlock could love him? Would they talk about foolish young people, he'll be back eventually, we can fall about and forget how this family works in the meantime?
Perhaps, John considered, they'd forget he ever existed. Disown him properly, discarded, unwanted, because of Sherlock. Would he do that, for Sherlock?
Frighteningly, John was starting to realise that he would.
For Sherlock. He'd do that.
This is love, is it? This is madness. John thought, but he couldn't help wishing he had someone sane to talk this out with. Sherlock didn't qualify, and Greg would tell him to stand by his family. Of course he would.
Which is what John should do, really. It's what he should be doing right now, instead of standing outside his family home, daring himself to enter so he could lie to their faces about where he'd been, and who he'd been with.
Momentarily, John felt nauseous at his betrayal. He'd made friends with, gone out with, fallen in love with someone who was, fundamentally, a Holmes. There was no escaping that. It was unforgivable.
But there was a niggling doubt. If he'd already done the unforgivable, wasn't it better just to run with it?
He wondered if that was what Sherlock was doing, or if this was just a game to him.
The latter was more likely, he decided.
John awoke to the surprisingly loud trilling of his phone. He groaned, and glanced at the screen that was far too bright.
2.34am. Right. And why exactly was Sherlock texting him now?
Waiting outside. -SH
John rolled his eyes.
What are you doing outside?
He also refused to lower himself to signing his initials after his texts. Who else would be texting him from Sherlock's phone?
Waiting to see you. Is this inconvenient? -SH
Yes, it's bloody inconvenient.
Come anyway. -SH
John groaned. Sherlock was being stubborn, and, knowing him, would stay outside all night if John didn't go and tell him to piss off. He tugged on some jeans and a t-shirt, remembered it was nearly 3 in the fucking morning (really, Sherlock? Really?) and grabbed his jacket, too.
He crept out, making sure to miss the creaky floorboards on the landing, and left the house.
"Sherlock?" He called out, quietly, not seeing his friend. (Boyfriend would be a better word, he thought for a moment, but decided against having a conversation about it.)
Sherlock appeared in front of him, clutching a bouquet of flowers that John tried very, very hard not to laugh at.
"Are those... for me?"
Sherlock coughed, no doubt aware of John's amusement. "I thought you might like them." He offered, quietly. John wondered if he was blushing, but it was hard to tell in the dark of the night.
"They're very nice, Sherlock, thank you." John was smiling. He knew he was smiling. He also knew Sherlock would probably get petulant in 3... 2... 1...
"I did some research. The internet said prospective partners like to receive gifts, typically flowers."
"You don't have to win me over, Sherlock."
"You weren't going to come out tonight, but now, you are."
"But I'm not keeping those flowers."
"They were £12.50!"
John smiled. "Sorry, mate. But they're flowers. Next time, get chocolates."
"What makes you think there will be a next time?" Sherlock muttered, sulkily.
"Because," John said, "it's your fault I'm here at all."
Sherlock made a huffy sound and John wrapped an arm around his shoulder.
"So, you've clearly got some kind of extravagant evening planned to have dragged me out here at 3 in the morning."
"I made some fireworks." Sherlock admitted, eventually.
"You made some fireworks, Sherlock? I hope you realise how dangerous that is."
"It was in a perfectly controlled environment and I think you'll rather like the end result."
"Alternatively, I have some gin."
"Gin? What are you, forty?"
"It's 44% proof."
"You're going to get me drunk and take advantage of me, aren't you?"
"Sherlock! I was flirting, you're meant to flirt back, you idiot."
Sherlock rolled his eyes and made another one of his endearing little huffy noises.
"Do you want some gin or not?" Sherlock asked, eventually, as they walked towards the park.
John considered it for a moment. "Go on then." He said, as Sherlock passed him the bottle that had been, somehow, hidden about his person.
He took a swig, wincing at the taste. "Next time get vodka, or something we can do shots of."
"You're still pretty set on this idea of a next time, huh?"
John just grinned.
"So. Fireworks." He said, as they arrived at the park. Sherlock's whole face was lit up in a grin.
"Fireworks." He said, delightedly, and disappeared to find them in the dark.
John took another swig of the gin. This was turning out all right, he reckoned. I mean, it had been a trainwreck to start with (flowers? really?) but Sherlock seemed to be making an effort. Which was incredibly flattering, if nothing else, because John got the feeling he'd never made an effort for anyone before.
Which was perhaps why he'd needed to do internet research.
John could feel himself getting pleasantly fuzzy around the edges, and when he looked, nearly three quarters of the bottle had gone. Oh dear. Perhaps he shouldn't be letting Sherlock play with fireworks.
John watched Sherlock half stumble, half run towards him on legs that were entirely too long for him (although John still noted how graceful they were, even when Sherlock was inebriated).
"This will be good, John." Sherlock promised, taking his hand. A burst of red gold filled the sky, and John gasped.
"It is good," John said. Very good he thought, as the taller boy leaned down to kiss him.
They lay there, wrapped around each other, in the slightly damp grass in the park for what felt like hours.
"The last one didn't go off." Sherlock said, eventually.
John raised his eyebrows, and was slightly ashamed to be clinging to Sherlock as he tried to extract themselves from their puddle of limbs.
"Does it matter? It was very good." John felt himself slurring his words a little, and he wondered if he was likely to humiliate himself in the immediate future.
Probably, he decided, as he propped himself up on his elbows. "Stay a bit. We haven't got long til the sun rises."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow, and his voice affected a mocking tone. "How romantic, John, watching the sunrise together."
"Alright, alright." John lay back. "Just thought it was a nice idea, is all."
Sherlock's voice softened. "Sorry." He said, quietly.
"S'okay." John said. "Sleepy, anyway."
"One last firework." Sherlock said, walking away. "I'll be quick."
John watched him walk away, and waited, patiently, for the burst of light in the sky above and the warmth to return to his side. Instead, he heard a loud scream.
John ran as soon as he heard Sherlock scream.
"I'm fine." Sherlock insisted, when John arrived, in spite of gasping in pain as he spoke.
"Fuck, Sherlock, what did you do?"
"Firework. Sort of." Sherlock sounded breathless. "Exploded."
John already had his phone out and was dialing 999 when Sherlock spoke again. "You need to go, John. Mycroft will..." He wrapped his arm around his leg. "Mycroft will kill you."
"Don't care." John said, as the woman picked up. He gave her an address and a brief description of what happened, then dropped to Sherlock's side.
"Go. Away." Sherlock said, eventually.
John wanted to roll his eyes. "Fuck that."
Soon, their conversation was halted by the sound of approaching sirens.
"Leave now, John." Sherlock said, eventually.
John followed him into the ambulance.
"And you are?" The paramedic asked, as he settled by Sherlock's side.
"Friend. I'm his friend."
Sherlock scowled, slightly. No doubt he was going to try to convince John to give a fake name later. John would ignore him. Of course. It felt a bit like a challenge when Sherlock glared at him, so John was surprised when Sherlock spoke next.
"Boyfriend." Sherlock said, giving John a glimpse of a smile. "And aspiring doctor. Bloody idiot, too."
"Okay. So, what happened?" The paramedic directed her question at John, all the while treating Sherlock's burn. It looked pretty deep, to John's untrained eye, but he hoped that meant Sherlock wasn't in too much pain.
"There were some fireworks." John said, quietly. He didn't particularly want to get Sherlock into trouble.
"And some alcohol, I bet." The paramedic said, quietly.
John made an affirmative noise, busy watching the paramedic treat Sherlock.
He was asked for names and ages, which he gave to a nurse who raised her eyebrow at the combination of Watson and Holmes.
"Bit late out for you, isn't it, pet?" Asked a nurse, after he'd been in the waiting room for about 20 minutes. "Maybe you should head home."
John swallowed. He'd been determined to stick it out but he'd just seen the Holmes family arrive and he'd no desire for a confrontation. To face the infamous Mycroft, who Sherlock had told John countless stories about. (John wasn't sure all of them were true, but with Sherlock sometimes it was impossible to tell.)
Perhaps he really should have given that fake name, he thought as he rose from the hard plastic chair.
