Chapter 1: why don't you love me anyway?
Chapter by xIrelandx
If I cut off your arms,
And I cut off your legs,
Would you still love me anyway?
If you're bound and you're gagged,
Draped and displayed,
Would you still love me, love me anyway?
- 'Helena', the Misfits
‘Sorry, Greg, could you repeat that? I must have misheard you, because it sounded like you were ordering Sherlock and I to go to couples therapy.’
Lestrade pushed his fingers into his eye sockets, wondering if it were possible to shove them far enough back into his skull that they’d slide down his throat. He’s sure he’d rather do that than have this conversation. He was quite sure John would prefer that too.
‘Look, John, I don’t want to do this, but I can’t have you two on my crime scenes when you’re…’ Lestrade gesticulated at John’s figure, hoping he’d see that he was stomping his feet, steaming at the ears, hands balled so tightly into fists Lestrade was certain he might lose all circulation in his hands. John didn’t seem to be getting it, because he tilted his head in an irritating manner that frankly made Lestrade want to smack him.
He was trying to be patient. He really, really was. ‘Like this. Look at yourself, mate. I’m shocked you haven’t killed him. Good on you, really. But you also can’t be around my crime scenes until you get your issues sorted out.’
‘Issues? I don’t have issues!’ John was quite literally flailing now. ‘Sherlock is the one who jumped off the bloody rooftop without any explanation or warning –‘
‘I did give warning.’ There was a moment of pause in which everyone stared at Sherlock. He was sitting calmly in a chair, legs crossed and fingers folded in his lap. Lestrade had expected Sherlock to be the one affronted by the idea of attending therapy, let alone couples therapy. He’d expected John to merely roll his eyes and grudgingly go for it.
The Awkward Moment of Silence turned into an Awkward Staring Contest, and not the kind Lestrade was used to witnessing, where John and Sherlock had a conversation – complete with reactions – without ever opening their mouths. This Staring Contest seemed to consist of John attempting to blow Sherlock up with his mind. Lestrade made a mental note to speak to Mycroft about that. He didn’t think it was possible, but with technology these days…
‘Shut up.’ John snarled before turning back to Greg. ‘We’re not even a fucking couple, Greg.’
Greg had officially reached his Limit of Bullshit for the day. Setting his shoulders, he pointed both pointer fingers; one at Sherlock, one at John. ‘You are two people. A couple, in mathematical terms, means two. You are going to couples therapy, or I will have you’ the finger pointed at John wiggled emphatically, ‘arrested for spousal abuse and you’ now the finger pointing at Sherlock, ‘will have a restraining order placed on you. Is that understood?’
John turned around to look at Sherlock, as if for help. Sherlock shrugged guiltily and said, ‘He does have a point, John.’
John’s reaction was immediate. ‘Oh bugger off, you flaming sod.’ Sherlock’s was too. He didn’t return home that night.
Sherlock didn’t often go to bars, because drunken social interaction was really not his thing. He couldn’t go home tonight though, at least not yet. He didn’t think it a good idea, given the circumstances, to go to Lestrade. Lestrade had always been a sort of father figure to him and he didn’t want to give the man any more reason to want to kill John. Sherlock had seen the anger in Lestrade’s eyes when John said those words. Lestrade was furious with John, would probably never forgive him for saying that, although in Sherlock’s own mind he deserved it.
He smiled bitterly into his shot of straight vodka.
Sherlock let his head hit the table hard, enjoying the clattering noise of the shot glasses spread around him.
‘Are you okay si- Oh my god, Sherlock Holmes?’
Sherlock didn’t really need to look up to know the man addressing him was his former uni roommate and friend, Victor Trevor, but he looked anyway. Victor was pretty, with curly brown hair and a smile and a laugh that he was certain could light up an entire room, if only there were a way to bottle it up. Sherlock didn’t take too much time out of his day to look at pretty things. Today was a day for looking at pretty things.
‘Is it obvious I’m gay?’ wasn’t what Sherlock meant to say, but it fell out of his mouth anyway.
Victor blinked at him. ‘You’re gay?’ He frowned, blinking, rubbing a – was that a bar towel? Did Victor work here – over his hands before laying it over his shoulder. ‘Hm. I always just thought you were…I dunno. Asexual, I guess.’
Sherlock let his head fall to the table again and muttered into it. Victor sat down next to him. ‘Sorry, love, what?’ Sherlock lifted his head meekly, allowing Victor to grab at his curls to help him hold his head up.
‘Homoromantic asexual. I like…guys. Guy-shaped things. Men.’ Sherlock nodded for no particular reason and leaned into Victor. ‘You smell…nice… Your wife…why…is she…leaving you?’
Victor let Sherlock curl into him and brought a hand around his shoulder. ‘Sorry love, but you’re way too drunk for that story right now. Let’s get you home. Where do you live, nowadays?’
‘Two hundred twenty-one beeeeee Baker street.’ Sherlock passed out.
John was fairly certain that in his life, he’d said and done some pretty terrible things. He was also fairly certain none of them would ever measure up to making Sherlock Holmes cry.
Oh, the tears hadn’t started falling yet, but he could tell they were there. He’d seen the tears, really genuine ones, only once before; but there were some sights and some feelings you never forgot, and the vulnerability of a Holmes was, he supposed, one of them. John was quite frankly ashamed of himself. You’d have to be one cruel son of a bitch to get any emotional reaction out of Sherlock (other than annoyance, if that one counted), let alone sadness.
John punched his pillow in until it caved and he leaned back against it, although he knew he wouldn’t be sleeping tonight. For one, Sherlock hadn’t come home yet. For another, he was waiting for Mycroft to show up at the door and quietly murder him for what he’d said to his younger brother. He wasn’t sure he’d try to stop Mycroft, either.
He shivered when he heard the doorbell ring. ‘That’ll be Mycroft’ John told the room lamely, as if expecting a piece of furniture to spring to sentience and beg him not to go. He looked at his dresser accusingly before shuffling out of the room, dragging his feet down the stairs.
The sight that greeted him at the front door was not Mycroft, but it also wasn’t pleasant. It was Sherlock, passed out and curled up against a gorgeous (if he was going to be honest, and he was going to be honest; he didn’t personally find the man attractive but he was sure somebody would) man of relatively the same height and age. The man smiled brightly at John, as though John were a long-lost friend of his whom he’d dearly missed. ‘Hello, special delivery of one Sherlock Holmes to a Mr John Watson?’
‘It’s Doctor Watson,’ John confirmed harshly, dragging Sherlock over to him by the torso, ignoring Sherlock’s feet slamming against the door step in a way that would probably be very painful tomorrow. The man at the door was still looking far too happy. John was sure that if he were a dog, his hackles would be raised.
‘Oh, apologies. I’m Victor Trevor,’ and Victor Trevor stuck a hand out. John glared at it before looking up at Victor. Victor frowned slightly and slowly put his hand down, looking hurt. ‘Well, uh…I guess Sherlock’s okay with you?’
‘Sherlock is perfectly fine with me, thank you.’ John snapped, and slammed the door in Victor’s face.
The trek up to his and Sherlock’s floor wasn’t fun, but Sherlock didn’t wake up along the way. John might not have been a consulting detective, but he could smell the alcohol wafting off Sherlock and bet that if his eyes were just a little bit better, he’d see actual vapors rising off of his slow-breathing chest. John helped Sherlock shrug off his coat and relieved him of his socks and shoes, tucking the covers up around him before searching for an asprin and some water.
‘Victor?’ Sherlock asked.
John’s hands clenched involuntarily and began shaking. ‘What do you need, Sherlock?’
There was a slight turn, and then, ‘Don’t tell John.’ Sherlock rolled on his side and never heard the distinct cracking of glass in John’s hands.
Chapter 2: do you remember when we met? that was the day I knew you were my pet
Chapter by xIrelandx
Come with me, my love,
To the sea, the sea of love
I wanna tell you
How much I love you
- 'Sea of Love', Cat Power
‘Seriously, Sammy? A couples retreat?’ Sam hmmmed without actually looking up, instead looking at his books fondly, deciding on which ones to pack. The tickets flopped around lamely in Dean’s hand as he shook them at Sam. ‘Dude, seriously, I am not pretending to be your boyfriend again, okay? That’s just weird.’
Sam finally looked up at his whining older brother, nose cringed slightly at the implication. ‘Do you really have to italicize every word you say? I get you’re trying to emphasize your point, but it really just sounds stupid.’
‘Answer the question, Sammy.’
‘You didn’t ask me a question, and Dean, stop calling me Sammy.’
‘Are you intending to be my date to this gay luau?’
‘No, I am going to be enjoying London while you work out your problems with Castiel.’
‘London? Man, we can’t even go to a nice place for a retreat? Like someplace with sunshine and beaches and girls?’
Sam sighed. ‘London has all of those things, but Dean, that’s not why we’re going there. You guys really need to work this out.’
‘And we can’t do this in the US because…?’
Sam glanced briefly at his copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, blushing slightly before deciding that taking Harry Potter to England might be a bit childish. He slid it off the bed and kicked it under, although both he and Dean knew he would just grab it a second later and stow it away, and that both would pretend as though they didn’t know. ‘You need a change of scenery, Dean. Both of you, actually. I don’t know if Cas has ever been to England, but we all have far too much history in the US, in pretty much every state, for this to not be awkward at home.’
Dean let himself fall backward onto his bed, pouting at the ceiling. ‘Dude, it’s a month at a couples retreat with Cas. It’s going to be awkward no matter where we go.’
‘I am standing right behind you, Dean.’
Dean launched himself up from the bed, nearly smacking his forehead on Castiel’s on the way. Castiel was frowning at him, but not in his usual I’m-An-Angel-And-Human-Things-Confuse-Me sort of way, but as though Dean’s words had actually hurt his feelings. Dean wasn’t even sure angels had feelings to hurt.
‘Cas, seriously, I’m gonna put a bell on you.’
He cocked his head, his usual confused frown back in place. ‘Why do you feel the need to assert that you are being serious with every sentence you speak? Are you afraid we will think you are not genuine, or are you trying to convince yourself of something?’
Across the room, Sam snorted. Dean took a discarded phone book from the center of his bed and launched it at Sam. ‘Shut up.’
‘Anyway,’ Sam exhaled, zipping up his suitcase and dropping it neatly next to the one he had already packed for Dean. ‘We are going to be meeting up with some friends I’ve made over the internet. They seem to work in the same sort of field we’re in, and they’re going to the retreat as well.’
‘There is an official way to do this job?’ Dean wondered about Angels and feelings again at the lack of genuine surprise on Cas’s face.
‘Apparently,’ Sam nodded. ‘They call it Torchwood. Jack said something about us getting one in America eventually, but that we probably should trust it. I think he said bad things happen there, but he could have been pulling my leg. It’s always hard to tell over the internet.’
‘As long as he’s not pulling anything else of yours,’ Dean grumbled. It was Sam’s turn to launch something at his brother’s head.
‘Goddamnit, why isn’t his plane here yet?’ Jack paced up and down, hands running through his hair at a manic pace.
Ianto, in vest and button-down and proper trousers with shiny shoes, gestured almost lewdly to his lap. ‘Come, love, sit down.’
Jack sharply at him. ‘I shouldn’t have given you two of those pills. You’re not acting much like my Ianto at all.’ Ianto didn’t respond, but continued patting his lap and smiling, head tilted to one side. Jack gave up with a sigh and settled himself in his boyfriend’s lap, feeling hands sloppily encase his torso in a hug. Ianto started rocking back and forth.
‘I feel like I’m levitating,’ Ianto announced. ‘Is that possible, Jack? Could I be levitating? Is that a thing now? Do I have to talk to Owen?’ Jack smiled and shook his head briefly.
‘Well, you are high as a kite, but I don’t think that’s a problem at the moment. At least one of us isn’t panicking.’
‘Oh, he’ll be fine, love. He’s related to you, bet he’s killed plenty of aliens in his time.’
Jack couldn’t hold back this his sharp laugh sounding like the bark of a dog. ‘Wow, baby, you really don’t remember why we’re here, do you?’
He could feel Ianto shaking his head behind him, sniffing his shirt collar along the way. Jack smiled, petting Ianto’s hands lovingly and keeping his peripheral vision on the electronic board that listed arrivals and departures.
‘Hi, are you…Captain Jack Harkness?’ Jack stood with the abrupt formality of an actual captain. The boy, long hair hanging in his face, stepped closer. ‘Sam Winchester,’ Sam gave Jack what Ianto thought was a rather blinding smile. In a moment of startling obscurity, Ianto wondered if it was possible to fall in love with someone’s teeth. ‘It’s so cool to finally meet you – I assume this is –‘
‘Your hair,’ Ianto stood shakily, hands reaching for Sam’s hair. Jack saw Sam’s restrained eye roll and wondered if he had children who often asked to play with his hair. He was good natured about it when Ianto first reached forward, but when he informed Sam ‘your hair needs a good washing, let me cut it for you,’ Jack slapped Ianto’s hands away. Ianto gave him the face of a kicked puppy dog, rubbing his pink hands together.
