Sherlock took his bottle of wine from the corner of the mantel-piece. He poured a cup and took a long sip, the warm liquid going down his throat. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.
He wanted to have something else, but he had promised John to be alert during the dinner party. He didn't mention anything about afterwards.
He heard the creak of the stairs as John descended.
John took a deep breath."Well?" He asked, raising his arms slightly. "How do I look?"
Sherlock swallowed as he gazed towards his companion for several years. He wore a long blue wool coat, a remainder of his military history. It was well-fitted, adorning his body. Several words came to his mind, but what he settled on was, "Good."
John took a couple of steps towards him. He smelled of soap, leather and expensive scotch. He reached up and started to fix Sherlock's scarf. He shook his head helplessly. "You never managed to do it right."
Sherlock opened his mouth; a quick comeback on the tip of his tongue then closed it again. Instead, he shrugged. He could feel John's hands brushing against his own coat. His mind raced as he thought of a way to tell him what was on his mind, but like every time the words stuck in his throat, choking him.
They left their -soon to be just his, Sherlock reminded himself- apartment. The sky was as dark as slate still and the icy north wind was blowing the rain straight into their faces. The carriage was waiting for them outside.
They spent the first few minutes in silence. John had told of his plans about a week ago; he was always like that, planning everything in detail. Never leaving anything to the last moment. Sherlock's plans went as far as his cases. His vision of his future consisted of him doing what he always did; solving crimes. It remained like that for a long time, until he decided to get a new roommate. Since then, there was that part of him, that hoped his future would consist of something a little bit more.
"You know I will come and visit," John whispered, turning towards him and breaking him out of his reverie. It was almost like he was reading his thoughts.
Sherlock nodded without looking. He knew that. He repeated that to himself more times than he could count for the past few days, but no matter how many time he did, he wouldn't settle for just visits. He didn't want to.
"I know you and Mary don't like each other, but soon enough you will get used to her. I am sure you will be friends. She..." he chuckled, his warm breath brushing against Sherlock's skin. "She reminds me a little bit of you, actually."
Sherlock glared at him. Watson looked at his expression and grinned. "Well, it is true."
"Do you love her?" He murmured. He needed to be certain, that he didn't sacrifice it all for nothing.
John frowned, his grin fading from his lips. "What? What kind of question is this?"
"A simple question really-"
"Holmes, I'm about to ask her in less than an hour-"
"Then you should have no problem answering-"
"This isn't really the best time to-"
"Just answer me," Sherlock said and flinched inwardly at the pleading tone he heard in his voice. The carriage stopped.
"Are you going to stay inside forever?" Someone yelled from the street. John opened the door and yelled something back. Sherlock closed his eyes and clenched his hands into fists, trying to stop them from shaking.
"We need to go," John said, turning around again.
He swallowed and nodded. "Of course."
"Why did you think of asking me now?"
He shrugged and looked away. He shouldn't have said anything.
A slightly rough hand touched his face and brought his eyes to meet John's. "Come on, Holmes," he murmured.
He stared at his eyes, searching for his own answer. "I just wanted to make sure you knew what you really wanted."
His hand disappeared. Sherlock instantly missed it.
John nodded, and Sherlock did the same like they were signing on a silent agreement.
Mary came just after they did. Sherlock sat in the table and focused on John's walking stick, on Mary's borrowed diamond necklace, anything to distract him from responding to Mary's laughter. He had a feeling Watson wouldn't appreciate his deductions or commentary right then. He had promised to behave, to an extent.
He watched as John went on one knee. There was a pause, and then and a small nod and a breathless yes. Everyone who was watching cheered around him. He clapped just like the rest, ignoring the look that Mary gave him just when John looked away.
It never was because he was afraid of telling him. He had many opportunities, and each time he decided to finally say it, he remembered Mary's speech the second time they met.
John was right about them being alike. She noticed what John failed to from the first time. She had waited till John went to the bathroom, and then she talked to him.
She was honest and blunt, and more importantly, she mirrored Sherlock's exact thoughts. He could never give John what he wanted; marriage, a stable life. Sherlock was well aware of the kind of life John wanted for himself ever since they became roommates. And he knew that sometimes he needed to stop being selfish.
John was happy with Mary. She was everything he wanted.
He waited till they all drank and were caught in their useless chatter, before he excused himself, feigning exhaustion.
He might be clueless when it came to relationships and romance, but he knew enough to tell from Mary's glances and her subtle touches that Watson wasn't going back with him tonight.
Before he left, he congratulated the new couple. He held Mary's hand in his and bowed down slightly to kiss it while staring at her in the eyes.
You were right.
Sherlock sighed as he turned around in his bed. Rain pattered steadily against the window. He shivered and pulled the blanket around him. He knew that needed to go and see the constable tomorrow morning, but he couldn't get a wink of sleep.
His hand itched as a voice in his head reminded him that he had something that could help him relax. And it was so close, just in the bedside next to him.
He swallowed and closed his eyes. Just one more day. He was supposed to meet John tomorrow evening.
A knock on the door made him open his eyes. He jumped from the bed, wondering who it could be at this hour, hoping it would be someone who needed his help. He desperately needed a distraction.