"Mycroft Holmes." He heard a distinctly upper-class voice sound from across the waiting room. "I'm here for my brother?"
John swallowed, and sat down again. Perhaps if he just stayed very, very still, Mycroft wouldn't notice him. He would be a background feature.
He stared fastidiously at the floor in front of him until two smart, polished shoes entered his line of vision.
"John Watson. Here for your sister again?" Mycroft said, looking at him entirely too intently. John nodded mutely. Mycroft stared, before turning and entering the room John knew to be Sherlock's.
He lingered, for a moment or two, and then approached the door, hoping to learn something from their conversation.
"Gin, Sherlock? Hardly your drug of choice."
Sherlock made a huffy sound. John repressed a smile.
"Ah, I see. A boy was involved. Who was it?"
"Nobody you know."
"You must like him very much, Sherlock."
Silence. John had to struggle not to smile.
"Who was it?"
"It doesn't matter, Mycroft."
"So it was John Watson. You have reached new lows, Sherlock."
John flinched, and decided now was time to make his escape. He nodded at the friendly nurse, and decided to walk home. It was getting light, anyway.
When John arrived home, his mother was waiting for him, arms folded, looking stern.
"Sorry, Ma," were the first words out of his mouth.
"John Hamish Watson. Are you aware it's 6 in the morning?"
John nodded, mutely.
"So when are we going to meet this girl?" John's mother said, a smile cracking her stern facade.
John swallowed. "Not actually, strictly speaking, a girl."
"Well, when are you bringing him home?"
John would've rolled his eyes at his mother's persistence if the whole situation wasn't utterly ridiculous. "I'm not."
"But if he's keeping you out at all hours, he clearly must be very important to you."
"Ma," he started, exasperated, but she shushed him.
"No buts. Bring him home. Or you're grounded. Forever. It is 6 in the morning, John!"
John flinched. "Fine."
For a moment, John wondered how much money Greg would need to be paid in order to pretend to be John's boyfriend. Then he dismissed that idea as ridiculous, and besides, Sherlock would never stand for it.
Fuck. It just got really complicated, didn't it?
And so the shit hits the fan.
It suddenly occurred to me half way through writing this that I have completely forgotten to do a disclaimer, as I do on everything ever, and to credit by wonderful beta-reader.
So, y'know. I don't own anything. Ever.
And my friend Database who as far as I know doesn't have an AO3 account and has hidden his fanfiction account from me is a wonderful friend because he puts up with me spamming fanfiction at him every single day. Seriously. He doesn't even read Sherlock fanfiction.
As always, comments literally make me bounce in my chair.
"I'm grounded." John said, as he picked up the phone.
"So's Sherlock." Came a distinctly not-Sherlock drawl.
"Who is this? And how do you have his phone?"
"Mycroft Holmes. That should be quite sufficient for you."
John swallowed. "If I could just speak to Sherlock..."
"You will stay away from Sherlock Holmes, John. Or there will be consequences."
John's imagination was apparently far too vivid, because he could picture exactly the kind of consequences Mycroft had in mind. And none of them were good.
"You don't understand -" He tried, but Mycroft cut him off.
"I understand perfectly well. Do try to remember, John, you are a Watson." With that, Mycroft hung up.
Glancing at his watch, John tugged on his jacket. Screw being grounded, he needed back up, and fast.
"Where do you think you're going?" Came the inevitable comment from his mother.
"To rescue Harry. And you can't stop me because then you'll have to do it."
His mother waved him away, and John wondered what had brought his family to this. No wonder the Holmes family looked down on them. They were pathetic.
He phoned Greg on the way to the pub.
"Need your help, mate."
"John? It's been ages. You stopped showing up to practice."
"Yeah, I know. Meet me at The Lion, 10 minutes?"
John could practically hear Greg rolling his eyes, but he was rewarded with a gruff, "Oh, all right then."
The pub was tuesday-night-crowded, which meant it was subdued, but there were no seats. John slid in next to Harry.
"Heard about your new boytoy. Meeting him here for a date? Who is he?"
John sighed. "Nobody. I'm meeting Greg."
Harry stared at him. "I'm not dumb, John." She said, quietly.
John did a double take. Where did that come from?
"I know... whoever it is, you're ashamed of him. Which, since you're you, means it's one of a very small group of people..." Harry speculated, but was thankfully cut off by Greg's arrival.
"You absolute dick." He started. "I literally haven't seen you in weeks. What's going on?"
"John's got a boyfriend." Harry chimed in. John blushed. Greg raised an eyebrow.
"I thought you said you needed my help." Greg said, eyeing him. "Why not go to your guy? Who is he?"
John looked uncomfortable, before opting for the easy way out, and passing Harry a fiver. "Go get a drink, Harry."
Greg looked a little bit disgusted with John, and John didn't blame him.
"It's Sherlock Holmes." John said, quietly, after Harry had left the table.
"He's the problem, or the boyfriend?"
John smiled. "Both."
"Jesus. You really do need my help."
"Ma wants to meet him, or else I'm permanently grounded. His brother has forbidden me from ever having contact with him again."
"So tell your mum you broke up."
"I really, really like him, Greg."
"If you can't see each other, you can't see each other. It's that bloody simple."
"You don't know Sherlock. He won't listen to Mycroft. He'll actively fight Mycroft."
"Do they all have stupid names, or is just those two?"
John huffed a laugh, cut short by Harry's return to the table.
"Aw, did I miss the big reveal?" She slurred, and John winced.
"You did." Greg said, sounding not at all sympathetic.
"You. Lestrade. You have a sister?"
Greg blinked. John winced, and shook his head. "Let's go home, Harry. Ma's expecting us."
Harry groaned, slightly, and leaned on John as they walked.
"I'll text you if I think of anything," offered Greg, as they turned to go their separate ways.
"Cheers, mate. Don't tell anyone, yeah?"
Greg nodded, smiling. "Look at you, all worried. It'll be fine."
John rolled his eyes,.
For a Johnlock story, this has surprisingly little Sherlock in it. My apologies.
John watched Greg walk over to Sherlock, and make to shove him. Sherlock, staring at his (worryingly new) phone, ignored Greg right up until point of impact.
"Ah," John heard him say, even from a distance, "John told you."
Greg grunted. "He's in the music block, in one of the practice rooms."
Sherlock shot him a look that might have been gratitude, before hurrying in John's general direction.
"Mycroft confiscated my phone," Sherlock said, by way of greeting.
"I know. He called me."
John smiled. "What are we going to do, Sherlock? I'm grounded until my ma meets whoever it was keeping me out til 6 in the morning."
Sherlock's face twisted. "We could fake our own deaths."
"What... Sherlock, no, that is not going to solve anything."
Sherlock shrugged. "We need to remove ourselves from the situation. It is a solution."
"No, it isn't."
"Do you have any better ideas?"
"We can't just.. disappear."
"Exactly." Sherlock said, looking smug.
"We're only sixteen, Sherlock, jesus."
"I have a trust fund, and you're moderately intelligent and strong enough to get a manual labour job."
"Sherlock! You're missing the point!"
"What, exactly, is the point?"
"We can't just leave, Sherlock. We don't have plans, we've got families, we've got friends."
"I can think of a least thirteen legal methods we could survive alone. I don't care about my family, you hate yours. And I don't have friends."
John scowled at him. "I do."
"You have Greg Lestrade, who you can keep in contact with and who can also keep an eye on Harry for you. Where is the loss, here?"
"We'd be cutting our ties with everybody." John said, sounding shell shocked.
"Do we need anybody else?"
John stared at him. That was as close as Sherlock was ever going to get to an outright declaration.
They stared at each other in silence for a moment. "I can't believe we're going to do this." John said, eventually.
Sherlock huffed a laugh. "Where do you want to go?"
"Anywhere." John smiled, and Sherlock closed the gap between them.
"Sorry," he said quietly, "I know this is my fault."
John shook his head. "It was bound to happen eventually."
"It's your fault, then. For attacking Anderson."
"You heard about that?"
"Anderson is an idiot. I enjoy when bad things happen to him."
"Do you hate everyone, or just Anderson?"
"Everyone." Sherlock said, sounding certain. "Except you, obviously."