‘I take it Ianto doesn’t like flying, then?’
‘Ianto is slightly claustrophobic. It’s a bit of an occupational hazard when you only have six co-workers and they always seem to be dying on you.’
Jack expected Sam to be startled by this news, and maybe even for him to make an excuse to run away. Instead Sam nodded gravely in agreement, and turned to gesture toward the two men now stepping up beside him, the one in the trench coat leaning slightly on the one in the leather jacket. ‘This is my brother,’ Sam gestured to the leather jacket. ‘Dean. He’ll be joining you at the retreat this weekend with his…friend, Cas.’ Sam gestured to the man in the trench coat, a look of concern spreading on his face as his friend continually paled. ‘Sorry, Cas doesn’t travel well.’
Ianto walked up to Cas and placed his hands on Cas’s cheeks. ‘I sympathise entirely,’ Ianto said sincerely, nodding in an odd sort of pride at having found another sufferer of motion sickness. Jack dragged Ianto by the back of his vest until he was all but sitting in Jack’s chest.
‘So,’ Sam drawled, switching weight from one foot to another. ‘Are we waiting on more people, or?’
Jack looked at the arrivals board again to the see the plane he was waiting on had now been canceled. He heaved a heavy sigh, worries facing through his brain like the grand prix of anxiety attacks. ‘Yeah, let’s get going.’
Chapter 3: if I should die before I wake, it's 'cause you took my breath away
Chapter by xIrelandx
But how do you expect me
To live alone with just me?
Because my world revolves around you
And it's hard for me to breath with no air.
- 'No Air', Jordan Sparks
The day of John and Sherlock’s departure for the couples retreat, the rift between the two men grew so strenuous that every bone in John’s body was beginning to hurt and Lestrade felt the oncomings of a migraine. Sherlock was hungover and in pain, but he’d ignored every small gesture of kindness John had attempted, from the aspirin to the tea and even the offered pair of sunglasses.
Although Donovan had never been the nicest of people, she’d felt somewhat…bad about what had happened, what with Moriarty framing Sherlock and her actually believing it. She felt guilty from the moment of the suicide; Sherlock might have been mentally ill, but making fun of him wasn’t going to make things any better, it would just make them worse. She blamed herself in part of Sherlock’s jumping and still felt guilty even after realizing he’d faked his death. After hearing the harsh things John had said to Sherlock the other day, Donovan’s maternal side (the one she insisted she didn’t have but that her mother said would pop up at random one day and take control of her entire life) came out. Sherlock looked like a child who had been slapped for doing something relatively minor. In this case, for pointing out her boss was right in his thinking.
Donovan didn’t know what to say to Sherlock now. She was no longer going to call him freak, but just because she’d developed a sudden and awkward empathy for the man did not mean should could simply go around hugging him.
So Donovan hung back in the room Sherlock was pondering in, even after Lestrade and John had left. She didn’t even hear Sherlock ask to be left alone, she was so lost in her own mind, trying to find the perfect comforting words. Sherlock turned to her and said in a voice so soft it actually sounded like a frightened child, ‘You’re sorry?’
Sally looked up and nodded numbly. ‘About what John said yesterday. I, er, haven’t always been nice to you. Well, never really been nice to you. But what he said…’ She turned her head. ‘Look, this is going to be awkward for both of us, so I’m only going to say it once: I’m sorry.’ Sally could see the beginnings of a reply in Sherlock’s eyes. ‘No, please, just let me finish or I’ll never get it out. I saw the look no your face yesterday. You looked…human. You never let anybody see that side of you – no. Wait. John does.’ Sally stood up straight, looking Sherlock in the eyes without condescension. ‘What he said, he broke your trust. And I’m sorry. I was raised not to say things like that to people and I realize, the things I’ve said to you,’ she shook her head. ‘Well, my mother wouldn’t be pleased. And so. Er, I’m sorry. The least I can do is be nice to you. So. Yeah.’
‘I am sorry as well. These are my…condolences. John says I’m not very good with those. I never know quite what to say.’ Sherlock shifted awkwardly, although he continued to gaze intently at Sally. ‘Although I have to say I’m not sorry about your “break up” – that is what they say, correct? – with Anderson. You might be a bitch sometimes but you’re not stupid. I’m not sure how you stood him for as long as you do. Perhaps they ought to give you a medal.’
Sally snorted and shook her head. She could feel the warm affection from him and assumed this was what John usually felt. Not now, though…
‘Where is Anderson, anyway? I need to look at the evidence from this case, I have a theory.’
‘Don’t you always?’ she smirked. ‘And nobody really knows what happened to him. He hasn’t been to work in a few days, I’m not sure if it’s because he’s humiliated or just lazy.’
‘Very probably both.’
John didn’t like the idea of Sherlock ignoring him. He didn’t like the reality of Sherlock, God in Heaven, getting on well with Sergeant Sally Donovan. What he didn’t like the most, however, was the knowledge that in ten minutes time, he and Sherlock would be sitting in a cab for nearly an hour together, resolutely not speaking to one another because if Sherlock wasn’t going to talk to John, then John wasn’t going to talk to Sherlock.
And John was miserable.
Fortunately for John, Sherlock seemed just as miserable as he was. John hated to admit it how nice it fell to see Sherlock’s expression soften sadly upon getting the text that Victor Trevor would not, in fact, be meeting them for dinner. John wasn’t normally the type to feel possessive and least of all about his male flatmates, but the idea of having to witness Sherlock hanging all over Victor Trevor again made John angry, flustered, and nauseated. Like he’d been promised the world and handed a fishbowl.
All the cab ride over, Sherlock did exactly as John expected: he tapped away on his phone at God knows who, occasionally making snide and scoffing sounds at the scenery he could see out of his window, and jerking away at every brief touch from John. And even though John expected it, anticipated it, he still felt more depressed than he ever had in his life. He couldn’t even remember if living without Sherlock for three years had been as bad.
He guessed the answer was no. Sherlock’s faked suicide wasn’t his direct fault, although he had felt hopeless and guilty in the matter. During those three years he could still feel Sherlock with him, feel his touch and hear his words, could smell him in the flat when John knew – or perhaps just thought – he wasn’t there.
And in the end, when Sherlock came back to him, John was angry because he’d been lied to. He wasn’t important enough for Sherlock to tell. Some days he wondered why Sherlock came back at all when it was clear Sherlock didn’t need him. He would have voiced these ideas out loud, but they might have given Sherlock ideas John didn’t want him to have.
I should probably mention this during therapy, John thought to himself, as a particularly dramatic bump in the road sent Sherlock into his shoulder.
Sherlock and John arrived at the resort a day early at the bequest of Lestrade (and the rest of the Yard). John couldn’t say that he minded; the trip up had left him hopeful and determined to repair his friendship with Sherlock. But when they arrived at eight pm, Sherlock claimed he didn’t feel well and would go ahead to the room, insisting without even looking at John that he find something to eat in the meantime. John had nodded in agreement, too dumbstruck at Sherlock talking to him for the first time in nearly twenty-four hours to complain that Sherlock wasn’t even looking at him or acting odd.
John spent his time alone at dinner trying to find the right words to say to Sherlock to make everything alright again. He’d gotten so distracted he lost all track of time, and it was nearly midnight by the time he headed toward his and Sherlock’s room.
When John entered the room, he found that there was only one bed, and that Sherlock wasn’t lying on it. Instead he was passed out on the floor, arms splayed awkwardly as though he’d been attacked. John leaped to his side and shook his shoulder softly. ‘Sherlock! Sherlock, are you okay? Can you hear me?’
Sherlock snarled and sat up straight, slapping John’s hand away. ‘Yes, John, of course I can hear you. I was asleep.’
John blinked. ‘Why were you sleeping on the floor?’ Sherlock stood up in one smooth motion, so graceful and fluid-like that John wondered if he were dreaming. ‘Come on, Sherlock, get on the bed,’ John gestured. ‘There is enough room for both of us, so long as you don’t kick me.’
John looked up to find Sherlock glaring at him in disgust. ‘There’s no need to be nice, John. You’re only here because Lestrade forced you. Don’t feel forced to make nice with me. We live together and I know what you really think of me. I won’t make you sleep with me, god forbid somebody even get the smallest hint of such and question your precious heterosexuality.’
John felt as if he’d been slapped. ‘Wha – Sherlock, where is all of this coming from?’
John could handle the sneer that graced Sherlock’s face because he was used to seeing those, directed not only at him but more usually at other people. He couldn’t handle what lay behind it, though: that thin layer of vulnerability, the look of a kicked puppy. ‘Think, John,’ he bit out, pretending the tears he felt threatening to drop were drops of blood instead. ‘Think, have you used any homophobic slurs recently? Maybe directed them at somebody who was actually gay?’ John didn’t have time to respond before Sherlock slammed the door of their hotel room.
Chapter 4: now it's time to prove that you've come back here to rebuild
Chapter by xIrelandx
And if you call,
I will answer
And if you fall,
I'll pick you up
And if you court
This disaster, I'll point you home
- 'Call and Answer', Barenaked Ladies
Sam was standing on a landing that, in any other building, might have been a hallway. In Torchwood, it was more like the Catwalks in the theatres of the various high schools he and Dean had attended.
Dean and Cas had fallen almost immediately asleep on two cots Jack had set up for them in the sub-basement (the idea of a sub-basement alone made Sam snort; wasn’t Torchwood underground enough as it was?), although whether or not Cas was actually asleep Sam couldn’t tell. If he wasn’t, he was doing a good job of mimicking sleep. Ianto was in the office to Sam’s right massaging his temples and bitching at Jack (‘What did you give me? It feels like I ran my brain through a blender’), who was on the phone with the person whose plane didn’t arrive. Sam would say his manner was almost parental, but he really couldn’t imagine Jack as a parent, let alone one who cared or even worried.
Sam gazed up at the ceiling. Nothing should have the ability to surprise him anymore. He’d been to Hell and back, Dean had been to Hell and back and everyone had died a few dozen times. They had a guardian Angel, for Christ’s sake, who Fell, became God, ushered in the Leviathin, died, and came back broken, but Sam was still amazed at all the things he didn’t know about and hadn’t seen yet.
‘We have a pterodactyl, too.’ Jack was grinning in amusement at Sam’s wonder. Sam imagined he must look like a kid at his first trip to the planetarium. ‘We don’t let him out much, though. He tends to frighten some people.’ His gaze was now directed at Ianto, curled in the fetal position on the office floor.
‘You didn’t try to Retcon us by any chance, did you?’
‘No, it’s too expensive to even bother trying. I doubt it would work on you. Besides, we’re all over the internet now. That tends to happen to you when you save the world on a daily basis.’
‘Tell me about it.’
‘Have you ever looked at some of your own fansites?’ Jack was feigning horror on his face, but Sam could see through it to the excitement that lay underneath. ‘It’s funny what people think of you, how much they get wrong, how much they get right. And god, that art and those fics,’ Jack’s barking laugh made a loud reappearance. Ianto moaned, but Cas and Dean only stirred slightly, moving insignificantly closer to each other. ‘They give you ideas, don’t they?’
Sam smirked and shook his head. ‘Not really, I don’t really plan on sleeping with my brother.’ Jack giggled, covering his mouth with his right hand and crossing his chest with the other. ‘So, who was the guy you were on the phone with? The one whose flight got canceled?’
Jack sighed. ‘That’s my nephew, Vince. He hates it when I call him that, though. He’s not really my nephew, but he was so lonely and he needed a friend.’ He frowned. ‘He’s coming on this retreat with us. Ianto and I don’t really need it so much, but I don’t trust Vince’s boyfriend as far as I can throw him, and that’s not very far because that guy is much taller than I am.’
There were a few moments of amicable silence while Jack stared at his mobile. Then, softly, ‘What about your brother and his Angel? Why are they going?’
‘I’d say you wouldn’t believe it, but is there anything you wouldn’t believe? You’ve seen so much.’
‘I didn’t believe in Angels,’ Jack said seriously. ‘You become immortal and you watch everyone around you, everyone who’s important and everyone who’s insignificant, everyone you love and everyone you hate, you watch them die. After awhile you lose faith in everything good in the world. It’s nice, to be reminded that miracles can happen.’
‘I never thought of being immortal as a bad thing.’
‘Neither did I,’ Jack looked down on Dean and Cas’s sleeping forms. ‘And then it happened to me.’
‘Oh, there you are. I’ve been looking for you for ages.’ Sherlock didn’t bother turning to look at John, hoping his arched and pointy back would show off his hostility. If it did, then John ignored it. ‘Budge over,’ he demanded, propping himself at Sherlock’s side so that they were touching arse-to-arse.
‘You have your own bed to sleep in, you know,’ Sherlock reminded him coldly.
John touched his forearm gently, sliding his fingers up and down, like testing the surface temperature of water. Sherlock could feel John’s hands slightly shaking and knew that he had no idea what he was doing. ‘No, Sherlock, we have a bed we can sleep in, and if you won’t be sleeping with me then I’m not using it either.’
