Life with Sherlock being what it was, John was more than happy to get out of the flat that night to reconnect with an old acquaintance.
He hadn’t seen James Bond since their military service, although they had exchanged a few phone calls over the years, a few cards, a few emails, to keep the illusion of their friendship going.
Not that their friendship was an illusion. But without seeing each other in years, it was a little bit of a stretch to pretend they were still as close as they used to be.
Which was why John had been delighted when, phoning James on the off chance as Sherlock was being particularly unbearable, he discovered that he was in London and very ready to go out for a drink.
“Damn you!” John laughed when he spotted James waiting for him at the bar, dressed casually but looking positively dashing. “You stayed fit; you make me look like an old lazy-ass.”
“Well.” James answered, slapping him on the back cheerfully. “Your lazy ass in not limping anymore, so I’d say that’s an improvement.”
“True.” John smiled.
They talked for a while, about everything and nothing in particular, until James came back on the subject of the now-gone limp.
“So, who’s the good influence in your life?” He asked. “Please don’t tell me it’s your talented shrink.”
“No.” John laughed. “It’s my flatmate – well, I’m not sure good influence really collocates with him. But he’s a madman, and I’m never bored, so I really don’t have time to remember I have a psychosomatic limp.”
James hummed appreciatively.
“Tell me more.”
“It’s not like that.” John denied. “We’re just friends. Which is already saying a lot for him, trust me.”
“He sounds like a charmer.” James sneered.
John proceeded on defending Sherlock, trying to paint a more positive yet still accurate picture. The balance was rather difficult to strike.
“I see.” James said at the end of the exposition.
“You see what?”
“You are so taken with this guy you convinced yourself being friends was good enough because you were afraid it could be nothing instead.”
John opened his mouth to protest, but James cut him off.
“Don’t try to deny it, the exact same thing happened to me, I know what I’m talking about. I worked it out, so there’s hope for you and your detective.”
It successfully distracted John’s intention.
“You? James Bond, settling down? Fancy that. Oh but I doubt it ‘the exact same thing’.”
“Actually.” James answered. “You’d be surprised at how similar it is. Guy – yes, guy, close your mouth. Guy I work with, total genius, therefore completely inapt at normal human interaction, so even friendship was sort of a win, until, well. It became clear we had both been thinking about the next step. Some months ago. It’s going well.”
“You are dating a guy?” John picked up, baffled. “You, are dating, a guy?”
“I know.” James sighed. “But if I may remark, John Watson, you are in love with your flatmate. The heart wants what the heart wants. I stopped trying to fight it, you should too.”
“I’m not gay.” John protested tepidly.
“Neither am I. But the fact is I want Q.”
“Q?” John repeated.
“Yeah.” James shrugged. “Secret services, you know. I think it suits him.”
John frowned, and after a moment of silence, he asked:
“You don’t actually know his name do you?”
James winced ever so slightly.
“Secret services.” He repeated as a justification.
“You don’t know your own boyfriend’s name!” John exclaimed, unsure if he should laugh, be mad or be sorry. “For crying out loud.”
“Yeah, get back to me when you have the guts to ask yours out.” James snapped back teasingly.
“It’s more complicated than that.” John sighed.
“Maybe he feels just the same about you, you know.”
“Hm.” John snuffed. “You haven’t met him.”
“Let me meet him. I’m a good reader of people. Then I can tell you how he feels.”
John couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Oh James, as far as readers of people are concerned, I’m afraid Sherlock would kick your ass in about the time you need to down a martini. Besides.” He added with less glee. “He doesn’t feel.”
James ignored the attack on his ego and focused on his friend instead.
“John, this is not like you to give up without even trying.”
“I will not make a fool of myself for the sake of trying.”
“I’ve got an idea.” James smiled mischievously.
“Oh, I’m not sure I want to hear it.”
“Let’s double date.”
“Double... I’m not even... This is a stupid-ass idea, Bond.”
“No, think about it. When your Shylock sees that-”
“Sherlock.” John corrected.
“Sherlock.” James rolled his eyes. “When he sees Q and me together, it might be the little push he needs for things to click into place. You and I are the same type of man, and from what you tell me of your darling and as far as I know Q, they are quite similar too. He’ll be able to relate. It’ll put the possibility in his mind, then you just have to ask.”
John shook his head, looking almost sorry, as if James was really speaking nonsense.
“It’s not like he doesn’t know couples exist.” He said.
“Yes, but this time he’ll have direct comparison. Him being frigid, and Q opposite him being the lethal combination of a complete genius and my sexy boyfriend. I can throw in a few shady allusions to our time in the army to make him jealous.”
John was still frowning dubiously.
“Nothing happened between us in the army.” He reminded his friend.
“Does he need to know that?” James smirked.
“I’m not sure it would work on him.”
“Come on!” James insisted. “What do you have to lose? If he’s as uncompromising as you make him sound, you’ll just go back to your platonic domestic partnership. But if it sparks the smallest reaction in him, then you’re in for the win, Johnny.”
John had a pout.
“Come on.” James repeated. “If only because I’m curious to meet the man who made you fall.”