"Obviously." John said, smiling.
"Greg is... tolerable, I suppose."
"Tolerable." John repeated, still smiling.
"You're making fun of me, aren't you?"
"As if." John said, eyes twinkling.
There was a sharp knock on the door, and John and Sherlock jumped apart as Greg walked in.
"Speak of the devil." John said.
"You used your precious alone time to talk about me?" Greg said, eyebrows raised.
Sherlock rolled his eyes.
"How long?" John asked Sherlock. "How long will we wait?"
"I'll need some time to convince Mycroft of my restitution. A week."
"I thought you said Mycroft was a genius."
"So," Sherlock said, drawing himself up to his full height, "am I."
Greg laughed. "Jesus. You are ridiculously up yourself, aren't you?" He silenced when Sherlock shot him a death glare. John looked uncomfortable.
"Can I ask a favour, Greg?" John said, after a long silence.
"Can you keep an eye on Harry? I'm leaving."
"With Sherlock?" Greg asked, incredulous.
"With me, yes." Sherlock said, icily.
"You're insane." Greg said, eyes wide.
"John is perfectly sane, Lestrade."
"He's running off with you and abandoning his entire family and this entire town. I think his sanity has been called into question." Greg said, folding his arms.
Sherlock opened his mouth to retort but John cut him off. "I can speak for myself. I know what I'm doing."
"Do you? Sherlock's really convincing, I'm sure, but don't you have any sense of loyalty? To your family?"
"My family consists of two drunks and my mother."
"Your mother will never forgive you."
John shook his head. "I know. But she's been relying on me for too long, anyway."
"So talk to her! Jesus, John, you can't just disappear off because you feel like it."
"It's something I need to do. To get out of this family and to be with Sherlock."
Greg growled. "What makes Sherlock so bloody special?"
John looked at Sherlock, but remained silent.
"I believe what John would like to say but is too embarrassed to is that he loves me."
Greg rounded on Sherlock. "This is your fault, y'know. I wish we'd never met you."
"You're not alone in that opinion." Sherlock said, quietly, watching John, who was still staring at him.
"You knew?" John said.
"I suspected. Hoped, perhaps."
Greg watched this exchange. "You're insane." Greg said. He sighed. "But yes, I'll keep an eye on your family."
"Thanks." John said, eventually, looking unhappy. Greg, always good at picking up on what people wouldn't say, left the two of them alone.
"You're not insane." Sherlock said, eventually, apparently able to read John's mind.
"This is insane."
"But in a good way."
John shook his head. "We're leaving everyone behind. Everyone, Sherlock."
"We'll meet new people. There must be better people around than this lot, anyway."
"You don't want to meet new people. We'll live in a shitty bedsit and you'll do experiments that are probably either disgusting or explosive and I'll never get any air or make any friends."
"Would you rather we never saw each other again, or our families get involved?"
"Of course not. It just seems a bit drastic. A bit bleak."
"John. We will be fine. We will live in a bedsit and I promise not to do anything too disgusting,"
"Or explosive. And we can have our time apart. I won't crowd you."
John took a deep breath. "A week, then."
Sherlock wrapped his arms around John, who still looked a little shaken, and then the bell rang.
"I'll text you when I have plans more solidly in place." Sherlock said, assertively removing himself from John's grasp.
John nodded numbly.
"Sherlock Holmes is running away." John heard from behind him. He stopped. He and Sherlock hadn't spoken since they'd made the decision, yesterday, and now somebody (with an unmistakably posh drawl) had stopped John on the way home.
John turned, and was unsurprised to see Mycroft. "I wouldn't know." John tried, "I'm not allowed to speak to him, remember?"
"Sherlock is remarkably intelligent. I've no doubt if he wanted to keep in touch, he would. You've clearly made quite an impression."
John remained silent.
"How long have you known Sherlock, John?"
"A few weeks." John admitted, unwillingly.
"And you're running away together. Might we expect a happy announcement by the end of the week?"
"I doubt it." John said, tight lipped.
"Stay away from Sherlock Holmes, John. You don't know him."
"I know him well enough."
"Have you seen him go through withdrawal? Have you seen him petulant, argumentative, or refusing to eat?"
John swallowed. "I don't.. it's just..."
"I've cared more about Sherlock than you ever have."
"Have you really?" Mycroft said, an oddly benign smile alighting on his face. "I find that very interesting, John, because you don't know me at all."
"Why are you talking to me, Mycroft?" John said, tiredly. "Wouldn't you be better off trying to convince your brother to stay?"
"He'll stay if you end your relationship with him."
"Will he? Because I think he's been looking for an excuse to leave for years. If he decides he hates me, it's just one more reason to leave this town."
"You will regret ever associating with Sherlock Holmes, John." Mycroft promised.
"Is that with or without your interference?"
"Oh, without." Mycroft said, smiling again.
"Sherlock's not... whatever you think he is."
"Isn't he? I've known him for far longer than you have."
"He's not. He made fireworks for me."
"So that's what that was. His explanation was quite convoluted."
John glared at Mycroft, willing him to look angry, or show any kind of emotion at all.
"As informative as this has been, I'm afraid I have places to be. Please consider what I have said. And perhaps tell Sherlock that his preparations are not as subtle as he thinks."
John nodded dumbly, and as soon as Mycroft was far enough away, started dialing Sherlock's backup phone.
"Sherlock, he knows." He said tersely, as soon as Sherlock picked up.
"I know. That's the point."
"He's supposed to know? Jesus. You could've warned me."
"There was no way to get around it. Mycroft knows everything. At least this way we know how much he knows."
"For fuck's sake, Sherlock."
"What did he say?"
"Are we really doing this? Are we really running away?"
"John. What did he say?"
"I barely know you, Sherlock. Greg's right. Mycroft's right. This is insane."
"You should know that I'm going with or without you."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"Listen to me, John. I'm leaving because I need to leave, because I hate this place and this family. Are you, or are you not, in the exact same situation?"
There was a pause.
"Don't think of it as running away with me. You're just running away. And so am I. It'll work best if we stick together," Sherlock said, sounding terse. John could relate.
"If we're not running away together, why do you want me to come at all?"
John waited for an answer, but nothing came. Eventually he heard the tone. Sherlock had hung up on him.
John swore, loudly, and started walking home. What, exactly, was the point of all this mess? Why was he running away with Sherlock at all? He could just stay, surely.
Yeah, thought John, stay and be stuck looking after Harry for the rest of his life, watching her mess up over and over again. It wasn't worth it.
There was nothing for it. He'd run away with Sherlock, but only because he needed to escape.
Sherlock didn't come into it at all.
I have added angst to the tags because this chapter sort of... happened.
Also, Sherlock is an asshole. What's that about?
Continued thanks to my wonderful best friend Data who is willing to beta everything I ever write for me, and very willing to go, "No, that's much too nice for Sherlock, change that" or, like last chapter, tell me it was moving too fast and helped me to add a whole chunk in the middle. (forgot to say this last chapter)
Many, many thanks to all the lovely people who've commented, it really brightens up my day.
(also, I couldn't resist the little ASiP reference)
John was surprised when Greg told him Sherlock wasn't in school today, but he wasn't overly worried. Greg had been worried enough for both of them, apparently.
"I thought you were running away together. That was the whole point, right?"
"He's probably orchestrating some master plan," John shrugged. "Besides, would you stick around this dump if you knew you were escaping soon anyway?"
"You are," Greg was quick to point out.
"I can't skip school. It'd be noticed."
"You and Sherlock are alright, though, right?"
"What? Yeah, 'course."
"Only you haven't asked to see him once."
"Mycroft," John said quietly.
"The infamous Mycroft," Lestrade rolled his eyes. "What's going on, John?"
"It's nothing, alright?"
Greg folded his arms. "I believe you. No, honestly, I completely believe you."
"It's just... it's not a big deal. I guess Mycroft just said a few things that got to me, that's all."
"You spoke to Mycroft? You actually spoke to him, and you're still alive?"
"I'm just as surprised as you are."
"So you're dead set on the leaving with Sherlock lark, then?"
John nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Greg scrutinized him for a moment, but let it go.