Sherlock wasn’t sure what to say to this and lay still as John lay down beside him. The position was uncomfortable due to Sherlock’s head being smushed into the couch, body trapped between the back of the couch and John’s body. ‘You didn’t look very hard for me, did you?’ he asked absently as John squirmed against him, short puffs of breath huffing against the back of Sherlock’s neck.
John paused and let his left hand drift to Sherlock’s left forearm, not pinning it in place but simply resting it. He’s trying to show me he’s comfortable around me, Sherlock realized. ‘I searched too hard for you, actually. I asked every attendant, bellhop, and visitor I could find and was about to demand to see all the tapes from the security cameras when I heard your distinctive gruff coming from the couch.’
Sherlock snorted. I don’t gruff. ‘And yes, you do too gruff.'
Sherlock lay silently still for another moment, adjusting to the not at all unpleasant warmth and pressure from John’s body, nearly drifting off before remembering to comment ‘You’re not forgiven. Not yet.’
John sighed, but the sadness and frustration was not, Sherlock could tell, directed at him but rather at John himself. ‘I know,’ Sherlock felt John say, lips just barely touching the back of his neck.
And, before he dozed off completely, a whisper: ‘I’m so sorry.’
Chapter 5: never thought I'd sit around and cry for your love
Chapter by xIrelandx
I never felt so lonely,
Then you came along
So now what should I do?
I'm strung out, addicted to you
My body aches now that you're gone
My supply fell through.
- 'You're Not Here', Mary Elizabeth McGlynn/Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill 3)
Mr Vincent Nigel-Murray was running full-tilt through the crowds at Heathrow airport, luggage cases in both hands and trying desperately to find the exits. He’d missed his ride yesterday and didn’t fancy having to deal with Nathan’s unhelpful sarcasm about his failed attempts to hail a cab. A rental car would have to do, although nothing would really do in Nathan’s eyes.
Vincent loved his boyfriend – well, maybe that’s a bit of a strong word, but nonetheless he had strong feelings about his boyfriend, he really did, but Nathan could be rather…impatient, unkind, tactless, and horrible. Really terribly horrible.
‘So where’s your ride?’ Vincent could hear the smugness in Nathan’s voice because it was the same condescending tone he used whenever Vincent spoke of Jack. He knew Nathan didn’t believe in Jack’s existence, and who would, really? An immortal man working in a super-secret Welsh organization who also happened to be able to travel through time? It really did sound like a fairytale, even when Vincent just thought it to himself. Like he’d never quite been able to shake his imaginary friend.
He could feel Nathan shake his head from where he was standing behind Vincent. Vincent closed his eyes, pupils facing skyward, and attempted to do the breathing exercises he’d been taught at work. Today was going to be a very long and very not-good day.
Few things in life were quite as awkward as waking up cuddling your male best friend when you yourself are a perfectly heterosexual man.
Except maybe you’re not so heterosexual, because something that is more embarrassing than waking up cuddling your male best friend is waking up from cuddling your male best friend do find that you have an erection so stiff even the idea of doing anything other than touching yourself for relief hurts, and your testicles are so tight you’re fairly certain you’re about to cum in your pants.
Also, you’re on a couch in the lobby of a hotel to work out your friendship issues with said friend you’ve been cuddling who you are certainly not dating. And you’re about to go into group couples therapy.
John estimated that he had maybe ten minutes, at the very most, to disengage himself from Sherlock before other people started showing up in the hallway and this looked even stranger than it already did. John attempted to slide his right arm out from under Sherlock’s body without his noticing, but although Sherlock was still asleep, the movement didn’t go without notice.
‘John,’ Sherlock sighed and turned over, moving up and over John’s arm and burrowing his nose into John’s neck. The sigh of contentment tickled John’s cheek and sparked an interest lower down his body. John prayed to god Sherlock awoke of his own accord and was too embarrassed or distracted to notice John’s erection, but instead of a hectic wake up Sherlock merely brought his right hand to caress John’s face, sighing his name again, fingers skating just overtop the fine hair on John’s chin, moving back and forth.
John clenched his hands into fists and Sherlock started to sidle closer to him. John, panicked, reacted poorly: he hooked his ankle with Sherlock and tossed the man over his body and onto the floor, and started cumming when his leg jerked down with Sherlock’s. John wasted no time dragging the blanket he’d brought with him around his waist. Sherlock sat up in confusion.
‘Oh my god, Sherlock!’ he feigned surprise, ‘We’re going to be late! We need to get dressed!’
John was glad that Sherlock was trudging behind him as opposed to next to or in front of him as he realized with no small amount of horror that he didn’t stop cumming until he was but a few feet away from their hotel door, and he really had no good excuse this time or way to explain what had just happened.
Today was going to be a very long and very not-good day.
Dr Lance Sweets observed the couples he was about to be counseling from the comfort of his chair. He didn’t bring a notebook because he had realized a long time ago that it made people nervous and more prone to lying. Either that or they decided he looked even more like a schoolboy than usual and were just going to use the not-quite-hour of therapy to mess with him. It didn’t matter to Sweets; one of the benefits of looking so young was that he always had time to watch his clients in their natural state before the awkward questioning began.
He decided it was time to start the session when a lank, pale man with black curls started up an argument with an American in a leather jacket. Sweets sighed. One of those types, then. Always needs to be right, control issues, insecurity. Wonderful.
‘Okay, guys,’ Sweets clapped his hands. Everyone ignored him, except a small man and quiet man in a vest and button-down, who was quietly sipping at his tea.
The man in question frowned at those around him, including the strapping American in suspenders that was his partner, and yelled ‘Oi! Shut it! The counselor’s ready to begin therapy!’ Sweets nodded with a slight smile. I expected much meeker than that. Maybe the brash American is doing him some good, after all.
‘Thank you…?’ Sweets gestured to the man, who smiled and nodded in reply.
‘Ianto Jones.’ The Brash American Boyfriend glared at Sweets. Flirtatious himself, but dislikes it in his partner. I suppose there’s always one hypocrite per group.
‘Thank you, Ianto Jones. My name is Dr Lance Sweets, and you may skip the jokes about my age. I am psychologist who works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America –‘ Lanky Curls snorted. Thinks he’s the most intelligent man in the room. But what a twist – he actually might be. ‘And am on sabbatical to study the inner-workings of relationships.’
Everyone stared, not saying anything or moving. Sweets tried to hide his Gulp of Terror and Anxiety. ‘Let’s get started, shall we? How about we all sit down next to our partners and begin intro-‘
‘I’m sorry I’m late!’ Sweets cold feel his eyes grow larger. He knew that voice. He rarely forgot a voice from work.
Vincent Nigel-Murray burst into the middle of the room, standing in the center of the circle of chairs around which the couples were now beginning to seat themselves. Vincent blushed harder tensed, before looking at Sweets in the front of the room. ‘Dr Sweets?’
‘Dr Murray, I didn’t know you would be joining us today.’
Vincent blushed. He had purposefully not told anyone at the Jeffersonian where he was going or why, though Dr Brennan expressed great concern about his impending absence.
‘Are you sure you’ve been alright? Your cheeks seem flushed and you appear to be sweating copious amounts. Have you become ill?’
‘Homesick,’ he confirmed through ground teeth. Ever since she had the baby Dr Brennan had become more caring and maternal toward her ‘squinterns.’ On the one hand it was nice; nobody felt like a failure anymore. On the other hand it was incredibly annoying because secrecy was now impossible.
‘I apologize for my partner’s annoying lateness, I’m always telling him we need to leave earlier.’ The man who entered the room was gorgeous, well-groomed, and looked absolutely nothing like a scientist.
Oh, sure, everyone at the Jeffersonian knew he was a scientist. He worked at Global Dynamics for a living, how could he not be? But that didn’t mean he looked like one, like the rest of the squinterns that Sweets had met: short and relatively stocky, quiet and calm, unassuming. No, Nathan Stark looked like an underwear model, and Sweets disliked him immediately on impact.
‘I’m sure Dr Murray did not intend to be late today.’
‘Please, call me Vincent.’
‘And please, call me Nathan,’ Nathan said in a mimicking tone. Vincent’s cheeks flushed in embarrassment. Short Army Blond, who was attending with Lanky Curls, was subconsciously flexing his fingers. Short temper, a dislike for the mistreatment of others. Hm. Veterinarian? Doctor?
‘Nathan,’ Sweets addressed coldly. ‘Please sit down with Vincent. We are about to begin introductions.’
Nathan inclined his head and took his seat. Sweets cleared his throat. ‘So, where should we begin? You, how about you?’
Vacant Burnett in Trenchcoat stood up, staring intently at Sweets. ‘My name is Castiel. This is my special friend –‘ He looked to the Leather Jacket, indicating that he stand up. He rolled his eyes, but stood anyway. Hidden affection, haven’t been lovers for long. Okay. ‘Dean Winchester. Dean and I share a most profound bond.’
Sweets smiled at Castiel. ‘Are you a poet, Castiel?’
Castiel’s brows furrowed in confusion. ‘No. I do not understand how this is relevant.’ Sweets shook his head and gestured to the couple next to them, Ianto Jones and Brash American.
‘Hullo, my name is Ianto, and this is my partner.’
‘Jack Harkness.’ Brash American – Jack Harkness – gave Ianto a loud smack on the bum, to which Ianto giggled and blushed and tried very hard to look scandalized about. ‘Captain Jack Harkness.’ Big ego, likes to be in positions of power. Not abusive with it though, obviously very affectionate with his partner. Sweets nodded so that the two could sit down and skipped over Vincent and Nathan, gesturing toward the last of the group: Lanky Curls and Short Army Blond.
Lanky Curls was the first to stand up, brushing imaginary dust off of his coat and straightening his jacket. ‘Hullo, my name is Sherlock Holmes. This is Doctor John Watson. For the sake of his fragile ego, I feel the need to inform you that he is not, in fact, gay, nor are we sleeping together. John prefers not to be in the same room as me if he can help it. He’s only here under extreme duress. Thank you.’ Sherlock Holmes sat back down, ignoring the sputtering glances John was throwing at him.
Jack and Ianto tittered. Sweets suppressed a sigh. Today was going to be a very long and very not-good day.
Chapter 6: if I lose everything in the fire, I'm sending all my love to you
Chapter by xIrelandx
With every breath that I am worth here on earth
I'm sending all my love to you
So if you dare to second guess
You can rest assured that all my love's for you
- Last Night on Earth, Green Day
‘So before we being our trust exercises, why don’t we start by identifying why we’re all here?’
‘Obviously, you’re here because it’s your job.’ Sweets glared at Dean.
‘Yes, Mr Winchester,’ Hm, he’s cringing. Daddy issues, then. ‘Thank you for that stunning observation. Why are you and Castiel attending.’
Dean stood up and began. ‘My brother forced us to come because Cas ditched us and –‘
‘Mr Winchester,’ Another cringe from Dean. ‘Why don’t you allow Castiel to speak for himself?’
Dean flinched, mouth still open. He closed it with a conscious effort, still fighting back retorts that came to mind, and nodded. He sat back down next to Cas and gestured for him to say his bit. Cas examined Dean before looking to Sweets. ‘I am attending with Dean at the bequest of his brother, Samuel.’ Dean snorted. ‘Samuel insists that Dean and I’s friendship has not been the same since we returned from Purgatory. The fact that I have nearly destroyed the world twice now, have died four times, and lost my mind may have something to do with this. I believe Samuel has perfectly just cause for his concerns about me, but I have not registered any change in Dean.’
Sweets blinked. ‘Purgatory, okay. And where is Purgatory?’
‘Not far from Hell,’ Cas said calmly. Sweets stared, trying to determine if Cas was speaking metaphorically or not. He wasn’t really sure if Castiel was capable of metaphors.
‘O-kay, now Dean. Why are you here?’
‘I’m here because Sammy’s a little bitch who thinks I should be crying in my Wheaties because I’ve had a tough life.’
Sweets frowned. ‘Please, Dean, refrain from swearing here. Now, Castiel said that you two were in Purgatory together. Why were you there, exactly?’
Sweets’ frown deepened at the dark look Dean gave Cas. The thing about Purgatory was a secret…but no, not from everybody, just from me. They don’t think I’ll understand. Interesting, I’ll have to bring that up later.
Dean looked back up and Sweets recomposed himself, giving no indication that he’d been studying the two of them. ‘Trust me, Dr Sweets, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.’
Sweets nodded. ‘Okay, I suppose that’s fair enough for now. How about…Oh, John and Sherlock, why don’t you go next?’ Sherlock’s entire figure tensed up, jaw clenching to for a straight line. ‘Please remember, Sherlock, to let John answer for himself this time. In fact, why don’t we let John go first?’
There was a moment of something akin to animosity that passed between them, as though an important decision still hadn’t been made and was stuck now in limbo. They stared at each other intently, not looking away from each other even as John began to speak.