He opened the door and watched as John entered, blowing in his hands to keep them warm. He blinked in surprise and closed the door.
John sighed when he set his eyes on him. "Honestly, Holmes, what are you wearing?" He demanded as he took off his coat and put it on Sherlock's shoulders. "It is bloody freezing out there."
"You are the one to talk," he retorted. "Why aren't you wearing any gloves?"
"I forgot them," he said as he started to light a fire.
"What happened?" He asked as he wore the coat, inhaling the familiar smell.
John sighed and turned around when the fire was lit. "I...I just couldn't do it."
Sherlock smirked."Well, Watson, I always thought you were a gentleman but-"
"Not like that you ass," he said, dropping in one the chairs. "I just...This was all just one big stupid mistake."
"What do you mean?"
He groaned, burying his face in his hands. "I shouldn't have asked her hand for marriage."
He raised his eyebrows. "Now you decided? It would have been much better if you came to that conclusion just a few hours earlier."
"Shut up," he mumbled, looking up. "I know how this sounds, alright? I know that she is going to hate me, but I couldn't do it. I looked her in the eyes and realised that I wasn't in love with her."
"Then why did you ask her?"
"I thought that if I..." John sighed.
"Now who is avoiding questions?"
John glared at him but didn't answer.
"Well, that...This is just-" Sherlock started to laugh.
"What, Holmes? What? Because I swear, if you start making jokes, I will just go back right now, told her that I lost my bloody mi-"
Sherlock shut him up by leaning in and smashing their lips together.
It was awkward and full of teeth at first; John froze and Sherlock didn't really know what he was doing. But then John grabbed his arm and pulled, and Sherlock found himself sitting on his lap. He could feel the rapid beat of his heart, taste the mixtures of drinks still on his mouth. He wound his hands into his hair.
"You fool," John murmured between kisses. "You stupid idiotic fool. I waited for so long. Gave up hope that you even had any resemblance of human emotion. And then on the day where I decide to ask her hand, you finally give me a hint. I can't believe you."
"Is that why you left her?" Sherlock said, breaking the kiss.
"No, I still wasn't sure about you," he chuckled. "I'm never sure about anything when it comes to you," he murmured, wrapping his hands tightly against Sherlock's body, pulling him closer. "But I knew that I couldn't lie to myself, and marrying someone won't just magically make me forget you. And she didn't deserve to be dragged through all of this."
Sherlock opened his mouth and shut it again. He wanted to say more, tell him just exactly what he felt, but the words were stuck in his throat. Instead, he kissed him again, hoping it would convey everything he always wanted to say.
After a while, they broke off, gasping, with hair sticking everywhere. Sherlock ran his hands down John's chest. "I thought I lost you," he murmured. "I thought you wanted to marry and have children."
"I decided to take what I can get. I'd choose you over all of that anytime."
Sherlock yawned and stretched, looking next to him. John slept on his side, snoring lightly. Sunlight broke through the glass barrier with no effort, turning his brown hair into gold.
He moved slowly as to not wake him up. John groaned and caught his arm just as he was about to slip out of the bed. He cracked one eye open, a smile stretching on his face. Old habits were hard to let go as they said.
"Good morning," Sherlock said.
John hummed and reached up to give him a small kiss. "Morning," he murmured.
"You have morning breath," he commented.
"So do you," he retorted.
Sherlock grinned and kissed him again. He could definitely get used to this.
John got up the bed. Sherlock watched him as he searched for his clothes that were thrown around from the night before, and then started to wear his trousers.
Maybe it was because he was still in shock that last night wasn't a dream, but he didn't notice that John was opening the nightstand until it already happened. The protest died in his throat as John took out his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case.
"I thought you got rid of it," John said, glaring at him.
He pointed at the syringe. "This is...Well, I just forgot about it."
"And it just happened to be at your bedside?"
"I...I wasn't planning on using it," he said. Some habits were harder to let go than others.
John shook his head. "And I actually thought you wanted to change."
"I did," he said. "But last night..." He closed his eyes, frustrating building up inside of him. He was never good at expressing himself.
"What, Holmes? What?" He snapped.
"I thought I might need it," he swallowed, looking at the sheets.
Sherlock glared at him, his anger rising. "Well, what do you think? For a doctor Watson, you can sometimes be particularly thick-headed."
"Oh," he said. Sherlock watched his features change as realisation dawned on him. "Oh, Holmes..."
He looked away and cursed inwardly, knowing how Watson must be looking at him right now. That was why he never wanted to say anything in the first place.
He felt the weight on the bed shift, and a hand titled his head up.
"We both make stupid decisions," John said. "The difference between you and me is that you had the sense to not actually do it."
Sherlock swallowed. John didn't know that if yesterday he had come five minutes later, he would have had changed his mind.
"And I know that I keep pestering you about it," John continued, his other hand rested upon Sherlock's arm; his forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with puncture-marks. "And I know that you don't really want to stop-"
"I don't," he agreed. "But I'm willing to try, to make the effort."
He nodded. He wasn't going to need any sort of distraction from now on.
"Do you promise me? And not just for one day this time."
John smiled and leaned in to kiss him.
Maybe Sherlock was selfish, but at that moment, he didn't really care.