"I still think you're mad." Greg said. John grinned.
"I probably am. But so's Sherlock, so it sort of works."
"He's a genius, though. It's allowed." Greg said. "And he's coming this way." He finished, gesturing towards the tall boy that was now approaching him. Greg nodded goodbye at John and drifted off.
"Sherlock." John said, tightly, not forgetting their phone call.
"John. I believe I may have given you the impression that your presence was unwanted."
John waited for more, because Sherlock was clearly leading up to something.
"You were the catalyst in my decision to leave. Arguably, this makes you the most important component."
John raised an eyebrow. Sherlock scowled, and huffed.
"What I'm trying to say, John, is that I'd appreciate it if you still came with me, and stayed with me."
John paused, long enough to watch Sherlock get anxious. It didn't show easily, but reading him was instinctive to John. "Okay." He said, eventually.
John delighted in the surprise in Sherlock's voice a little bit.
"Really." He promised. "I want to know you. Properly. Good and bad."
Sherlock scoffed. "That's what Mycroft said, isn't it? That there was more bad than good and that you hadn't seen any of it."
"Something like that."
"Interfering bastard," Sherlock muttered, but John found himself enjoying the expression on his face.
"It'll be fine. Promise. Anything you need to me to do?"
"Pack. Whatever you think you'll need. Be subtle. We're going on Wednesday."
"What are you taking?"
John was alarmed when Sherlock started an alphabetically ordered list containing at least 5 types of mould, and several types of test tube (though John had no idea what any of it meant,) not to mention the countless chemicals he'd decided were necessary.
"Sherlock. What about clothes, and food?"
Sherlock looked at him blankly. "Transport."
"So, what, you're going to wonder around naked and starving?"
Sherlock looked like he was considering this, up until John hit him. "You idiot. You really didn't think, did you?"
"Well... I... I collected the items I deemed important."
"Your bizarre, incomprehensible experiments are more important than food and clothing?"
"Jesus. Bring food. And clothing. I presume you're going to show up on my lawn in the middle of the night on Wednesday, then?"
"Don't presume, John, it negates your moderate levels of intelligence. But yes. Our train leaves at 5am."
"Where are we going?"
Sherlock threw him a cat like grin as he turned away. "London."
"John, have you seen my backpack? The blue one?"
John held his mother's backpack between his legs, stuffing things in it. He bundled it under the bed and scrambled to find something non suspicious to be doing as his mother knocked on the door.
"John? Have you seen it?" She said, glancing at him scribbling some equations on a piece of paper, maths book open.
"Are you okay? You look a bit... peaky."
"I'm fine, stop fussing."
His mother stopped approaching the bed, and held her hands up, as if calming a timid creature. John scowled.
"Alright, alright, I'll go." She said, a fond smile on her face as she turned to leave.
John grunted in lieu of a goodbye, and waited until she closed the door behind her before slumping back on his bed. Apparently, when he needed his mother to be as absent as possible, she was making it her mission to notice things. Like her backpack going missing. John was leaving for London in two days, and he wanted to be as prepared as possible; although, he'd left Sherlock in charge of the plans for their living arrangements, which was probably a terrible idea. Sherlock probably thought a bed and a kitchen were beneath him.
Oh god. John really ought to check up on that. He had his phone in his hand, Sherlock's number already dialling (embarrassingly, he'd put it on his speed dial already. He thought it might be a bit keen but he hoped Sherlock would never know) when Harry walked in. He groaned.
"Don't think I didn't notice your tactical diversion in the pub the other day?"
John frowned. He had no idea what she was talking about.
"The boyfriend conversation? I still don't know who he is. You're being very secretive, John. Normally you'd have brought them home."
John scowled. "I don't think it's really any of your business, Harry."
"Shall I tell mum you're hiding her backpack under your bed?"
John swallowed. "Harry, whatever you think is going on..."
"I'm not some paranoid freak, John. Just because I have my issues doesn't mean I don't notice yours. You're running away."
"Are you going to tell Ma?"
Harry shook her head. "It's my fault, isn't it?" She said, quietly.
"Harry, it's not that, it's just..."
"It's just, what? You decided life somewhere else with this boy you barely know is better than looking after me."
"It was his idea." John offered.
Harry smiled softly. "But you still agreed. Who is he?"
"You promise you won't say anything? As awful as it sounds?"
Harry frowned, but agreed.
John took a deep breath before spitting the words out. "Sherlock Holmes."
"Well, he's... quite the catch," Harry said, eventually.
John laughed. "He's a nutcase."
Harry regarded him slowly. "You really like him, don't you?"
John nodded. "Why aren't you pissed?"
Harry shrugged. "You're a good judge of character."
"I called him a nutcase. Hardly a ringing endorsement."
Harry grinned. "Yeah, but you said it fondly. Like he knows you think he's a nutcase."
"He does." John smirked.
"So you're running away," she paused, "to be with him?"
John nodded. "If they found out anyway, they'd kick me out. I'm just preempting it."
"I get that, I do. But you're leaving all of us behind."
"You'll cope, Harry. At worst, you'll stay how you are now."
"Mum'll miss you."
"I'll write her a letter. I'll explain. About Sherlock."
"What's he running away from?"
John sighed. "I have no idea."
"Is there anything you want me to do?" Harry said, her voice surprisingly tender. John looked at her sharply - he hadn't seen this Harry in years.
"I don't have much money," he said quietly, feeling a little sick with himself.
"No problem." Harry said. "When are you leaving?"
"Wednesday." John said, eventually.
"I won't tell mum. But.. be careful, alright? Don't do anything stupid."
"Same goes for you," John said, smiling weakly.
Harry nodded. "Deal."
"Thanks." John said, as Harry rose to leave. "For not... flipping out, or whatever."
"No problem," she smiled.
John expected her to immediately leave for the pub, but to his surprise, she didn't go out.
Maybe he wasn't the only person changing around here.
Beta'd this time by my lovely friend cthru. I realise this entire chapter is my OC interpretations of John's family, but I wanted to humanize Harry a bit, so there we go.
Updates will slow down a little as daily updates are completely unsustainable (as I realised yesterday) and I'm going away for a little bit towards the end of this week, but it will still hopefully be like 3 times a week.
Thanks for reading!
John tucked his note in the envelope and left it on his pillow. He hoped it would appease his mother, enough that she wouldn't come looking for him. Sherlock was waiting outside, he knew that, and as he crept past his mother's door he couldn't help be reminded that the last time he and Sherlock had snuck out like this, Sherlock had ended up in hospital.
Sherlock, somehow, had managed to get a cab to wait outside John's house at 5 in the morning. John had to admire the audacity of it, really. If either of their parents did decide to report them missing (he had an idle thought that perhaps both families having a lost a son they might be united, but he knew he was being ridiculous) they would be ridiculously traceable.
"The train station, then?" John asked Sherlock as the cab started moving. Sherlock nodded. He hadn't said a word since John had set eyes on him.
John settled into an easy silence, deciding not to dwell on what would happen when they got to London. He felt a flutter in his stomach. He was really doing this. He was really leaving this godawful town and running away with Sherlock Holmes.
John wondered at what point he'd gone mad, and when insanity had started being so much fun.
"John," Sherlock started, making John jump. "I think you should know that I'm not very good at all of this," he waved expansively, "and that if you feel you might regret this, this is your last chance."
"Jesus, Sherlock." John sighed. "I want to be here. Trust me."
Sherlock's stiff expression faltered, slightly, and John wondered if it was John himself making Sherlock so wound up. Briefly, he wondered when it was that Sherlock had last done any kind of drug, but he dared not ask.
"It's been about a month." Sherlock said, upon noticing his scrutiny.
John blinked. He would never get used to that. "Good. That's... good."
Sherlock nodded, and they lapsed into silence again. The cab pulled up at the train station, and Sherlock handed a ticket to John.
"Carriage A? That's first class, isn't it?"
"I used Mycroft's credit card."
"Doesn't that mean he knows where we're going?"
Sherlock smiled. "I also bought flights out of Heathrow."
Sherlock grinned, and the two of them passed through the ticket gates. The train was already waiting, an early morning commuter train to London. The first class carriage was warm and comfortable, and John found himself sorely tempted by some of the food in the buffet car.
