It had been a while, but John wasn’t a teenager. He was snogging Jess as they made it into their flat, flushed from the way she’d been teasing him in the cab, and after a quick glance around he figured that Sherlock was in his room and wouldn’t be surfacing any time soon. It was after ten and they’d not long finished a case, so he didn’t have any reason to be awake. Perfect. Jess pushed him down into the nearest armchair (Sherlock’s) and John soaked up the attention whilst giving as good as he got.
“On his armchair, John? Really?”
Jess screamed, jumped a mile and looked around. “John, did that- Did the skull just say that? You have a skull that can talk?”
“He’s my flatmate’s,” John explained, noting that even he had started referring to the skull as ‘he’ and not ‘it’. He twisted around to where he thought Sherlock would be, raising his voice pointedly. “My very nosey flatmate’s who needs to turn right around and leave us be!”
“Rude!” the skull squeaked. Jess had visibly turned uncomfortable, and had slid backwards on his lap to be sitting closer to his knees.
“It’s... Talking,” Jess commented, staring. “I thought you lived alone?”
“Not quite. Sherlock learnt ventriloquism a while back. He’s good at throwing his voice. Ignore him,” he knew that wouldn’t work.
“Ignore what, the talking skull or the fact that some weirdo is watching us from the shadows and making the skull talk?” she asked, brow furrowed. She stood up. John crossed out his chances.
“He’s not a weirdo-“
“I think I ought to go,” she said, straightening her clothes out. John stood too, but didn’t bother with his.
“Jess, please, there’s really nothing to be worried about,” he begged, following her in the hopes that she wouldn’t actually leave.
“Wrong!” chimed the skull.
“If you wanted a threesome or to have some creep watching us you’ve got another thing coming,” Jess said, glaring. John really wasn’t sure why she was suddenly so angry. It seemed to happen a lot around Sherlock.
“What? I don’t- A threesome? With him? Oh god, Jess, no, please let me- I’m not gay,” he tried desperately, flustered.
“I didn’t plan this,” he said loudly to drown out the skull’s nattering about his sexuality.
“Yeah, well you don’t seem awfully fussed by it, and if this is the sort of shit that happens unexpectedly then I don’t want to be here,”
Jess left. John groaned, running a hand through his hair. He turned to glower at the skull. “Thanks a lot, Alistair,”
Sherlock walked in a moment later, wandering casually over to collect a book from by his armchair. “If you could please keep your carnal activities away from my belongings, John, I would appreciate it.”
* * * * * *
The next time John brought a woman home, he made sure to steer them both away from anything that Sherlock could class as his. In fact, he went all the way up to his own bedroom, where Sherlock couldn’t possibly object. Cathie was nibbling her way down his chest, interspersing it with licks and kisses, much to his delight.
“He likes it a bit to the left,” commented his lamp. Cathie froze, and then looked around.
“What was that?” Cathie asked, looking flushed and a bit confused. “That didn’t sound like you, John,”
“It was probably my flatmate, on the phone, downstairs, ignore it,” John fibbed quickly, “Sound travels strangely here,”
She smiled, nodded, and went back to teasing him. John breathed a sigh of relief, hoping Sherlock wouldn’t continue to interfere. He was quite enjoying this.
“Don’t forget me, John Watson!” a muffled voice squeaked from inside the top drawer of John’s bedside table when she started sliding his trousers down. The drawer where John kept his condoms. “Don’t want to get this one pregnant or catch her gonorrhoea, do you?”
Needless to say, Cathie didn’t stay much longer. John followed her down the stairs, silently staring at Sherlock, who appeared to be dozing in his usual position on the sofa, awaiting an explanation.
“If you could please keep your bedroom door closed during your carnal activities, John, I would appreciate it.”
* * * * * *
The next time John brought a woman home, he made sure to go up to his room with her and bolt the door behind them. He didn’t spare Sherlock a thought after that, other than the odd hope that he wouldn’t be woken up. Rebecca was a little loud; something John didn’t mind in the slightest, so long as he wouldn’t suffer for it via Sherlock later on.
It was the bed itself this time.
“Oh, that’s it John! Give her one from me, make ‘er scream!”
She screamed for an entirely different reason, evidently not too happy with hearing a strange man’s voice from somewhere below her during sex.
“Sorry,” John said profusely, “My flatmate’s an annoying dick,”
“Don’t stop, John! Nice and fast now! She can take more than that!”
“Are there cameras in here?” she demanded, pushing at his chest, “Are you filming this and streaming it to him?”
“No, no! I would never- He can throw his voice, like a ventriloquist, he’s making the bed talk from outside the door-“
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, John. I’m right here!”
“I can’t believe this. I thought you were nice, but no, you’re some sort of lying pervert. Was this a dare?” Rebecca wasn’t been awfully gentle on him as she got up and started grabbing at clothes. “A complete set up?”
“No, this was all real, I’m all real-“
“Nothing fake in that hot rod, phew, momma!”
“Not bloody helping, Sherlock!” John shouted, tugging on his boxers and a vest and heading for the door. “Look, Beck, he’s right outside the door-“
He wasn’t. John looked around in confusion. Rebecca pushed past him and down the stairs, and he found himself once again hurrying after a woman through his flat in a rather uncomfortable state.
“This flatmate?” Rebecca demanded of him, pointing at Sherlock, who was crouched over the table calmly looking down a microscope.
“Is something the matter, John?” Sherlock asked, looking up and between them. Rebecca let out a sharp laugh.
“His voice is completely different. You were streaming it to some complete stranger, weren’t you? Ventriloquism... Bullshit!”
And so John’s third girlfriend in two months was driven from their flat in a rage because of Sherlock’s strange skill set.