‘I am here because Sherlock faked his death, left me for three years, didn’t bother to tell me where he was or what he was doing, and then came back one day as though nothing had happened.’ Sweets opened his mouth to ask them all to stop making fun of him – because really? Purgatory? A fake death? There was no way any of this was real, and he was used to getting fake answers from people who intended to make an ass of him because of his age; but John interrupted. ‘It was a suicide, actually. He faked a suicide and made me watch as he threw himself off of a building, and made his phone call to me his suicide note.’
Sweets was taking note of the way John’s hands were clenched again (He’s forming a fist, does he intend to hurt him? Has he hit Sherlock before?) when Sherlock spoke up. ‘I had to, John. You know that.’
‘Bullshit!’ John swore, standing up and turning to face Sherlock. (Sweets’ cry of ‘Please, stop swearing!’ went completely unheard.) ‘You told Molly, hell she helped you and half the time I don’t think you even know her name! If I meant so little to you, Sherlock, then why did you even bother coming back?’
Ianto coughed uncomfortably. Jack looked ready to join in if things got physical. Dean was trying to ignore anything was happening, and Cas was staring at Dean. It was beginning to get uncomfortable, but John didn’t turn around, didn’t even begin to flush at the ears.
Sherlock stood up again face, well, kissing distance from John’s, and without turning to look at Sweets, said in the most unaffected voice he could manage, ‘I am here because I am in love with John, and he hates me for leaving him to save his life.’
Sweets wasn’t sure what to say to any of that. John didn’t look surprised by the confession, Sherlock wasn’t embarrassed by saying it.
‘Well, now, that’s very interesting, I suppose. Is it Vincent and I’s turn now?’ Nathan stood up, looking at John and Sherlock’s intense stare in curiosity. John turned his head to glance at Nathan before sitting back down, Sherlock next to him. They’ve just had it out with each other, in public, but they’re still sitting close enough to touch. They don’t want the other leaving, but they’re also trying to keep each other at arm’s length. We’ll fix that.
Sweets nodded at Nathan. ‘Yes, please continue.’
Nathan nodded to Vincent, who stood up as well. ‘My name is Nathan Stark. I’m here because I’m an arrogant prick.’ There was a stifled snort from elsewhere in the room.
‘And I’m Vincent Nigel-Murray. I’m here because I have issues with standing up for myself.’
‘Jack Harkness, and I don’t know why I’m here.’ Jack chirped.
Ianto scoffed as he made to stand next to Jack. ‘You’re here because you flirt with anything that moves and keep lying to me.’ Jack looked at Ianto, offended, but did nothing to protest. When they sat back down, Jack threw an arm around Ianto’s chair. Signifying the discussion isn’t over. Not too tightly, though, not like Nathan. Jack doesn’t consider him property.
‘All right, I’m afraid we’re going to have to start with something horrible and clichéd. Has everyone done the exercise where you fall into another’s arms?’
By the time they broke for lunch, John was feeling absurdly uncomfortable and out of place. The only people taking any of the exercises seriously were himself, Nathan, and Vincent. Sherlock was nearly kicked out of the room several times for attempting to text (and eventually had his mobile taken away by Dr Sweets), Castiel kept asking irrelevant questions, Dean was having a hard time not laughing, and Ianto kept bickering with Jack, who attempted to turn everything into a sort of sexual innuendo and not being very clever about it. John also heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing that lunch was an arranged seating, and Sherlock would be sitting nowhere near him. Sherlock was in a foul mood and John had really no desire to discuss anything with him at the moment. Instead, he was sat across from Ianto, next to Vincent and diagonally from Castiel while Nathan, Jack, Sherlock and Dean were at a table of their own on the other side of the room.
‘So, John,’ Ianto began as he forked at his salad. ‘What is it you and Sherlock do for a living?’
Instead of answering the question with his typical It’s-A-Long-Story response, John accidentally snapped ‘I’m not gay!’
He got the feeling, from the look on Ianto’s face, that he’d said it far too loudly. John didn’t lift his eyes from his plate, knowing if he did Sherlock would catch his eye and start glaring at him all over again. He could already feel himself being watched. ‘Sorry,’ he placed his napkin in his lap. ‘Force of habit.’
Ianto shook his head, forth swinging back and forth in time. ‘No need to apologize, I understand completely.’
‘Yes,’ Ianto smirked at his salad, turning the full force of his entirely smug look on John as he brought another mouthful of forked salad up to his face again. ‘I’m not gay either.’
Castiel’s brow was furrowed in confusion at his own plate. ‘I do not understand what this means, gay. I understand how it is an orientation but I do not pretend to understand to know if I am one.’
Vincent blinked, tapping his fingers nervously before picking up his fork. ‘Sometimes you just know, mate. You’re in a relationship with a bloke, yeah?’
Castiel tilted his head further.
‘So if you’re not gay, then why are you here with Jack? I mean, aren’t you together? You just, I dunno,’ Open mouth, insert foot, he thought to himself. ‘You seem like you’re together.’
‘We are,’ Ianto interrupted stiffly. ‘But I’m not gay. It isn’t…men. It’s him. It’s just him. It’s not even women anymore. It’s just Jack. It’s always been Jack. It’ll always be Jack.’ John stared back at his lap uncomfortably and swallowed, wondering if the other table was feeling this awkward.
Nathan Stark was trying to be polite. He really, really was. It was just impossible, that’s all. ‘Seriously, what in the Hell is wrong with you people?’ Sherlock looked up from his phone for about a second, from where he was pretending to text, glared at Nathan, and went back to fiddling with his phone. Dean aimed (and missed) to kick him under the table, and Jack cracked his knuckles. ‘Why are you all even here? You seem perfectly normal – well, except you,’ he shot at Sherlock, ‘So what were you even dragged here for? Did you partners just force you into this?’
There was a slightly awkward silence and Dean shoved half of the loaf of bread in his mouth and Jack stabbed ineffectively at his salad. Without looking from his mobile, Sherlock droned ‘I’m here because my boss forced me to come. Apparently it is awkward to with John and I while we are…not getting along.’
‘Dude, it’s awkward to be in the same universe as you when you two aren’t getting along.’
‘Dude?’ Sherlock snorted. ‘How old are you?’
‘Hey!’ some pieces of bread flew across the table and landed on Nathan’s plate. Nathan didn’t notice and nobody else pointed it out. ‘I’ve got a hard life, saving the world and crap. What’s your excuse?’
Sherlock’s mouth thinned into the typical grimace he reserved for Anderson or, on a bad day, Lestrade. ‘I’m the world’s only consulting detective. Taking care of –‘ Sherlock’s eyes scanned his phone. John would have noticed that he wasn’t really saying anything, just pretending that he did. ‘Feelings. Feelings, Dean. They are not my area.’
‘And what’s your excuse, Captain Jack?’
‘None of your goddamn business, that’s what, Nathan Stark.’
There was a collective awkward silence throughout the cafeteria. Sherlock looked over to John’s table with some sadness, knowing ahead of time that John would not be attempting to meet his gaze. Sherlock was not looking forward to the rest of the weekend at all.
Chapter 7: you never need to doubt it, I'll make you so sure about it
Chapter by xIrelandx
If you should ever leave me,
Though life would still go on, believe me,
The world could show nothing to me,
So what good would living do me?
God only knows what I'd be without you.
- 'God Only Knows', the Beach Boys
Big chapter coming at you, guys! Next chapter will probably be some Johnlock smut (maybe a tad of Destiel smut, not quite sure), so the rating might go up again. I may also make the Johnlock section a chapter of its own so you can skip ahead of it if that's not quite your thing, but it all sort of depends on reader reaction.
Also let me know if you'd like me to post YouTube URLs to the songs referenced in the titles...I'm sort of a humongous music dork, as any of you who have read my past stuff will know.
‘So, John, Sherlock, I’m sure you know why I asked to speak with the two of you first.’ John and Sherlock both shook their heads. ‘No? Okay then. Can I be perfectly honest with you?’ Both nodded. ‘You two have more problems with your relationship than the entire group put together, and then some.’
John snorted and turned his head to the side, lightly biting a knuckle in disbelief. Sherlock didn’t move.
‘I think that’s – are you sure?’
‘Yes, Doctor Watson. Entirely sure. I’ve even heard that you’re distracting the other group members –‘
‘Boring.’ Sherlock was sitting on the opposite end of the couch, legs crossed and head resting on his chin, staring off into space.
‘Is that how you feel about your own emotions as well, Mr Holmes?’ Sherlock looked up. ‘Is that why you could only tell John how you felt about him during group? Is telling him without all the-‘ Sweets flicked his hand, trying to find the correct word, ‘drama of having an audience?’
‘What makes you think I haven’t told John that in private?’
‘Have you?’ Sherlock glanced at John. John didn’t turn away.
‘What about Doctor Watson’s feelings, Sherlock? Are they boring too?’
‘No.’ The answer was so immediate it almost cut Sweets off. The next part, while still definite, was much softer. ‘Nothing about John is boring.’
Sweets straightened his jacket (nervous habit) and leaned forward. ‘Do you have an idea as to why that is?’ Sherlock grumbled incoherently. Sweets ignored him. ‘Is it maybe because you care about Doctor Watson?’
‘Sherlock doesn’t care about anybody, Doctor Sweets.’ His knuckles are white again, but he’s calm. So this is a frequent cause for argument.
‘And why would you say that, John?’ John sighed and shook his head, turning it so he didn’t have to look Sweets in the eyes. ‘I believe you said something about Sherlock faking his death?’ John still didn’t respond, but there was a noticeable change in Sherlock’s overall demeanour and posture.
‘I faked my death nearly a year ago. John hasn’t quite gotten over it yet.’
‘Sherlock,’ Sherlock turned to look at Sweets this time, eyes deep with some unfathomable sadness. ‘How would you feel, if you were in John’s shoes?’
Sherlock looked away from Sweets. He tried to sigh disgruntledly, but it came out more as a Hopeless Gasp of Despair. ‘That’s too painful to think about,’ he said to the window.
‘If it’s too painful for you, Sherlock, then how do you think I feel?’ John had spoken up, but still wasn’t facing Sherlock. He was now looking at the feet of Sweet’s chair, trying to blink tears out of his eyes.
‘The doctor just asked us that, John,’ he responded softly.
‘I don’t care!’ Sweets wasn’t sure how John was still seated, with the amount of anger emanating off of him. John did finally look to Sherlock though, no longer trying to hide the tears on his face. ‘Tell me, Sherlock, how you would have felt if you were me. Because I almost did it, Sherlock.’ Sherlock made another exaggerated Hopeless Gasp of Despair and finally faced his friend. ‘It was pills. So many times, Sherlock, you have no idea. I didn’t even want to live without you, Sherlock. I didn’t think I could. And then you came back and I just…’
John rested his head against the couch, fingers still grabbing at the couch. He was trying to breath but was being stopped by the usual disgusting mixtures dripping in his nose and clogging up his throat.
Luckily, Sweets had trained himself not to become distracted by these things, and took this moment to turn to Sherlock. ‘What would you have done, Sherlock, if John had been the one to jump off of the building?’
‘I’d have followed him.’
Sweets nodded and rubbed his hands together. ‘Why did you fake your death? Or, more importantly, why didn’t you tell John where you were or what you were doing?’
John had steadied his breathing again, and was staring at Sherlock with a most intense look, and Sweets felt uncomfortable simply being in the room. ‘I was told that Moriarty would kill the people in my life that meant the most to me, that he had assassins pointing guns at Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, and our Doctor John Watson, and that they all would die if I didn’t jump.’
‘And you didn’t tell John –‘
‘Because I couldn’t take that risk. I couldn’t risk it. If John’s acting skills were anything less than – what are those stupid American awards?’
‘If John’s acting skills were anything less than Oscar-worthy, they would have known and in an instant, he would have been dead.’
John’s hands tightened their grasp. Sweets heard knuckles crack. ‘And what about you and your acting skills? Your crying, was any of that real?’
‘All of it. I didn’t want to leave you. I was afraid that I’d come back and you’d never forgive me, that I’d come back and you’d have moved on, gotten married, completely forgotten about me.’
‘You know I can’t do that, Sherlock.’
‘No I don’t know that!’ Sherlock had stood up again, but this time Sweets didn’t think he had any control over it; that it was more of an emotional reaction than stylized choice.
‘Sherlock, please sit down again.’ Sherlock nodded, eyes wide. Clearly he’d forgotten Sweets was even in the room, and in the surprise of it all seemed to have forgotten what he was about to say. ‘You said you didn’t know that John couldn’t forget about you. What makes you mistrust him so much?’
Sherlock swallowed. ‘For one, he’s always thinking about all of the things he can’t do because he lives with me. Things normal - ‘he said the word with such disdain ‘people do. Dating, getting married, holding down a steady job. He’s never said anything about it because he’s afraid it’ll hurt my feelings. As though acting like those thoughts didn’t exist and I couldn’t read them hurt any less,’ he told the ground bitterly.
There was something else he was hiding, keeping it in physically by chewing on his lower lip. ‘What else, Sherlock?’ He looked up again and let out a small huh sound, closing his eyes. ‘Just tell me, Sherlock. You don’t even have to look at John, if that thought makes you uncomfortable.’