"How much money is in your trust fund?"
"Only about £3000 that I was able to withdraw. Mycroft has been somewhat limiting of late, what with the drugs."
John raised an eyebrow. Combined with the £600 Harry had given him, they might be able to find somewhere half decent to live. If John could get a job, that is. If Sherlock could find a way to use his massive intellect for monetary gain.
"Where are we going to live?" John said, quietly, as the train pulled away from the station.
Sherlock looked at him. "You don't trust me." He said, sharply.
"You nearly forgot to bring clothes."
"I would have remembered."
"Eventually." John said, with a fond smile. He reached over and took Sherlock's hand. "So? Where are we going to live?"
"There's a basement flat on Baker Street," he said, as if John knew where that was. "It's a little damp, so I managed to get it cheap."
John nodded. "You'll have to get a job, y'know."
"Once Mycroft realises I've left permanently, he'll probably remove the cap from my trust fund."
John smiled. Sherlock was stubborn as hell. "We need money now, Sherlock."
"We've got £3000."
"How much is the rent?"
"About £600 per month." Sherlock said.
Maybe, John thought, they would be okay. Maybe Sherlock could just laze around blowing shit up and being an ungrateful dick and they could still afford to live.
John already found himself resenting Sherlock. This isn't good, he told himself, you like this guy, you think he's amazing. Why are you so determined to ruin it?
He wondered if Sherlock could read all of that on his face.
Perhaps, he thought, he was better off not knowing.
Okay, so I know I said I wouldn't be posting nearly as often as I was but I was brainstorming the plot and then I got all excited because I wanted things to HAPPEN. So. This happened.
Beta'd and brainstormed and generally discussed with Data, 'cause he's awesome.
I suppose I should put a warning on this: Two 16 year olds having implied sex. It's fade to black. It's not smut. But, if you're uncomfortable with that, don't read. (Technically 16 /is/ over the age of consent in the UK, so it's not really underage)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
London was chaotic, and after only an hour in the city, John could see Sherlock would thrive. It was exactly his kind of place, a buzzing, living, breathing city, full of absurdities to unravel.
John didn't think he was up for studying people the way Sherlock seemed to be doing, he was having enough trouble with the tube system. Mercifully, Baker Street tube station was only one stop away from Paddington (although John was sure Sherlock would manage to find a way to get there, no matter how complicated the route) and so John didn't have to think too much. Sherlock, apparently, was experiencing some kind of high, induced by all of the people and objects he could study, so different from those in their home town. John was enjoying the parade of bizarre fashions. People were more visible in London, somehow, and you couldn't avoid studying them, noting the differences between the fashion forward girls, particularly, to those he goes to school with. Went to school with, he mentally corrected.
That part of his life was over, forever, apparently.
He pushed that thought firmly out of his mind - today, at least, he was going to focus on London, and everything that brought with it.
Their landlady, introduced to him as Mrs Hudson, seemed concerned for their welfare - John wondered if Sherlock had exaggerated their ages over the phone, but Mrs Hudson asked no difficult questions.
"Do you know anywhere I could find a job around here?" John had asked her, and she brightened up, happy to help.
"Oh, Sherlock mentioned that on the phone. The cafe, right next door, called Speedy's. They've been looking for staff for ages."
John blinked. It was almost too convenient to be true, but he went and applied anyway. When he returned to their flat (Sherlock had definitely understated the condition of it. The damp was awful, and it stank), Sherlock had already unpacked everything - or, everything he deemed useful.
John raised an eyebrow. "You can't keep it neat for 5 minutes." He said, playfully.
Sherlock smirked. "Nope."
John sat next to him on the floor, where Sherlock was cross-legged with his bag tipped out in front of him.
"What is that?" John asked, pointing at a test tube with something green inside it. He supposed he should be grateful for the bung, it was probably dangerous.
Sherlock shrugged. "I don't know."
John smiled affectionately, and bumped him on the shoulder. "When was the last time you said that, eh?"
"I don't presume myself to be all knowing, John."
"I know, I was only teasing."
Sherlock turned his head to look at him, ignoring the test tube for a moment. He pulled John into his lap, and tugged at his collar until their lips met in a long kiss.
"Mrs Hudson asked if we'd like the camp bed." Sherlock said, after pulling away.
"No, I rather think not."
John smiled, and stood up, tugging Sherlock by the hand to the bed. They collapsed on it, still clutching at each other.
"I should've carried you over the threshold." John smirked.
Sherlock looked nonplussed. "Why would you do that?"
John smiled. "Doesn't matter." He said, and kissed Sherlock.
Sherlock kissed back, a little desperately, and pulled John on top of him.
"You'll stay." He said, a breath away from John. It wasn't quite a question, but Sherlock sounded oddly uncertain.
John smiled as their breathes mingled. "'Course I will," he said, before dipping his neck and meeting Sherlock's lips again.
Eventually, John pulled away. "Do you want to?" He said, quietly.
Sherlock nodded, mutely, and began undoing the buttons on John's shirt.
Sherlock had his head on John's bare shoulder, and was attempting to name the mould on their ceiling out loud. John scowled. He was pretty sure that was not the conversation most couples had even after doing... well, doing what they did.
Sherlock seemed almost sleepy, even as he identified the last patch of mould. John decided to let him be, in the hopes that this odd habit was just a one time thing (although he didn't doubt that they'd be doing the thing before again. Or at least, he really hoped not.)
We've come a really long way, he found himself thinking, and we can make this work. I can make this work. I want to be with him, he told himself, even as his fingers loosely rubbed a pattern on Sherlock's bare skin.
John wanted to be with Sherlock. Sherlock wanted to be with John.
London was going to be magnificent. John had never been more sure of anything in his life.
Whew. It was fun to write something a bit cheerier and I hope this isn't too disjointed from the last chapter, because I could sort of see John getting all wrapped up in the excitement of London and Sherlock and doing.. well, this.
From this point forward the plot will probably heavily diverge from the whole romeo and juliet thing and start being about them living on their own in London as teenagers who are really screwed up. That is to say, it no longer fits the kink meme prompt and also it's going to get very angsty.
Just wanted to keep you informed xD
once again, beta'd by my friend Data being wonderful.
Thanks for reading!
This chapter is un-beta'd, so I sincerely apologise if it's out of character at all.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Jesus, Sherlock, have you done anything useful today?" John said, walking through the doorway to 221c. He didn't even notice the smell of damp anymore - they'd been living there for about a month.
Sherlock looked at him blankly. "I was revisiting my experiments on the function of a catalyst in certain reactions."
John looked back at him, remembering a time when Sherlock had referred to him as a catalyst. He wondered, for a moment, at how much everything had changed since then. Working in a cafe for 8 hours a day and coming home to a crummy flat had become his new reality.
"I'll order chinese." Sherlock said, standing up.
"We can't keep eating out," John said, "we don't have the cash."
Sherlock smiled at him. "Mycroft removed the limit from my trust fund yesterday. He also phoned to wish us luck."
John rolled his eyes. That probably meant Mycroft had found them and decided that they were safe, as long as they were kept under surveillance. Arse.
Just then, John's phone rang. Nobody had phoned him in months (apart from Mrs Hudson when Sherlock had set the flat on fire - frankly, John was amazed they hadn't been kicked out) and he barely recognised the ring tone as Harry's custom one. Oh dear.
"John, it's Harry."
Well, she wasn't slurring her words, at least.
"Hi." He said, unsure of himself.
"John, it's dad." Harry said. "He was in a car accident."
John blinked, and decided not to look at Sherlock. "How badly is he hurt?"
"They operated on him last night, but," Harry seemed to be struggling to find the words, "he didn't make it, John."
"Will you come to the funeral? It's next week... I just thought you might come back for it. Mum needs us."
"Harry..." John said, hating himself for how weak his voice sounded. "I'll come. I'll be there."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sherlock turn towards him, sharply, no doubt deducing what had happened.
"It's on Friday. We won't make you stay, John. Mum promised."
"I'll come down on Thursday," John said, his voice sounding hollow, "and I'll stay the night, and leave on Friday."