“Thanks,” John huffed. “What was it this time? Looked at your door on the way up?”
“If you could please keep the volume to a minimum during your-“
“Oh, belt it.”
* * * * * *
To avoid being anywhere near Sherlock’s belongings, leaving the door open or being too loud, John insisted on going to his fourth girlfriend’s house every time. This worked perfectly, until the fifth time, when she demanded to know why she wasn’t allowed back at his. Her guesses were: wife and kids, crack den, homeless... Basically, that John was keeping a whole identity from her. She dumped him.
* * * * * *
Things went a lot better with his fifth girlfriend, who was very understanding. John had explained early on that he had a flatmate who had a habit of getting in the way, and he didn’t like John bringing women home. She had a place of her own, which tended to be closer to them than Baker Street to their dates anyway, making it ideal. Sherlock still found a way of fucking his love life up; this time, John was getting intimate with Kelly when his phone went off.
It might not have mattered if Sherlock hadn’t taken the liberty of secretly setting a custom text tone for himself on John’s phone... An out-of-breath John growling Sherlock’s name. The sound clip had been recorded when Sherlock snatched John’s phone and elbowed him in the gut to prevent him from taking it back. It didn’t sound like that. Apparently, it also didn’t sound like it came from his phone. Strangely, this wasn’t the first time that a woman had dumped him with a sarcastic retort about hoping he and Sherlock would be very happy together.
The text Sherlock had sent him read simply ‘SH’.
* * * * * *
“This has got to stop, Sherlock,” John snapped, feeling slightly childish when he heard the loud slam of the door behind him. If it was damaged, he knew who would be paying for the repairs. He had been fuming since he was thrown out onto the street, lugging himself home via perpetually late public transport through torrential rain.
Sherlock looked up from his book calmly, raising an eyebrow. “What has to stop, John? My efforts to further my knowledge on the changes of-“
“You know damn well what I’m talking about. Don’t even think about playing innocent this time,” his finger stabbed towards the consulting detective’s infuriatingly large brain, the action matching his flushed face and scowl perfectly. Sherlock slowly put his book to one side, but didn’t stand up. “What the hell are you playing at? When I’m in the flat, sure, I understand that maybe you wouldn’t want my ‘carnal activities’ in any way disturbing you – of course, you could have just waited and asked me politely rather than interrupting, but that’s not the point. The point is, Sherlock, that things were going well – really well, actually – with Kelly, and then you went and deliberately sabotaged it for no good reason at all at a time you must have known was incredibly inconvenient. How could you even know what we were doing- Actually, I don’t want to know. I want to know why you keep doing this. Just because you have no interest in having sex-“
“Now that is highly presumptuous of you,” Sherlock interrupted, frowning.
“-Does not mean that you should cockblock the rest of... Wait, what?” John trailed off, Sherlock’s interruption registering with him. “Of course you’ve got no interest in it. You’ve never brought anybody home-“
“That doesn’t stop you, John,”
“You’re married to your work. You said so yourself, when we first met. Not interested, not your area. And some of the comments your brother has made, and Irene...” John’s shouting had been reduced to a confused rambling. He was beginning to think that Sherlock’s interruption had been for this sole purpose.
“Many men have mistresses, do they not?” There was a moment of silence. John was cautiously correcting many of his earlier presumptions, attempting to work out whether or not Sherlock was acting. Sherlock just stared at him, keeping steady eye contact which he broke only once a solid minute had gone past without development. “At the time I met you, John, I was not interested in any sort of long-term romantic entanglement. I did not believe that I could be... Interested in a person in such a way. I did feel that I was married to my work, since it was the only thing I had ever been committed to for a significant period of time without the intention of giving up on it. Does that make more sense to you?”
“Right. Okay. What doesn’t make sense still is why you’re basically refusing to let me get laid, whether I’m here or not-“
“Sounds to me like he might be jealous, John!” squeaked Alistair the Skull from the mantelpiece. John had been watching Sherlock’s face and had not been able to pick up on his involvement in the sudden vocalisation. Apparently, practice was making Sherlock perfect.
“What, you’re jealous that I’m getting laid and you’re not? You could try to rectify that, you know. Get out of the flat every once in a while, talk to people... Maybe someone might actually like you!” John joked awkwardly, thinking how strange it was for him to be giving Sherlock Holmes advice of any kind in the first place.
“Okay, which part did I get wrong, since you obviously know all about it and are just being difficult?” he asked Sherlock, refusing to give in and talk to the skull directly when the man himself was right there, looking immensely uncomfortable.
“He wouldn’t need to leave the flat.”
John burst out laughing. “Hey, I know your ego’s big, but do you really think you can lure people in here just by projecting some sort of psychic signal? That’s not how things work Sherlock. You have to be a bit more obvious to let someone know you’re interested in them.”
“Obvious like directly intervening to prevent the person he’s interested in from entering a significant relationship with anybody else due to his jealousy and giving rather pathetic excuses for it because this is most certainly not his area of expertise? Or does he need to jump the person he’s interested in to make it absolutely clear with no margin for error at all- John, why are you laughing?”
John finally glanced around to the skull – motionless as ever – and then back to Sherlock. While he had managed not to laugh aloud, his shoulders were shaking. “Are you seriously confessing that the reason you’re being a dick is that you’re interested in me... And you’re speaking through your skull while you’re doing it?”
“No,” the skull objected almost instantly. John just gave Sherlock a look, and waited. Sherlock cleared his throat and looked away, skin taking on light pink undertones.
“It’s not my skull. It’s Alistair’s.”
* * * * * *
John was quite pleased to discover that Sherlock is completely incapable of ventriloquism whilst he is involved in the carnal activities he was so fond of interrupting.