Sherlock nodded. ‘We were on a case…’round two months ago. We were being chased by a couple of criminals. They didn’t get a good look at our faces though, and to distract them, uhm. John. He, uhm. John,’ Sherlock huffed out another breath and looked Sweets in the eye with startling clarity for someone so obviously struggling. ‘John kissed me.’
‘Oh.’ Sweets tried – he really did – to sound shocked.
‘And then when they passed the corner where we were…ah…snogging, and he shoved me away and has been avoiding being in the same room as me ever since. He’s afraid I might say something, as I have no sense of social decorum. I do know when I’m not wanted, though. The only thing I don’t know is why he bothers staying.’
‘Thank you for sharing, Sherlock.’ Sweets turned to John, who was still staring, distressed, at Sherlock. ‘Now, Doctor Watson, are you very embarrassed about your relationship with Sherlock?’
‘What? No – Doctor Sweets, we don’t have a relationship! I’m not gay!’
‘Yes, so I’ve heard you say several times this weekend.’ Sweets leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs, folding his hands in his lap. ‘You’re very protective of your heterosexuality. Is there a reason for that?’ John blushed. ‘Normally when someone is that protective of their sexuality, that defensive of it, they’re hiding something. Are you hiding something, Doctor Watson?’ Again, there was no response.
The three sat in uncomfortable silence, with Sherlock looking at the floor and John looking at Sherlock and Sweets looking at them both. John finally spoke up. ‘I know that I don’t want to leave, and I don’t want Sherlock to leave. But I’ve never been attracted to a man,’ John took a steadying breath, ‘before. Only women. I’ve just been attracted to women.’
‘As a doctor, you know that sex is not necessarily connected to love. There are several people – homoromantic heterosexuals, for example – who feel sexual attraction to one sex and romantic attraction to the other. There are some people who never experience romantic attraction and some people – I believe Sherlock is one of them, correct? – who never, or at least very rarely, experience sexual attraction.’
Sherlock nodded. ‘I have had sex before, but it is…not appealing. Not interesting.’
Sweets nodded in return. ‘How about you, Doctor Watson. How much sex have you had?’ John blushed and mumbled something at the ground. ‘I’m sorry, Doctor Watson, could you speak up please?’
‘I said, not nearly as much as others seem to think I’ve had.’
‘And how often do you experience sexual attraction?’
‘I don’t –‘ John squirmed. ‘I don’t really know. I suppose – I mean, I find people aesthetically pleasing, but – Not often,’ he sighed. ‘Really only with people I know well, have known for a while.
‘Okay,’ Sweets rubbed his hands together, leaning forward again. ‘And how big a factor is gender for you?’
Sherlock was now looking at John too. John rubbed his face. ‘I don’t know.’ Sherlock’s mouth opened slightly. For someone who reads others so easily, he really can’t read himself or the people he should know best.
‘I want the two of you to spend the rest of the day getting to know each other.’ Both Sherlock and John stared at Sweets in blank confusion. ‘There is more than one different kind of love. So, and I know this is going to sound weird to you, I want you to make love to each other – and I don’t mean sex, I mean showing each other that you do love each other, whatever kind of love that is. You can deny it all you like, and men often do, but you do love one another, even if it’s only as friends.
On your way out, could you please call Dean and Castiel in? They’re not supposed to be next but I know we’ve all heard them screaming at each other.’
‘So I thought Captain Jack and his buddy Tonto were next. Why are we in here?’
Castiel’s brow re-furrowed. Sweets didn’t know why he ever bothered to un-furrow it, when he always seemed to be in a permanent state of confusion. ‘Dean, I believe the man’s name is Ianto, not Tonto.’
‘I know that, Cas, it was a joke. You know, a reference.’
Castiel’s brow un-forrowed again, but he frowned. ‘I don’t understand that reference.’
‘And that’s not news.’
Done with their argument, both Castiel and Dean turned to face Sweets. Sweets looked ready for battle, with a notepad in his lap, several pens on the coffee table in front of the couch where Dean and Castiel sat, and a strong cup of coffee on the ground to his right. ‘Are you ready to start?’
‘Ready whenever you are.’ Dean was bouncing up and down in his seat, reminding Sweets of Daisy, in a way. His heart thudded uncomfortably as it fell.
‘Alright. So, Castiel, you said that yourself and Dean have spent the last few months in a place called Purgatory, is that correct?’
Castiel nodded. ‘It is a real place, Doctor Sweets, I assure you. I will pray that you never have to visit. It is most unpleasant.’
‘Ditto,’ said Dean. ‘Especially that smell, it’s simply awful.’
Sweets nodded. ‘Dean has no trouble trying to see the humour in things, so I’m going to have him not be talking during this session. Is that okay, Castiel?’
‘What?’ Dean nearly fell onto his knees. ‘What do you mean I don’t get to talk? I have to sit here and listen to what you guys say about me and I can’t even defend myself?’
‘Actually,’ Sweets corrected, ‘I don’t think you have any problems relating to each other. Your communication seems fine. What I’m more worried about is your lack of ability to express yourselves. Castiel seems to take everything too seriously, and you don’t seem to take anything seriously enough.’
‘That is just completely untrue, right, Cas?’
Castiel shifted uncomfortably. ‘I am afraid I must agree with Doctor Sweets. You seem to always be joking, so often I am not always clear as to whether or not I am meant to laugh.’
‘Oh,’ Dean rested a hand on Cas’s arm. Cas stared at it in something that seemed to be awe. ‘For you, Cassie? Always.’
The smile was almost sickening, and it was now Sweets’ turn to shift uncomfortably. ‘Okay, Dean, I am going to ask you to draw a realistic picture of Purgatory. Now, I assume you mean the Catholic belief in a sort of limbo where you stay until God comes to judge the living and the dead?’
Dean, completely struck, asked now how the hell did you know that? at the same time that Castiel said well, not entirely, but that is a good approximation, yes.
‘I have studied Catholicism before. Catholics have a special kind of guilt they carry with them everywhere, so knowing the religious doctrine has come in handy from time to time.’
‘But you’re not supposed to believe in Purgatory!’ Dean shouted. ‘You’re supposed to think we’re crazy and kick us our or something! We’re supposed to make you believe!’
Sweets shrugged. ‘I’m not saying that I believe you or that I don’t believe you, only that I have never been to Purgatory and, no offense, don’t really intend to be there, so I want you to draw me a picture of it. Be as detailed as possible.’ Dean opened his mouth to protest again, but Sweets gave him a special Shut Your Mouth Before I Shut It For You glare, and Dean took the advice and shut his mouth.
Sweets turned to Castiel. ‘So, Castiel, what’s your father like?’
Castiel squirmed again. ‘He is all-knowing, all-seeing. In a word, omniscient.’
‘You could say that.’
‘Is he, or was he, strict?’
Castiel paused, as though looking for words that would neither be too light nor too offensive. ‘My Father is a very strict man, but also very loving.’ Dean snorted.
‘Have you met his father, Dean?’
‘Yeah, and I’ve yet to see the loving side of him.’
Sweets nodded, turning his attention back to Castiel. ‘Does your father not approve of Dean, or of your relationship with him?’
‘My Father very greatly approves of Dean, but is very frustrated by him. He also, I think, does not approve of the nature of my relationship with Dean. He is very disappointed in me, for I have let Him down.’
‘Do you often feel as though you’ve disappointed your father?’ Castiel nodded, looking forlorn at the ground. He shifted his gaze to over Dean’s shoulder, watching him draw with the fascination of a child who has never before seen crayons.
The rest of the therapy session continued in much the same way, with Castiel watching Dean draw and Sweets watching Castiel watch, occasionally asking yes-or-no questions and writing observations on his notepad. When Dean was finished, Castiel stood up, one hand on Dean’s shoulder. Dean didn’t stand up, but looked at Cas. Sweets uncrossed his legs and made to stand as well.
‘Right. For the rest of the day, and for tomorrow, I want the two of you to change roles.’
The two looked at Sweets in perfect time with one another, both blinking back confused glares. Castiel was the first to break the silence, with ‘But Doctor Sweets, Dean is not an Angel of the Lord, he cannot take my place.’
Sweets pondered on Castiel’s obscure statement for only a moment before shaking his head, deciding what he meant didn’t matter. ‘I didn’t mean literally, Castiel. I meant the roles in your relationship. You, for example, are very comfortable with showing Dean what he means to you, while Dean is very comfortable with saying it. Neither of you is comfortable with the reverse – Dean hasn’t really shown you how he feels, and you haven’t really told him how you feel. So I want the two of you to change the way you communicate, and see where that gets you.
And on your way out, I would appreciate it if you called Jack and Ianto in here.’
Jack was, in Sweets’ opinion, far too happy for somebody attending couple’s therapy. Dean had seemed happy, but that was in a more fake way, like a coping mechanism. Dean liked to make jokes of things because that’s how he survived from day to day. Captain Jack Harkness – if he really was a Captain at all – just seemed…
Jack reached out and slapped, then squeezed, Ianto’s bum.
Lewd. Lewd was the word Sweets was looking for. Jack didn’t seem capable of taking life seriously. Sweets observed the way Jack threw himself all over the place – he launched himself into conversations, onto furniture, off of furniture, into activities, off onto rants. He imagined his relationships were much like that as well, and Ianto didn’t seem at all pleased by Jack’s groping. He slapped Jack’s hands away, and Jack brought out the Wounded Puppy Pout.
‘Jack, Ianto, how are you doing today?’
‘I’m fine, thank you,’ Jack said with a leer. Ianto ignored the question and looked at the dirt under his fingernails.
‘So Jack, how often do you cheat on your partners in relationships?’
Ianto looked up with a smug smirk and Jack blanched. ‘What? Never! I don’t cheat –‘
‘Oh for the love of God, Jack, you’ve been lying to yourself for who knows how long, you’ve been trying needlessly to lie to me, don’t even bother lying to the therapist. Even if he doesn’t see through you, you know Sherlock will.’
‘Oh, are we interested in Sherlock now?’
Ianto glared. ‘Seriously, Jack? Insecurity from you? Stop changing the subject.’
‘How many times have you cheated on a partner, Ianto?’
‘Once,’ he snapped. ‘An emotional affair. With you. And then you run off with the bloody Doctor and you flirt with everything that moves, sometimes I don’t know why I stay with you –‘
‘Why do you?’ Both Jack and Ianto turned their heads to look at Sweets. ‘You must know the answer, Ianto, you’re still here. Why do you stay with Jack, if you don’t like the way he treats you?’
Ianto pursed his lips. ‘Because like it or not, I do love him. I can’t even look at other people anymore – not women and certainly not men. It’s just Jack. That’s all I see.’
Jack smiled sweetly and leaned over to his boyfriend. ‘Oh, baby, that’s so sweet –‘
‘Don’t touch me.’ Ianto pushed Jack’s face away, frowning. ‘I’m still mad at you, running off all over the place. It’s like you don’t even care about me.’
‘You know that’s not true Ianto, I care about you very much.’
Ianto grimaced and looked away from Jack, back at Sweets. ‘You see what he did there? He can’t say he loves me, and I know it’s because he doesn’t.’
‘What?’ Jack’s voice pitch rose several octaves. ‘I never said that – and for the record, Ianto, you never asked!’
‘He shouldn’t have to,’ Sweets broke in. Jack was glaring again, fists balling up. Unlike with John, Sweets wasn’t entirely sure Jack wouldn’t hit him. ‘If you love Ianto, you shouldn’t have issues telling him how you feel. You two are actually in a romantic relationship, you’ve already done the hard part of getting together. You have to concentrate on staying together. Theoretically, it shouldn’t be that hard.’
Jack looked at Sweets and then back at Ianto, who was back to looking at the dirt under his fingernails. Instead of answering Sweets, Jack stood up and stormed out.
Ianto sighed, dusting off his pant legs before standing up as well. Sweets rose with him, settling a hand on Ianto’s shoulder. ‘Ianto, I think you know what I’m about to say.’
Ianto nodded, smiling sadly. ‘This isn’t a healthy relationship. I shouldn’t be in it.’
Sweets nodded, frowning. ‘You deserve someone who loves you as much as you love them. If Jack doesn’t return your feelings, then he doesn’t deserve you.’
Ianto patted Sweets’ hand and left, door swinging shut with a soft thud.
Chapter 8: take it, take it all, take all that I have, I'd give it all away just to get you back
So you say 'go, it isn't working'
And I say 'no, it isn't perfect
So I'll stay instead'
I'm never gonna leave this bed.
- 'Never Gonna Leave This Bed', Maroon 5
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
John and Sherlock were silent as they walked from Sweets’ office (well, Room of Therapy, really, as they were all still in the hotel/resort/thing). They didn’t speak as they entered their room, stripped out of their street clothes and into their night clothes, and turned the lights off. John climbed into the bed and settled down, but Sherlock stood by the wall, staring awkwardly at him.