There was silence, as if neither of them knew how to end the phone call. Eventually, Harry just hung up.
John stared into space, gripping his phone tightly. He felt oddly numb.
How were you supposed to feel when someone died? It should've hurt more, he found himself thinking, before he became aware of Sherlock still watching him.
"You're going home." Sherlock said, eventually.
John looked at him. "My dad's died, Sherlock."
Sherlock nodded. "Do you... want me to come?"
John's lips twitched in a crude approximation of a smile, before he shook his head. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"I'll... go get the food, then." Sherlock said. John hadn't even noticed the doorbell ringing. He nodded vaguely at Sherlock as he passed, then slumped into the chair he'd left vacant.
He stared at the test tubes Sherlock had left smouldering in his wake (jesus, is that an eye? What the hell, Sherlock?) and wondered, perhaps, if his dad would still be alive if he hadn't left.
"It's not your fault." Sherlock said, apparently having returned.
John stared at him, and the plastic bags he carried. "I'm not hungry." He said eventually. "I think I'll get an early night."
Sherlock watched him leave, and half an hour later, joined him as he lay curled up in bed, tears streaking down his face. "John." He said quietly, sliding under the covers.
John's shoulders shook gently as Sherlock gently pressed his lips to them, one arm loosely around John's waist, their legs tangled together.
"I'm sorry about your dad." Sherlock whispered.
John didn't respond, but gradually his shoulders stopped shaking.
Sherlock stayed curled around him until he fell asleep, and John could never articulate quite how grateful he was for that.
Sherlock, for his part, never mentioned it again - he helped John book the train tickets, said goodbye to him at the station, and barely spared him a glance when John returned, the following Friday afternoon, emotionally exhausted.
I was going to write about Sherlock being an ass but then... this happened. Idk. Thanks for reading :)
Warning for mentions of excessive drinking, drug use, and two teenage boys generally being absolute idiots.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
John had been looking into what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, in between shifts at Speedy's and bickering with Sherlock. Sherlock had, apparently, made no effort towards this at all, and seemed content to spend the rest of his life living off his trust fund and blowing things up.
Which wasn't to say that John didn't like his shifts at the tiny cafe right outside his front door - he got on well with his coworkers, although none of them seemed to work as many hours as he did. Speedy's seemed to hire exclusively from teenagers, and all of them were at school, right where John should be.
John's 17th birthday came and went - he got a card from Harry, and his mother phoned him, tearfully, but Sherlock made no remark of it. John tried not to be offended. He was, however, offended when the following week they had to call in the fire brigade.
"For fuck's sake, Sherlock. Can you not do some kind of research before you start putting chemicals together?"
"I did research. I was well aware of what the end result would be."
"Well then why did you do it?"
John was met by silence, as he was whenever he tried to question whatever the fuck Sherlock did with his time.
Occasionally, when he went into work furious, one of his colleagues bought him a coffee and sat him in the corner and let him rant at her. John thought that was very kind of the girl.
May was 17 and lived with her parents - she seemed a little awestruck by the idea that John had run away from home and lived with his boyfriend, though she never asked much about their relationship. John enjoyed her company as time away from Sherlock. He hadn't anticipated quite how overwhelming living with Sherlock would be, and more often than not he started wondering why he left home for this.
Sometimes, though, Sherlock reminded him, when they lay curled together in their bed. When John checked in with Greg and found that Harry was worse than ever, Sherlock didn't tell him "I told you so," though John could see he was dying to. Sherlock wasn't always particularly sensitive, but somehow he understood about Harry (perhaps, John considered, that was due to his own difficult relationship with Mycroft.)
All too often Sherlock ignored John as he walked through the door, tired after having been on his feet all day, and John resorted to goading him into an argument. It wasn't healthy, what they were doing, he knew. But he missed the Sherlock that had made him fireworks, that had convinced him to run away in the first place.
At around their fourth month of living together, John discovered Sherlock's stash of cocaine.
That night John disappeared to the pub, alone, and used his old fake ID to get ridiculously smashed. The look of scorn on Sherlock's face when John came home had enough to start them on another screaming match, but by the time they were all yelled out, John was almost sober and Sherlock was a little closer to understanding.
They crawled into bed together and clutched at each other until the sun rose, and then John went to work, hungover, and trying hard to forget why he'd gone out drinking in the first place.
"Sherlock," he'd said, haltingly, at the end of that day, "I thought you'd tell me."
Sherlock looked at him blankly. "I don't know where you got that idea from."
And finally, John came to the conclusion that Sherlock had known all along. Cocaine stopped Sherlock feeling, made him more acidic and biting. Cocaine stopped Sherlock feeling for John.
John wondered why he needed to stop feeling, but didn't dare ask. It was all too much for him to deal with, he rather felt, and that was around when John stopped making an effort for Sherlock.
John found himself confiding in May about the terse atmosphere inside the claustrophobic walls of 221c. He found himself spending more and more time with her, and less inside the flat, even after Sherlock deigned to speak with him, to flush the cocaine, to promise to be better.
John couldn't decide if he was more disgusted with himself, or Sherlock.
Once again, many thanks to my beta Data, and thanks to you for continuing to read :)
And I'm sorry about the angst.
Next chapter will probably be even worse.
In which all good things, and all bad and destructive and selfish things, must come to an end.
"John," Sherlock said, not looking up from his microscope. "Phone Mycroft."
John stared at him.
"Six months," he said, when he eventually found his voice. "We've been here for six months and you're throwing it all away. To go back to Mycroft."
"Mycroft warned you about me. That you can't handle withdrawal."
Sherlock finally,finally lifted his head up to look straight at John. "I know what you've been doing with May."
John couldn't help it, he flinched. "It happened once, Sherlock. I'm sorry, but..."
"But I'm selfish and inconsiderate. I know. You were given advance notice of these things."
John swallowed, and tried to change tack. Yes, Sherlock was an ass, but he didn't want him to leave. It was... they were a dangerous combination, bringing out the worst bits of each other, but they were better together than apart.
John was pretty sure that Sherlock gave his life a semblance of solidity. It was something he needed. He'd thought Sherlock felt the same way, in spite of both of their transgressions.
"What is it I'm worse than?" John said, throat dry.
"You were running away from something," John tried. "Something that I helped you out of. What is it I'm now worse than? Your parents?"
Sherlock shook his head. He was not going to get into this, John was not going to succeed in whatever he was trying to do.
"It's not really any of your business, John." He said, stiffly.
John stepped forward, reached up to press a thumb to Sherlock's cheek. Sherlock flinched away.
"I'm sorry," he said. "Really, I am."
"So you'll phone Mycroft."
John shook his head. "You can't go back to that. Why would you? You've got a trust fund, you've got no reason to return."
Sherlock shot him a sour look. "As much as I appreciate you trying to play the hero, I doubt you want to deal with this." He said, gesturing towards himself.
John raised an eyebrow. "Maybe I don't think you should inflict it on anybody else. I'll leave."
"You'd go back to them?"
John shook his head. "I enlisted in the army a few months ago. I've got basic training. I'll leave, you can stay here."
Sherlock stood up, sharply. "Are you mad? You're seventeen. You could get shot. Killed."
"How is that any worse than the drugs, Sherlock?"
Sherlock frowned. "The only variable is myself."
"And the dealer, and whatever stupid shit they've cut it with. Fuck, Sherlock. You can't care about my welfare when you're doing terrible things to yourself!"
"John." Sherlock said, numbly. "Please don't go."
As awful as he felt for it, John couldn't help but notice that Sherlock still had an ounce of feeling in him, that he still cared for John. He'd thought it was too much to ask, especially after what had happened with May.
"It's too late for that, Sherlock. I have to."
Sherlock nodded. "You've... I've... I'm sorry."
John half smiled. "Me too."
"How long until you go away for training?" He asked.
"Two weeks." John swallowed.
Sherlock nodded, mentally working how many experiments he could delay to maximise his last time with John, his John, who was stupidly going to fight a war in another country.
There was another, more insipid voice. You drove him to that, it said, Going into a warzone is better than living with you.
"You loved me." Sherlock said, drawing himself out of his thoughts.
John looked at him. "I did," He said quietly.
He smiled. "You did. You happened, Sherlock, and we fucked it all up."
Sherlock nodded. He was to blame for this, then. Good. That was better. It felt almost like a release.
"It was nice knowing you." Sherlock said, abruptly. John looked at him strangely.
"Not going to drag out the goodbye, then?" He said, with a false smile on his face, looking devastated.
Sherlock shook his head decisively.
The sooner John was gone, the better. Then he could pretend this whole episode had never happened, that he'd never met a boy named John Watson, and that he'd never driven that boy to a warzone.
"Just get out." Sherlock said, tiredly.
John looked startled, as if he'd been lost in thought. "You're an asshole, Sherlock."
Sherlock smiled at him. "You too, John. You too."
John shook his head, and moved to pack his bag. For a moment, Sherlock wondered where he was going to stay for the remaining two weeks.
Then he returned to his microscope, examining soil samples just as he'd been doing before.
May had a friend of a friend who had a sofa John could sleep on for two weeks. It hurt his back, and he couldn't help but feel guilty for taking up their space.
He'd stopped working at the cafe, too - the commute was expensive, now that John wasn't living next door, and it was just too awkward with the risk that Sherlock might come in.
That he wouldn't see Sherlock at all.
He spent his days doing runs around the various parks London had to offer - he'd never really, properly explored the city, and he took the opportunity to as he prepared for his training.
He tried not to think about Sherlock, about the fact that he'd given up his entire family and several very good friends to live with him, and 6 months later they'd thrown all of that away.
He tried not to think about the fact that if Sherlock promised to change, if Sherlock forgave him, and if John wasn't already committed to another path, John would go back to him in a heartbeat.
He doubted Sherlock felt the same. He was, in the end, pretty heartless about the whole thing.
He wondered how long it would take them to forget about each other. He'd heard his mother telling stories about how your first love is the one you never forget (to Harry, after she was pretty brutally dumped - his mum had comforted her, and he'd gone and punched someone. They made a good team) but he couldn't see himself being particularly memorable.
And after all, Sherlock had never said those three words to John. John knew how he felt - he knew he'd fallen fast and hard, in spite of how he hated the romanticism of the whole thing, he knew he'd loved Sherlock from before they'd even left their home.
Sherlock probably knew that too, which made the whole thing more pathetic.
John poured all of his frustration and self loathing into the miles he ran, rain or shine, around Victoria Park. Rugby had prepared him well for it, but he'd had six months off, living with Sherlock, eating takeaways.
He found himself, as those last few days wound down, itching to go back to Baker Street, to knock on the door of 221C, and attempt a proper goodbye. To beg Sherlock to think of himself and not the experiments or the boredom, to not go home but to please god, get help, and please god, be careful because John wouldn't be there to look out for him for the rest of his life, like they'd planned.
Or like John'd planned, at least. He'd thought they'd have forever to hate each other and tear each other apart, but apparently even that was finite.
You chose this, he told himself, as the hours passed and he found himself staring at the ceiling, back aching from the sofa, unable to sleep. You can't blame Sherlock, because you chose to leave. This is the rest of your life. It's more important than some boy.
Sherlock wasn't just some boy, though, that was the problem. Sherlock was the boy, the one John hadn't planned for. The one who changed his life - literally and figuratively.
John was a little bit ruined by Sherlock, really, and that was the crux of the matter. John was ruined by Sherlock so he was going to join the army where somebody would tell him what to do and how to spend his time, because he couldn't function anymore.
Not without his ex-boyfriend, the addict, the genius, the spoilt brat.
John ached to forget, and remember, all at once.
And then, when he was half remembering broken moments, blue eyes shining under a fireworks display made just for him, he busied himself with army training.
Eventually, he was shipped out to Afghanistan, and between the bullets and the plans and the people dying, all around him, he started to forget what life was like back home.
He emailed his mother. He stayed with her, on leave. He never bumped into Greg Lestrade again, and Harry kept her distance - John didn't forget, though, and paid her back the original loan.
He had no doubt what she'd spend it on, but he owed her that, at least.
He took some time out, got a medical degree.
He spent years wondering if now, maybe now, he'd grown up enough to write a letter to the blue eyed genius he used to know, but he never found the time, the inclination, to put pen to paper.
Perhaps, he considered, all of the things that went between us are gone, and a few words on a bit of paper won't mean anything at all.
Ultimately, John decided, he'd probably been forgotten. Perhaps not knowing was safer, all in all, than the painful knowledge that he'd meant nothing to Sherlock, nothing at all.
And when he went back to war, with the determination to save lives, he never thought for a moment that Sherlock might write to him.
There is severe timeline fudging in this one. John will be in Afghanistan throughout the duration of his deployment, regardless of the fact that British troops have not been/probably will not be in Afghanistan for nearly as long as this story requires. Also, I know next to nothing about the British Army, so um, apologies if there are any glaring errors in this.
And sorry about the excessive introspection and metaphors. This chapter ran away with me a bit.
Once again, many thanks to my beta reader, Data, and thank you for continuing to read/comment.
"Letter for you, Watson." Came the call, and John stood up to grab the letter.
He didn't recognise the handwriting on the front of the letter, so he tugged open the envelope with no small amount of suspicion.
As part of my therapy from the rehabilitation program I am on, I have been instructed to write to you. Mycroft said he'd pass it on, so I hope this reaches you and you are well.
We were sixteen, and we were idiots. I hope you do not see me too unkindly for forcing you away from your family, and ultimately, into the army. It was never my intention to drive you to such measures to get away from me.
However, there is no denying that our cohabitation was unsuccessful from the off. There were a number of mitigating factors leading to your betrayal, but the blame is not all mine and I refuse to take it as such.
(My therapist assures me that I am perfectly within my rights to be furious at you, even ten years on.)
It will no doubt disappoint you that I am still struggling with my addiction, but I find I don't much care what you think of me. What we had was short and sweet and ended far too bitterly, and that is the issue I am trying to address.
You were the first person I loved - there have been no others since, though that holds no relevance to this letter. You did not properly know the extent of my feelings, and at the time, that was my intent.
I did not deserve you, John. You were solid where I was frayed around the edges, and I think you knew that, and that's why you lowered yourself to such base emotions. I apologise for the vitriol that spewed out of my mouth in difficult times, for forcing you to deal with my addiction. I do not apologise for being who I am, and I hope you'll understand why.
You asked what it was you were worse than, in that last conversation we had.
My family, John, have long been cold and uncaring, and I had never known any different until you. And then you took it away.
I may never be able to forgive you for showing me what could be, and what I can now, never have.
"John? You alright, mate?" Someone said. John nodded dumbly.
"Fine, just, not what I was expecting."
Someone smirked. "Is that a love letter, Watson?"
John shook his head slowly. "Letter from an ex, isn't it?" He said, slowly.
"An ex is writing you?"
"From rehab, apparently." John said, grimacing.
"You heartbreaker." There was laughter.
John smiled slightly. "It was a long time ago. I thought..." He shook himself.
"You going to write back?" Someone said, bumping him on the shoulder.
"No address." John said, showing the envelope. "Besides.. it's not exactly begging for a response."
"Give us a read, then." Said Bill. John half laughed.
"I might just burn it, mate." He said, smiling. He got a couple raised eyebrows.
"That bad, huh?"
John nodded. "That bad."
"Oh Johnny," said Bill, "You really are a heartbreaker."
"It was ten years ago!" He said, sounding defensive.
"Well, you know how these teenage things hang on. I mean, rehab, really?"
"There was a drug problem before I came along." John said. "That wasn't my fault."
"Who else got a letter, then?" Someone said, to much laughter.
John rolled his eyes. "Just me. A therapist's exercise."
Someone groaned. "I hope I'm never the topic of discussion with an ex's therapist."
"I never thought I'd be, either." John said.
He waited a moment. "Can we talk about something else now?"
There was laughter, and the tide of conversation duly turned, but John found himself still turning Sherlock's words over in his head.
Had it been their living together that had driven them apart? John had missed his family, had blamed Sherlock for the fact that he missed his family, but he had still wanted to be with Sherlock.