‘This is going to be a very long and awkward night, Sherlock, if you don’t just come over and hug me.’ His tone was joking but his body remained straight and stiff. He couldn’t relax his tense muscles.
Sherlock shook his head. ‘Look, John, I don’t want to do this. If you want to leave, then you can leave. I won’t make you stay’
‘If I wanted to leave, then Sherlock, I would have left a very long time ago. Clearly I want to be here, or I wouldn’t have come on this stupid couples retreat thing anyway.’ John patted the space next to where he lay. ‘Now come over here and lie down with me.’
Sherlock pouted, walking slowly over to the bed. He sat on it, tentatively, feeling the springiness of the mattress beneath the sheets. John took a pinch of fabric from Sherlock’s shirt and used it to tug the man down, so he was laying with his back to John’s front. Sherlock turned until he was facing John, still frowning. They stared at each other for a few minutes more, Sherlock nervously twirling the sheets between his pointer finger and thumb.
John covered Sherlock’s hand with his own. ‘Knock it off, yeah? You’re starting to make me anxious.’
‘Why aren’t you anxious?’
John shrugged, rubbing his thumb over Sherlock’s knuckles. Breathing in and out, evenly. The very thought made Sherlock even more nervous, because Sweets was correct in his assumption that Sherlock couldn’t read John. ‘It’s you,’ he breathed quietly. ‘Why should I be afraid?’
Sherlock was trembling, but he didn’t know if it was due to excess caffeine, anger or anxiety. He dragged his hand away, tangling it in his hair and pulling at his head from all angles. John tried to stop him, trying to curl his arms around Sherlock until they were hugging, but Sherlock kicked John in the stomach and nearly shoved him off the bed.
‘Jesus, Christ, what was that for?’
Sherlock glared at him from where he lay at the farthest corner at the bed, hands still tangled in his hair. ‘You’re just – you’re not supposed to be comfortable with this idea! You’re supposed to be angry at me for getting us into this situation in the first place, angry at the therapist for giving us this stupid exercise, becoming all defensive and then just – just leaving me, John. Isn’t that what this is all boiling down to or up to or wherever to?’
John stood up abruptly and turned on heel, back and arms straight, his hands at his sides balled up into fists. ‘No, Sherlock, that is not where all of this is going. We’re supposed to get over our respective problems with each other and then go home. Kiss and make up, as it were.’
Sherlock shook his head, tears falling down against his will. He felt John kneel back on the bed and climb over to him. John caressed Sherlock’s face softly, rubbing the tears over his cheeks with one thumb. ‘What is it you want from me, Sherlock?’
‘I don’t know,’ Sherlock whispered. ‘This wasn’t supposed to happen. You were meant to leave, just like everybody else.’
‘What do you mean?’ Sherlock sighed, shaking his head lightly. He was still trembling. ‘What about Victor, Sherlock?’ John tried to keep his hands from tightening at the idea of the man.
Sherlock opened his eyes to look at John. John didn’t think he’d ever seen something so pathetic in his life. ‘If I didn’t know better, John, I’d think you were jealous. Victor is just a friend.’
‘But that night, when you were drunk – before you passed out, you said –‘
‘I told Victor not to tell you that I was in love with you.’ Sherlock spoke with all the gravity of a falling building. John had the ominous feeling of change. He wasn’t entirely sure if he was ready for it yet. ‘That’s why I got drunk. You said those things and…it’s one thing to know how empty my life will be, but it is quite another to hear it.
That’s why I don’t want you to touch me. I don’t want you to lay down next to me because I know it doesn’t mean anything to you, but it does to me and I can’t handle it. I don’t want to. It’s too new for me and I’d rather not get used to it if I can at all help it. I know you’ll be gone one day.’
John sighed again. ‘I never said that, Sherlock. You’ve just decided that on your own.’
‘Why would you stay? I see the way women look at you. You have no reason to choose me over them.’
John backed off and sat back up, his back touching the headboard of the bed. Sherlock opened his eyes and leaned up on his left arm, blinking back tears and looking, without seeing, in John’s direction. ‘I know why I might stay.’ He had the smallest and saddest smile gracing his face. Sherlock tilted his head, an invitation for the answer. ‘I’m in love with you, Sherlock.’ He laughed bitterly to himself. ‘I tried not to, I knew it was happening and I didn’t want to, and then you left and…God, but I love you, so much. I was such a mess when you left. There were days when I wanted to kill myself. I just wanted to see you again, so badly.’
Sherlock was sitting up straight now, legs crossed, but still shaking his head. ‘No, John, that can’t be right. You don’t love me.’
‘You have to stop doing that, Sherlock. You have to stop telling me what I do and do not feel. I know my own feelings better than you do, and I love you.’ Sherlock closed his eyes and opened them up again, quickly. ‘If you’re hoping to blink me away, Sherlock, I can tell you now that won’t work.’ John crawled up to Sherlock again, placing his hands on Sherlock’s knees. ‘If you wanted me to stay, Sherlock, all you had to do was ask, and I would have stayed.’
‘But you’re – you’re so protective of your heterosexuality. You are straight as an arrow, you don’t like men.’
‘There’s something Ianto said…’ John curled his hands around Sherlock’s shoulders, bringing him into an extremely close hug. Sherlock could smell John’s natural scent, something very musky that he couldn’t be bothered to catalogue or describe as anything other than John. ‘He said to me, that he wasn’t gay and it wasn’t men – or even women, not anymore. It was just Jack. It’s the same in me, for you. I don’t like men, I don’t even like women anymore. I love you, and just you. There isn’t ever going to be anyone else.’ Sherlock was still crying and shaking in John’s arms as John pressed soft kisses into his neck, just barely brushing his mouth to Sherlock’s neck before puckering his lips softly.
‘I’m…sorry if I don’t make this transition gracefully. I’m not used to the idea yet.’
‘How do you think I feel?’ Sherlock had intended for it to be a snap, but it came out more as a sob. He wiped his wrists and hands all over his face, trying to dispel the feeling of slime that always overcame him whenever something like this happened. He hated crying.
John still held him closely with one arm around his back, the other hand petting his head. ‘What do you mean? I thought you already knew you were gay?’
‘I’m asexual, John. I normally hate sex and romance, but I’m always just so sentimental around you, and I –‘ Sherlock snorted at himself. ‘You’re the first person I’ve ever wanted to – the only person I’ve ever really been comfortable with…the possibility of…’ Sherlock blushed, unable to finish his sentence.
John kissed Sherlock’s cheek, letting his eyelashes tickle the corner of Sherlock’s face. ‘Shh, Sherlock. It’s fine. It’s all fine.’
Sherlock sniffled once more and stopped, pulling away so that he could look in John’s eyes. He put his hands on either side of John’s face and leaned in, so that their foreheads were touching. He closed his eyes, and he kissed John.
It started off about as awkward as all first kisses do. He was just resting his lips on John’s, not applying nearly enough pressure. And then there was too much pressure, too much teeth, and John was laughing and Sherlock was not, only getting more and more frustrated.
‘Why don’t you let me lead for once?’ John asked, and so Sherlock did just that.
He lay on his back on the bed, looking up at John hovering over him. He expected John to be wearing the cheekiest smile he could manage, but instead he was dumbstruck, looking almost…love struck, but Sherlock didn’t want to put too much thought into it, in case it didn’t last or wasn’t successful.
‘Stop thinking,’ John whispered into his ear, tugging Sherlock’s ear softly with his teeth. Sherlock closed his eyes again and breathed softly in, softly out.
And then John started kissing him again, and everything in and about Sherlock felt light, like everything was floating because the laws of gravity simply ceased to work. He felt light headed and was glad for no immediate reason to stand up. John licked at Sherlock’s upper lip and Sherlock gasped, grabbing John’s upper lip between both of his own.
John smiled against Sherlock’s lips, re-tangling his right hand in Sherlock’s curls. He bit at Sherlock’s lower lip and kissed it for good measure, sucking it into his mouth.
Sherlock carded his hands through John’s hair, feeling the fine hairs on his face. He lifted John’s shirt, attempting to drag it over his head to feel the hair on John’s chest. John let Sherlock drag the shirt off of him and lowered himself further onto Sherlock, almost lying on top of him. Sherlock felt his breath leave as he was surrounded by the warmth of John’s body
When Sherlock made to remove John’s sleeping trousers, John pushed Sherlock’s hands away and shook his head. ‘No, Sherlock. You don’t have to do that. We’re –‘ he nipped lightly at Sherlock’s cheek, dropped a kiss near the corner of his eye, ‘getting to know each other.’
‘But John –‘
‘Sherlock, I said,’ John was now sitting back on his heels, looking seriously at Sherlock. Sherlock was slightly surprised that John didn’t have his hands on his hips. ‘You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to do anything. If you want me to stay, just ask, and I will stay.
Of course,’ John continued, pressing kisses on to Sherlock’s neck again, ‘You don’t have to ask anymore. Now you’re just stuck with me.’
‘John,’ Sherlock moaned, and John felt it go straight to his trousers. He felt awful about it, telling his dick over and over again No, Sherlock is asexual, we are not going to touch him like that. ‘John,’ he moaned again. ‘John, I want to do this.’
John kissed back up Sherlock’s cheek as the thought set in. John pulled away, looking skeptically down at Sherlock. ‘Are you sure? I thought you said that you didn’t like sex?’
‘That’s what makes you so…’ Sherlock ground his hips into John’s and let out a stuttering, blood-boiling whine. ‘Special. John. You’re the only one I’ve ever really wanted to do this with. And it isn’t the sex, John,’ he said when John opened his mouth to argue, ‘It’s the intimacy. It’s the being close to you and being…one with you, for lack of a better term.’ Sherlock rubbed his crotch against John’s again, and John could feel that Sherlock was wet, leaking at the tip and through his sleeping trousers. John opened his mouth in a gasp, taking both of Sherlock’s lips into his own, and exhaling inside Sherlock’s mouth at his release.
John nodded with his forehead touching Sherlock’s. He lifted Sherlock’s hips up carefully, sliding the sleeping trousers off of him and kissing his collarbone, left exposed by Sherlock’s lack of a shirt. Sherlock reached for John’s trousers, awkwardly working them off with one hand while the other rested on John’s cheek, kissing and tonguing his lips. In his effort to ride John of his sleeping trousers he also rid John of his pants.
Sherlock didn’t look, merely positioned himself correctly, relieving himself of his own pants (and noticing vaguely on the way that they were stained with pre-cum), and lifted his hips slightly upward so that John’s cock settled near his hole.
John gasped, his forehead once more against Sherlock’s, sliding against one another with their combined sweat. ‘Sherlock, wait. I don’t want to hurt you. We aren't going to rush things, and we need to be safe.’
Sherlock shook his head. ‘I know I don’t have any diseases, as I’ve been checked. I only care for how much it hurts about the amount for how much it will be pleasurable – I don’t. The only part of sex I really, really want and care about, is being with you. It’s the intimacy, John. I told you that.’
John nodded, and nuzzled Sherlock's neck. 'Okay.' Nuzzling turned into kisses and John smiled as he breathed deeply. ‘You smell so good.’
‘Pheremones. Your brain is releasing bonding chemicals-‘
‘That’s right,’ John huffed, ‘and thank God for them! Now shush and let me love you.’
‘Oh,’ Sherlock’s voice wavered a bit, ‘Alright.’
John sucked lightly on Sherlock’s neck, tonguing his pulse. He trailed his hands across Sherlock’s shoulders and down his arms, smiling when Sherlock’s fingers tightened on his. John moved down Sherlock’s body, gently stroking and kissing. When John’s mouth closed on his nipple, Sherlock groaned deep in his throat and brought his hands up to John’s back, arching into the touch and holding him tightly. ‘That feels…’
‘Amazing?’ John said with a smile.
‘Mmm. Brilliant’ he replied, rutting long and slow against his doctor.
John pressed back, marvelling at how right this felt, just worshiping this body with his own. No sexual crisis. He loved this man and that was all that mattered. He began to press open mouth kisses down the line of Sherlock’s abdomen, tongue flicking and pressing soft licks until he reached Sherlock’s belly button. He stopped, and looked up. Sherlock’s head was thrown back, his hair a toussled mess on the pillow, mouth open with a smile playing at the corners.
‘Don’t stop,’ Sherlock whispered as he looked down and met John’s gaze. Pupils blown wide, he looked everything like a debauched angel.
‘So beautiful,’ John murmured as he dipped his head and licked into that belly button, which apparently tickled, as Sherlock began to giggle. The sound was so delightful; John couldn’t resist nipping across that belly and holding those hips tight against the squirming, he gnawed and nipped across to both sides, smiling and laughing as Sherlock panted and giggled helplessly.
‘No. Stop!’ Sherlock entreated breathless.
‘You just said ‘Don’t stop,’ make up your mind, love’ John huffed out with a smile. He ducked his shoulder under Sherlock’s knee and began kissing up that long white thigh. Sherlock was still smiling when he looked down at John and said, ‘You are maddening.’
‘Ha! That’s rich,’ as he nuzzled into the crease of Sherlock’s thigh, breathing deeply. ‘You alright?’ he asked, turning his head and licking slowly up the length of Sherlock’s cock, eliciting a deep moan that vibrated through both their bodies. ‘I’ll take that as a yes.’
‘Yes. Don’t stop’ Sherlock groaned and John smiled a ‘Mmmm hmm’ as he raised up and licked around the glans, drawing it slowly into his mouth and sucking gently. Again, he marvelled that he really isn’t having any kind of crisis about any of this. In bed with a man, sucking a cock. If anyone had said he’s be here doing this a month ago, he would have, well. He would have said some things that Sherlock found hurtful, and that was just not on. So he puts his heart into it and sucks Sherlock with strong, heavy pulls that make Sherlock’s hands scrabble against the sheets. John takes Sherlock’s hand and wraps it around the back of his head, fingers tightening in his hair. John takes Sherlock in as deeply as he can, fist wrapped around the base, matching the rhythm of Sherlock’s thrusts.
Sherlock is groaning, writhing on the bed. ‘Wait, wait’ he pants and John pulls off with a soft pop and looks up inquiringly. ‘I don’t want it to be over?’ Sherlock’s eyes are soft as he reaches down and cups John’s face. John cups Sherlock’s hand and places a soft kiss on the palm.
‘Barely even started yet. I’m not going anywhere.’ John moves down and tucks his shoulder under Sherlock’s knee again, this time nudging him up and dragging a pillow down.
‘Shh,’ John whispered as he dipped his head and kissed up Sherlock’s thigh, this time running his tongue under Sherlock’s balls and along his perineum, which netted him a surprised ‘Ooh.’
John smiled a ‘Mmm hmm’ into his kisses and kept going, pressing Sherlock’s thighs up just a bit. Eyes closed, not thinking, just feeling, he slowly licked into Sherlock. 'Alright?’ he murmured.
‘More than,’ Sherlock smiled, bucking his hips. John smiled back and licked again. Closing his eyes, John settled in and, well, kissed Sherlock’s arse. Because it was kissing, wasn’t it? Lips and tongue and responding to the body under your mouth. Tonging deeply he recalls Sherlock’s voice saying ‘It’s the intimacy’ and this is, intimate.
‘John, I want…’
‘More, you… more’
‘You sure, love? We don’t need to…’
‘Yes, I’m sure,’ Sherlock whispered as he reached down and drew John up to kiss him. When John jerked back Sherlock’s eyes flashed, ‘John Watson,’ his voice more than a little breathless, “if you think that I’m actually not going to kiss you after that…’ and pulled the man down for a deep and glorious kiss.
Their cocks were leaking, sliding between their bellies in a glorious mess. ‘God. I could come like this, Sherlock.’
‘No, inside of me, please?’
‘Everything at once, hm?’ John huffed with a smile, kissing Sherlock again.
‘Just… Yes. Everything’ Sherlock sighed into John’s mouth.
John kissed him, cupping Sherlock’s face, running his thumb along Sherlock’s jaw, then tightening his fingers into those curls as he sucked on Sherlock’s neck. John pressed two fingers into Sherlock’s mouth, who moaned around those fingers as he began to suck.
‘God, Sherlock. Your mouth, it’s a sin. You know that?’ John panted.
Sherlock moaned an affirmative and swirled his tongue along the bottom and between John’s fingers. With a groan, John tugged his fingers free and reached down between Sherlock’s legs, teasing his fingertips lightly against the pucker. When Sherlock didn’t flinch, John pressed lightly as he took Sherlock’s mouth in another deep kiss. Sherlock pressed himself down onto John’s fingers and froze.
‘Alright?’ John breathed into Sherlock’s mouth. ‘Yes. Just,’ Sherlock breathed. John waited for him to relax, then slowly dipped in, shallowly. ‘Alright?’ John asked, looking deeply into Sherlock’s eyes. ‘Yes,’ Sherlock smiled as he pressed himself down again. ‘Better than alright.’
It felt like sparks were firing across his body. It was strange, it hurt, but he wanted more. This might never happen again. Of course he wanted everything at once! ‘Would you?’ he whispered, ‘inside of me?’ and John groaned, kissing him deeply and thrusting his fingers up inside of him, whispered ‘Yes.’
John aligned himself and pressed forward, looking down into Sherlock’s eyes. Sherlock smiled up at him and brought his knees up, gasping as John breached him.
‘Alright?’ John asked with a touch of panic.
Sherlock let out a long breath. Took a deep breath. He met John’s eyes and said with a long sigh ‘Yes.’
‘I don’t want to hurt you, Sherlock…’
‘It hurts, but it isn’t pain. It’s like an electric current. It’s… indescribable’ and with another breath out, Sherlock slowly pushed himself down on John’s cock.
John huffed a breath and began to rock, small, short strokes meeting Sherlock’s push. It felt raw, much more than when he’d been with women. Warm, almost hot, but it was tighter and…so much different. The biggest surprise, to John, was how little he cared or even noticed the differences. His entire focus was on the man underneath him, on kissing Sherlock as he rocked, softly as possible, repeatedly, all over his face, and licking deeply into that mouth to make up for the pain he must have been experiencing from the lack of any lubricant besides spit.
Sherlock let out a whine John was certain he’d heard from a dog he’d had as a kid. Coming from the dog it sounded sad, lonely. Coming from Sherlock, it sounded... John pulled up slightly. ‘Oh God, Sherlock, if I’m hurting you...’
Sherlock looped his left leg around John’s waist and forced him forward, so he was sitting all the way inside of Sherlock. John gasped and started to pant. ‘How do you mean, hurting me?’ He blinked in confusion. ‘I told you, John. I’m not in pain and I won’t be, because it’s you here, not somebody else.’
John nodded and pulled out slightly, repositioning himself before slamming back in. ‘I just don’t want to hurt you. Ever. And I’m sorry for what I said that night. I should never have said that. I wasn’t thinking straight –‘ Sherlock snorted. John kissed him as he pulled back out, farther this time, and thrust back in more harshly than the last, nearly making Sherlock’s head hit the headboard. ‘Shut up, ‘he quipped affectionately, biting small marks into Sherlock’s neck.
‘Isn’t the apology my line though?’ Sherlock asked, apparently completely missing the lame pun at which he’d snorted. ‘I’m the one who made you watch as I pretended to –‘ John thrust into him particularly hard, three times, finally succeeding in making Sherlock’s head smack the headboard.
Sherlock moaned again, eyes fluttering, as John pressed kisses into his cheek. ‘Yes, you do owe me an apology for that, a sympathy card or something, but I understand why you did it, and I love you all the same. Just don’t ever do that to me again, promise?’
‘I promise,’ Sherlock whispered. He leaned up to take some of the skin of John’s collarbone into his mouth, applying tongue as he bit and ending it with a kiss, plotting out a necklace of hickeys across John’s chest. ‘I don’t know why you love me, there’s nothing lovable about me.’
John nudged Sherlock’s head up with his nose, planting his lips on Sherlock’s and invading Sherlock’s mouth with his tongue. He attempted to draw hearts on the roof of Sherlock’s mouth with his tongue, hoping that way Sherlock would finally get the message, even though he knew Sherlock wouldn’t. He grabbed Sherlock’s hip with his left hand, positioning him so their hips were touching, took hold of the headboard, and started to thrust with purpose, searching for and hitting Sherlock’s prostate. Sherlock’s head was flung back and he was panting again, cock nearly touching his belly button and dribbling pre-cum down his chest. John could feel himself getting harder at the sight and he let go of the headboard, dropping both himself and Sherlock back onto the bed, his cock so deep in Sherlock’s arse his testicles were hitting Sherlock’s behind as well. Sherlock was breathing heavily, trying to keep himself from hyperventilating.
‘I don’t know why I love you either, you twat, but it probably has something to do with the way you always try for me, even eating when I know you aren’t hungry just to pacify me. How you always look at me like I’m the only person in the room. It makes everybody else extremely uncomfortable but I don’t care, because you’re the only person to me, always. You give me your undivided attention in a way you never give it to anybody else. You’re quirky and mad but you are never dull. You put colour back into my life after Afghanistan, no matter how ridiculously mushy that sounds, it’s true. You make and you keep everything interesting and intriguing. You care much more than you’d ever let anybody see, and when you’re depressed all I want to do is hold you because I know there’s nothing I can do or say to make you feel better. I feel like a shit doctor and a shit friend because I never know how to be around you, not only when you’re depressed but on normal days, when you’re vibrant and obnoxious and witty and everything. I don’t know why I love you, I just do, and I’ll never love anybody else even half as much as I love you. I can’t, not in a romantic sense and nothing will ever be as important to me as you are.’
Sherlock’s eyes fluttered again, staring at John with an open affection he wasn’t used to. ‘We’re meant to be having sex, John, but if you keep that up I’ll cum without much trouble.’
John shook his head, forehead leaning on Sherlock’s once more. ‘No, Sherlock, we’re meant to be making love, and that is what I’m doing, correctly or incorrectly. This is me, showing you how much I love you. Making love to you.’
Sherlock nodded, resting a caressing hand against John’s cheek. ‘I love you because you think I’m worth it. I love you because you chose to stay. Nobody has ever done that before. I don’t have to worry about holding onto you because I know you’ll always be there. I don’t know what I would have done without you, but in the years we spent apart I was reckless. I didn’t care what happened to me, and the only reason I wasn’t quite as reckless when we were together, was because I knew how it would make you feel. I didn’t want to see you upset. Leaving you hurt and it took a lot from me. I didn’t know if I would return as the same person. I wanted you to move on when I was gone. I wanted you to be happy, in a way I didn’t think you could be with me. I came back for selfish reasons; I didn’t want to share you with anybody else. And now that you’re…’ He blinked, sighing. ‘Mine, if I can call you that?’
John didn’t realize the question wasn’t rhetorical at first, but opened his eyes to Sherlock looking at him earnestly, worried. ‘Of course I’m yours, and you’re mine. This isn’t a mistake, this isn’t a one-night stand, Sherlock, going through with this. It means we’re together. I chose you. You chose me.’
Sherlock nodded, forgetting to finish what he’d started saying. He brought John’s lips down to his and started kissing him, most of the time completely missing his mouth. John steadied Sherlock with a hand to cheek, kissing him softly as he began thrusting gain, slowly, building up momentum. Sherlock’s legs crawled up his sternum and John lifted them, so Sherlock’s knees were resting on his shoulders. Sherlock gasped at the deepness of the contact, and John used the moment to draw his mouth away from Sherlock’s, biting into his neck as he started to thrust quickly and erratically.
It didn’t take very much before Sherlock’s body was clamping tightly around John and Sherlock was coming, semen more pouring than spurting out of his penis. John felt smug with success when Sherlock actually shouted in surprised, and the bed started slamming into the wall. He shouted in a way he might classify later on as ‘awkward,’ but at that moment he didn’t care. He came, still thrusting into and out of Sherlock’s body, breathing heavily, dropping his forehead on Sherlock’s again when he finished.
They kissed passionately, tongues petting each other, as John pulled out and settled next to Sherlock.
There were a few seconds of silence, before Sherlock spoke up to break the tension. ‘I’m fairly certain that, if I were a woman, I’d be pregnant now.’ John laughed and kissed his hand, but didn’t comment. ‘Would you still love me, if I were a woman?’
John didn’t need to think about it. ‘If you were still you and I was still me, I’d love you no matter what.’
This is only my second time ever writing smut, so apologies if it doesn't sound quite right.
(This is only my first time writing smut, so apologies if there is entirely too much foreplay ~snogandagrope)
And a note about asexuality:
Yes, Sherlock is still asexual. Asexuality is an extremely misunderstood sexuality. Not all asexuals are repulsed by sex. Some even enjoy it, but it isn't something they desire or look for in a relationship. Asexuality also does not, under any circumstance, mean aromantic, although some asexuals (and pansexuals, and heterosexuals, and homosexuals, for that matter) are. Sherlock happens to feel comfortable in this situation because it's John. The actual sex part, even the orgasm, doesn't really do anything for him. Like many asexuals, he goes through with it for the intimacy he obtains.
If you have any more questions about asexuality, feel free to ask me at my Tumblr.
Chapter 9: pardon the way that I stare
'You're just too good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you
You'd be like Heaven to touch
I want to hold you so much
And if you feel like I feel
Please let me know this is real
You're just too good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you'
- 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You', Muse
Apologies that it's been so long for an update! I had the beginning of this chapter written out in my mind, but I had no idea how to go about the rest of it. I also apologize for how short it is. I had forgotten that I'd said the retreat was a month, so I don't want to shove everything in at once.
The minute they left Dr Sweets’ office, Dean began to exaggerate all of his movements. Cas was strongly reminded of some of the older cartoons Dean insisted on watching on Saturday mornings – especially the one with the mouse in the short trousers with absurdly large and round ears.
‘But mice don’t actually look like that,’ Cas commented once, confused.
Dean just shook his head and placed a beer in Cas’s hand. He clinked his beer bottle against it and muttered, ‘Slainte.’