Maybe that wasn't enough for them, at 16, to stick it out.
He wondered if Sherlock had grown up since then. He couldn't picture it, but still, he wondered. He was in rehab (though it was possible he was there by force - John had seen Mycroft's wrath, after all) which must count for something. He was willingly engaging in therapy, even. Enough to send John a letter listing all his failings.
John had failed Sherlock, hadn't he?
He shook himself a little. There was no use dwelling on what happened between them. It was over, and he was never going to hear from Sherlock again.
I know nothing about rehab, very little about therapy, and nothing about army mailing procedures.
ALSO. I apologise for any weird formatting in this chapter.
Continued thanks to my beta, Data, who is wonderful and I owe him many hugs and cakes and things.
And thanks for reading and commenting!
Bumping into Greg Lestrade had not been a part of John Watson's plan. He'd only planned to stay in London for a few weeks, just to find his feet a bit, and then he was going to back to his hometown and spend the rest of his life bored and looking after his sister.
It wasn't like he had any attachments in London - he'd gotten a degree there, sure, but most of his friends had moved on, and those that stayed weren't all that interested in John.
But Greg - well, John had nothing but fond memories of Greg, and though it'd been far too many years since they'd seen each other, they'd fallen into conversation easily, right up until Greg mentioned, in quick succession, Afghanistan, and Sherlock.
"So it didn't last then?" Greg asked, after John's fumbled explanation of what had happened.
"Nope. No use dwelling on it, though. It was years ago."
"You loved him." Greg pointed out.
John rolled his eyes. "Years ago."
"Yeah, yeah. He still doesn't have any friends, y'know. He only really talks to me and his landlady."
"So you work together now?"
Greg rolled his eyes. "He's a pain in the arse, but he's a genius, and there's no denying what he's done for my career."
"So he hasn't changed much, then." John smiled.
"He's clean. Completely clean." Greg offered.
"I know. He wrote to me from rehab."
Greg smiled. "That must mean something." He pointed out.
John shook his head. "Does it matter if it does? That was ages ago, and besides, I'm leaving London soon."
"You're going to go back home?"
John shrugged. "I can't afford London on an army pension."
"Sleep on my couch."
"Keen to keep me around, are you?"
"It might be good for you to see Sherlock," Greg said, far too quickly, like he'd been trying to find a way to say it for their entire conversation.
"I've already got a therapist, thanks."
"Yeah, but I know you better. One coffee won't hurt, will it?"
"We didn't end well, Greg. It's a bad idea." John said. "But I will take you up on that offer of the couch, if it's alright."
Greg nodded, and the topic turned to easier things, like football and their shared memories.
Two days later, John had formally moved out of his army accommodation and onto Greg's couch. It was hell on his shoulder, given that he was still in the depths of physio, but he coped with it for the company.
"So. Have you dated anyone since Sherlock?" Greg opened, as they sipped at their respective beer cans.
John shook his head. "I've been off getting shot at, haven't I?"
Greg shrugged. "You had time to get a degree." He pointed out.
"That didn't involve other people." John grinned. "What about you?"
"Have I dated anyone since Sherlock? Well..." Greg laughed, and John hit him.
"No, you dick. Have you got a girlfriend?"
Greg nodded. "Fiancee, actually."
Greg smiled at him. "I was going to invite you, but now you're camped on my couch you're kind of cramping my style."
John groaned. "You invited me, mate."
"I had no idea what I was signing up for."
John spluttered with laughter, and Greg joined in, but before long they were interrupted by Sherlock picking the lock, and walking in.
He blinked at John, looking surprised, then turned to Greg.
"Lestrade, if you're quite done socialising, I've solved your case." His tone was icy, and John, only slightly inebriated, blinked up at him.
He hadn't planned any kind of reunion.
This chapter is a little shorter than I would've liked it to be, but, grown up!John, Greg, and Sherlock. Hooray!
Uhm. In case you haven't guessed my John and Sherlock meeting is veering wildly from canon. I had originally planned to involve Mike Stamford and St Barts laboratory but then I thought this would work better.
Also because I love John & Greg as bffs.
(In case you haven't guessed, the characters are a little younger than they would be in canon - in order to keep with this, Greg's canon-wife is his fiancee etcetera)
Probably will not be a chapter tomorrow as I'm ill and feeling like crap.
Greg jumped up. "Hang on, I'll just make some phone calls. Have you got a name, Sherlock?"
"Jim Browner." Sherlock said, not looking at John.
Sherlock made to follow Greg in the kitchen, but Greg stopped him, and pointed at the sofa.
"Sherlock." John said, tightly, as he approached the sofa warily.
"John." Sherlock said, not sitting down. Sherlock watched him for a moment. "You were shot. In the shoulder, I believe. The limp is psychosomatic."
John frowned at him.
Sherlock made a disgusted noise and threw himself on the sofa, landing slumped and looking sulky. "I was right, then, going into the army had more lasting effects than my drug problem."
"Yes, but I saved lives."
Sherlock considered this for a moment, then, with a quick shake of his head, seemingly dismissed the thought. "Irrelevant." He declared.
John sighed. Sherlock hadn't changed a bit.
At this point, Greg walked back in, apparently having made his phone calls, and looked at them, sat as far apart on the sofa they could get.
"Jesus christ, you two." He said. "It's been fifteen bloody years and you can't even be in the same room together."
Sherlock huffed. "Things did not come to a satisfactory conclusion fifteen years ago."
John stared at him. "What would have been satisfactory?"
Sherlock blinked at him. "You, not cheating on me."
"Well if you hadn't been such a tosser-" John started, but at Greg's sigh, he shut up.
"I was not in my right mind."
John raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps you should've been."
"I'm clean now." Sherlock stated, flatly.
"I assumed so," John said, "you did write to me from rehab."
There was a moment of silence, and then John could have sworn Sherlock was flushing. That confused John - the letter wasn't particularly nice (or, it had to be said, particularly nasty) it was just... remarkably honest.
Greg sat in the armchair. "I'll have you know that the two of you are ridiculous."
Both Sherlock and John turned to look at him, confused. "Why?" John asked.
"Listen to yourselves. And then tell me one reason why neither of you have moved on from this."
John stared blankly at him. "Fuck." He said, eventually, once he realised exactly what Lestrade was trying to say.
Sherlock's ever present scowl deepened. "Well, this has been enlightening," he said, sarcastically, as he stood to leave.
"Oh, no, Sherlock, you're not going anywhere." Lestrade said. "I've had enough of you pouring scorn over everybody else's relationships, I'm going to make you do this."
Sherlock huffed. "Anderson and Donovan deserve it."
"That may be, but nobody else does." Greg crosses his arms in front of his chest and looked pointedly at Sherlock until he sat back down.
"John," Sherlock started. "I wrote you that letter at the request of my therapist."
"Does that mean what you said in it wasn't true?"
Sherlock frowned. "I can barely remember what I said," he said, dismissively.
"You remember everything, Sherlock."
Sherlock remained silent.
"You wrote that you may never forgive me," John prompted, and Sherlock looked surprised, for a moment, before the expression vanished.
Eventually, Sherlock shrugged, the usually effortless gesture looking somewhat forced on his thin frame. "That was years ago, John."
"Does that mean you have?" John said, quietly. The two of them stared at each other in silence, barely noticing when Greg slipped out to give them a moment (or at least, John barely noticed. Sherlock noticed everything.)
"We're not seventeen anymore," Sherlock said, eventually, sounding like he was struggling to find words.
"I know." John agreed. "But I remember when we were sixteen and you called me your catalyst and you made me fireworks."
Sherlock looked at him. "And you said you loved me."
John swallowed. "You never really forget your first love, do you?"
"No," Sherlock said, "you don't."
Greg Lestrade was pleased when John accompanied Sherlock to a crime scene. It was a bit morbid, he supposed, to invite your boyfriend to a murder, but that was how Sherlock did things. John didn't seem to mind.
Whew. And so things end.
This was incredibly ridiculously fun to write and I hoped you all enjoyed it too, and of course continual thanks to my wonderful beta, Data.
And I hope this is a satisfactory ending.