Cas was roused back to the present time as Dean waved exuberantly at Jack Harkness, who returned a rude gesture and glare to Dean’s sarcastic movement. Cas was momentarily overcome with the urge to smack Dean over the back of his head (his Father the Lord would be okay with that, wouldn’t he?) but somehow restrained himself, substituting an eyeroll instead.
‘Dean, I think when Dr Sweets said you needed to work on your physical communication, he meant you should stop speaking.’ Dean glared at him; if he had glasses, Dean would be peering over them at Cas in that condescending manner Cas was getting far too accustomed to.
Dean led the way back to their room, not turning around to speak or even look at Cas the whole way there. Once inside he plopped on their bed and stared, expectantly, at Cas.
Cas shifted his weight from his right to his left foot. He rarely paid attention to his vessel’s weight distribution, but Dean’s stare was making him feel incredibly uncomfortable. ‘Why are you looking at me like that, Dean?’ Dean shook his head and sighed, getting up from the bed and twirling in a circle, dropping himself back down on the edge of the bed when he was done. Cas’s brow furrowed farther in confusion. ‘I don’t understand.’
Dean sighed and stood up again, but instead of repeating his movements he walked to the small round table near the window and sat, legs propped up in front of him, hands on his stomach, staring out of the window. Cas sighed and shrugged, continuing to stand on the opposite side of the room, shoulder blades uncomfortably digging into the wall.
While Dean sulked, Castiel thought of home; of Heaven, of his brothers and his Father. He knew it would be rude to leave Dean without warning – he had received that nagging lecture plenty of times before – but Dean wasn’t speaking to him and Castiel was sure the garrison had more important work for him to do than hanging around with someone who didn’t want him there. Not for the first time, Cas felt useless. Cas bent his knees just to hear them crack, hoping the sound would draw Dean’s attention back to him. Dean did look, expressionless, and continued staring. Expecting something Cas wasn’t sure he could give.
‘I miss home,’ Cas said finally. Dean nodded his head and extended an arm, prompting him to continue. ‘It’s beautiful, Dean, I think you’d like it. Well, humans can’t really see it, the sight would make you go blind, like your friend, Pamela, and just being in the general vicinity will kill you. But once you’re dead, uhm, a spirit, you call them, you can see it and be there…just fine.’ Cas nodded.
Dean blinked in response, but didn’t turn away. Cas shifted weight again. ‘Heaven is like living in a…’ He blinked, beginning to gesture. Dean glared at him, but Cas ignored it. ‘A glass thing,’ he finished, indicating a cylindrical shape. ‘With all those colours colliding at once –‘
‘A kaleidoscope!’ Dean shouted. Cas smiled up at him as Dean slapped a hand over his mouth, embarrassed by his hypocritical outburst.
‘Heaven is like a kaleidoscope. It’s wonderful, it’s overwhelming. It’s all the colours at once, but they don’t blend. They bounce off of each other, like my brethren and I do.’ Cas frowned. ‘Used to do.’
Dean gave Cas a confused look, tilting his head as he stood up and approached his friend. He sat on the edge of the bed, facing Cas as Cas slumped to the floor. Dean rested a hand on Cas’s shoulder. They remained that way, silent, for quite some time.
‘It used to be a beautiful Utopia. It still is beautiful, in many ways, but the war has cost Heaven some of its grandeur.’ Dean slid to his knees on the floor, both hands now on Cas’s shoulders. Cas closed his eyes. ‘The last time I went home, it was as though home had gone from a gaseous state to a liquid one – where all the particles are moving still, but much more slowly. I’m sure it’s more like a solid now. The colours no longer fit together; now they clash. It hurts to be home. It hurts even more to know that I’m not wanted at home.’
Castiel sighed, intending to end his tirade there. But against his will, his mouth opened and even more began to fall out.
‘When I disappear from you and Samuel, I don’t go anywhere. I can’t go home, and there are so many times when I know I am just hindering you,’ Dean shook his head against Cas’s cheek, turning their close embrace into a hug.
‘Don’t tell me I’m not, Dean. I have seen you so angry with me, and that wasn’t my intention. Everything that I have done, I have done with you in mind. Angels were made by God to be perfect, but we are not. Our Father did not mean to give us free will, but we seem to have developed it anyway.
Sometimes I feel as though we are walking in circles, or perhaps along the perimeter of a wall, hoping to eventually find an end or stopping point we both know doesn’t exist. We could break through the wall, or choose to no longer walk in a circle, but we never do.’ Cas looked up at Dean, eyes shining with tears Dean didn’t know Cas was capable of crying. ‘Why don’t we, Dean?’ he begged.
Dean pulled away from Cas for a moment, keeping him at arm’s length. Dean’s frown deepened and he shook his head, dragging Cas back into the hug. Cas sighed into Dean’s neck and closed his eyes again. Sleep was a human necessity he didn’t normally divulge in – Earth was so full of dangers Castiel wasn’t sure how anybody ever knew it was safe. But now he was in Dean’s arms and his chest was filled with a heavy warmth. He never wrapped his arms around Dean, but Dean didn’t seem to mind. Much to the contrary, Dean rearranged them so that he could sit comfortably, still holding his friend in his arms, and not lose circulation to his extremities. As Castiel gave in to the human comfort of sleep and dreams, he felt Dean kiss his cheek lightly, and yet still possessively. As if to say he was the one to always make sure Cas was safe.
Chapter 10: I would say I'm sorry if I thought that it would change your mind
I try to laugh about it,
Cover it all up with lies
I try and laugh about it
Hiding the tears in my eyes
'Cause boys don't cry
-- 'Boys Don't Cry,' the Cure
Trigger warning for self harm, suicidal ideation, and brief homophobic language. Also random tense changes at the end, apologies about that.
Sherlock looked at John from where he laid on the other side of the bed, thinking that even Mycroft walking in on him snorting coke off the stomach of a stripper (and that only happened once) had not been nearly as awkward or embarrassing as this inevitable confrontation was sure to be.
'Well,' John began, looking around the room. 'That -' He tried desperately to avoid Sherlock's eyes, but eventually failed. '...Happened,' John finished lamely, clearly unsatisfied with his own words. He licked his lips, all too aware that Sherlock was watching his tongue and felt the moment go by in slow-motion. Sherlock forced himself to shiver and push the sentiment away.
'So you regret it, now that it's morning,' Sherlock asserted cooly. Without even waiting for a reply from John, Sherlock rolled over and flipped his hair into his eyes to better hide the heartbreak. He was doomed to share a bed with this man until their mandatory stay was over. Sherlock could only hope now that Lestrade would call with a case that absolutely required his assistance in order for Scotland Yard to move further. He could figure out where to go from there.
'Sherlock...' John tried to carress Sherlock's back with the soft pads of his fingers, but Sherlock jolted at the touch and threw himself out of the bed. 'Wait, Sherlock - Stop!' John insisted. Sherlock froze, but kept his back turned. 'Sherlock,' John tried again. 'You're misreading me. This, us, this whole thing is just so... new for me. I've never had this with -' Sherlock listened as John's toes squished uncomfortably on the cheap hotel carpet, agitated and vulnerable and frightened of the uncertainty. Part of Sherlock wanted to reach out to him, embrace him and keep himself. The other part of Sherlock wanted to lash out and run away to lick his own wounds. At the moment, neither side was winning. All he knew was that his lovesick thought processes made him want to vomit. How disgusting. How could he ever have let his guard down for so long? How did he ever get so stupid?
Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thought to himself. Of course he feels more affectionate toward John. Sex does that to people. Stupid bloody body chemistry.
'I'm an idiot, John,' Sherlock announced, and for a moment John was relieved, thinking that Sherlock was going to lie back down with him and whatever emotional fallout Sherlock was going to have could wait until after therapy, until John had his time to come up with a better plan for making Sherlock understand him. Instead, Sherlock continued in a dangerously low voice, 'Just delete last night. Forget it ever happened.' And Sherlock stomped to their cramped bathroom, tearing off the boxers he'd managed to shimmy on in his earlier panic. (The worst part of which, in Sherlock's head, was that he was not even sure they were his own pants.)
Sherlock turned the water handle all the way around, making the water as hot as it could possibly get and stepping in only when he was certan the water was scalding. He set about tearing off bits of his skin in enormous scratch marks, trying to erase any physical evidence of last night. He felt like a kicked-over rubbish bin, and more humiliated than he could remember having felt at any other point in his life. To put things simply, Sherlock felt as though he were going to cry. He grit his teeth and let out a growl of frustration at himself and dug the nails of his right hand into his left arm, and dragged them from the wrist up to his elbow. Seeing the blood welling to the surface of his arm he felt satisfied. This, at least, is real, he thought. He felt himself coming back to a sense of self, detaching from John and this awful convention and the people outside and even the Yard.
Until the feeble bathroom door was forced open.
'Haven't you ever heard of privacy?' Sherlock snaps when John pulls back the shower curtain, stepping in to stand behind Sherlock.
'I have, actually, funny enough,' John chirped, 'But after years of living with you, I appear to have forgotten the definition. The word has lost all meaning to me.'
Sherlock glowered at tiled shower wall, and jerked forward when John tried to touch his shoulder and place soft kisses on his neck. 'Stop running,' John begged, and Sherlock turned to face him. 'There you go,' John enocouraged, but Sherlock shook his head.
'I told you to delete it. Given the the numerous and varied sexual partners you've had, I'd have thought it an easy task for you.'
John laughed, but ignored the implication. 'I saw the look on your face, Sherlock. Even when you try to hide from me, I still see it, and I don't want to. I don't ever want to see you make that face again.'
'Then maybe you shouldn't have slept with me,' Sherlock shouted, flipping open the shower curtain and attempting to storm out of the shower but slipping on his wet feet and falling into the sink.
'Jesus shit, Sherlock!' John called, jumping out after him to grab his shoulder and help him up, but he quickly lost grip on Sherlock's slippery skin. Sherlock looked up to John with manic eyes and, if John hadn't known Sherlock better, he'd have thought the man was about to cry. But then again, perhaps he didn't know Sherlock so very well at all. Maybe he really was about to cry. John had to admit, uncomfortably and to himself, that nothing would be less surprising to him than to find out that he was Sherlock Holmes's breaking point.
'I don't need you to pity me, John,' Sherlock cut out. 'But I also don't need you to use me, or to pretend to be something that you're not. You don't have to feign some sort of romantic interest in me. Just leave me alone, and I'll sort myself out. It's all fine.'
John surrendered Sherlock's arm, giving up on attempting to help him. John crossed his arms over his chest with an aggravated sigh. 'You're not going to let me explain myself, are you?'
'Explain what?' Sherlock cried, looking not at John but at somewhere next to the right of his head, at a stained spot on the door. 'That you're a perfectly normal heterosexual male who accidentally slept with his poofter flatmate?'
John groaned, covering his face with his hands. 'Really, Sherlock, it's not that simple.'
'Then what is -'
'Just shut up!' John shouted. 'Let me finish my fucking sentence, would you?' Sherlock's gaze shifted to meet John's eyes, and he closed his mouth with an audible click, nodding for John to continue. 'If you really want to believe that's what's going on here, then that's your perogative and your problem, I suppose. But that isn't what's going on here, not for me, at least.'
John paused to breathe, letting his eyes flutter shut to rest before opening them again. 'When you...left, I felt like killing myself. And I couldn't figure out why. I mean, yeah, it's depressing, to have a best mate die. But I've been in war. It wasn't the first time it'd happened to me, and it probably won't be the last. And when you came back, and I found out you'd been lying to me, but telling the truth to Molly and Mycroft... The feeling didn't go away, Sherlock. It just got worse. Except instead of wanting to die so I could be with you, I wanted to die so I could get away from you. So I could get out of your way. And it was ridiculous, because why should any of that matter to my mental health?
'But then last night, it occurred to me that I'm in love with you. And I just wanted to express that to you in the only way I knew how. And it was fantastic, Sherlock. It was amazing, but that doesn't ease the awkwardness or erase the anxiety. I've been living with this identity my whole life, being heterosexual. Abandoning it really isn't that easy, even if you think it should be.'
After an awkward moment, Sherlock replied in a whisper. 'How do you think I feel?' he asked. 'I've been comfortable being asexual and alone, and then you showed up and I got comfortable with you. You messed everything up and I've never felt so out of place. You're not the only one who's drowning.'
As they continued to stare at each other, John with his back on the wall and Sherlock with his butt on the floor, they started to shiver and the shower started to flood. John adjusted his weight, leaning on his right leg. He shakes his head to bring himself and Sherlock back into the moment. 'So what do we do now?'
Like a petulant child, Sherlock just shrugs, looking away shyly, digging his toes into the bathmat. John offers his hands to Sherlock who takes them, hesitantly. John lifts him to a standing position.
'I propose that we take things one step at a time, yeah?' John says, and Sherlock nods. 'I don't want to give this up. What we have. What we're making. Do you?' Sherlock shakes his head.
'So where do we start?' Sherlock asks.
John smiles in reply. 'We finish our bloody shower.'