When it came to relationships, Sherlock didn’t see the point. They were merely unnecessary distractions that provided no substance. Trivial drivel that he didn’t want to take part in. If that meant he was labelled as a ‘freak,’ then so be it. Just another thing to add to that list.
On the top of that list, was the big, glaring word ‘transgender.’ His family had been fine with it. “What makes you happy, I suppose,” had been Mycroft’s words, echoed by his parents. Those around him weren’t exactly thrilled, however, Sherlock couldn’t tell if they were upset from his lack of social graces or otherwise.
‘Callous, rude, insensitive,’ were just a few adjectives that were commonly used to describe him. He wasn’t concerned with what others thought.
‘Heartless,’ was added to the list around age fourteen and persisted well into his university years. He turned down advances of both sexes. They weren’t interesting enough and he had more important things to do.
That was, until Victor Trevor came into his life. It wasn’t so much that he was attractive, rather it was Sherlock didn’t feel as annoyed by his presence than his other peers. He didn’t mind slowing down for him occasionally to explain his logic. It surprised everyone, including Victor, that Sherlock had allowed a relationship of sorts to form.
When he found himself in Victor’s bed not even a month after beginning to date the man, he was almost appalled with himself. Yet, he went through with it, another experiment, he claimed to himself. This time, he’d be testing his sexuality instead of his body’s effects to alcohol consumption.
It was, by far, the worst couple of weeks Sherlock had ever had. The sex was terrible, the feeling he got afterwards was absolutely revolting, and it was, by no means, worth it. His partner was fairly attractive. He knew Sherlock was transgender. He knew to ask before he did certain things. Still, when Sherlock pointed out that he had a very limited sexual experience, Victor took it upon himself to show Sherlock how to touch Victor, as he was more comfortable with his own body. Sherlock thought it was fine.
After his partner had climaxed, he was left on his own. His partner had said once they were finished, they had no desire to do anything else. “But you’re free to do as you please,” he’d said. Sherlock, uncomfortable with the notion that it wasn’t his bed, left unsatisfied and mildly sexually frustrated.
Honestly, he thought, it was a vile experience. The kissing was sloppy, at best, too much saliva, too much tongue. There was too much groping, too much touching. He felt nauseous and his head hurt. Honestly, how did anyone enjoy said experience? Why did humans put sex above everything else? Why would humans participate in such an act outside of reproduction? Sherlock truly didn’t see the appeal.
He tried just a couple more times. “It’ll get better,” he told himself. For it to be a valid experiment, it needed repeating, yes?
It didn’t get better. In fact, it got worse. His partner pushed for more, things he wasn’t comfortable with. Nothing to do with his own body, mind you. He did it, though, to please his partner, as uncomfortable as it made him. His body as just transport, right?
Each time, he left his partner’s room both unsatisfied and frustrated. He felt...odd. It wasn’t a good feeling, not in the least. He wanted to be alone, not that that was a new feeling, but it was borderline necessity. He never did like to be around large groups, but he felt, leaving that room, that he couldn’t even handle the presence of one other person.
Four times in total Sherlock tried before abandoning the experiment completely. He couldn’t take it again. He couldn’t take laying in that bed with his partner, sweaty, bored, and uncomfortable.
“Hey, that’s fine,” Victor had said with a hand on his knee. Even that subtle touch was making Sherlock uncomfortable and skittish. “If you don’t want to, then we won’t.”
Despite his acceptance, their relationship didn’t last long. He grew tired of Sherlock’s attitude and Sherlock grew tired of him and his distractions.
That had been his one and only sexual experience. Fifteen years later, he found himself at 221 B Baker street with one Doctor John Watson. Sherlock had had a few fleeting relationships since then, but none of them lasted more than a week. Trivial.
By this time in Sherlock’s life, he was comfortable and embraced both his asexuality and gender identity quite easily. He didn’t feel the need to share that information with anyone else, of course. It was his business how he went about injections, binding, and packing. It was his business, alone, not to feel any sort of sexual attraction to others.
So, when John asked about his personal life, Sherlock had made the comment about being married to his work. He enjoyed the work he did. He enjoyed the occasional challenge. It was the closest thing, he realized, to getting the satisfaction that others usually got from sex or other intimacy. It was a system that worked.
Still, John's quick comment, “It’s all fine,” had given Sherlock a comfort he hadn’t realized he wanted.
“I know it’s fine,” Sherlock had responded.
The comment about being unattached was what prompted Sherlock’s ‘married to my work’ comment.
“I’m not asking, I’m just saying. It’s all fine.”
“Oh. Okay.” Sherlock nodded once before he added a genuine, “Thank you.”
It was so easy to get along with John. Something about his laidback but attentive attitude appealed to Sherlock, for some reason he couldn’t seem to figure out. John put up with his blunt way of speaking to people. He even went so far as to compliment his observations! It felt natural.
But John, John gave him something to do! He still had bouts of ‘boring!’ but with John around, it was somewhat less tedious. Within hours of meeting him, they were bounding off down a dark avenue after a killer and Sherlock couldn’t have been more thrilled.
On their run back to what would become ‘home,’ Sherlock took a moment to text Angelo back at the restaurant with a slight smirk.
“That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done,” John had said once they were safely behind the closed door.
“And you invaded Afghanistan,” Sherlock found himself saying with a laugh. John, too, began laughing, high off endorphins and adrenaline.
“What are we doing now?”
“Just passing time. Proving a point.” And with that, there was a knock at the door.
Later that same evening, John learned another interesting titbit about his flatmate with the police sniffing around his flat for drugs. It had been a terrible habit he’d picked up after Victor. It wasn’t so much him driving him to do drugs, no, it was Sherlock’s own choice. Something that distracted him from overthinking and overanalysing certain thoughts.
John, the good man he was, tried vouching for a man he just met hours beforehand. The effort was valiant, however, unwarranted.
Curiosity won in the end with that particular case, even with the police sniffing around his apartment. Why was this cabbie so sure he could make Sherlock kill himself with mere words? What words could be powerful enough to make the logical, clearly not suicidal, Sherlock Holmes actually want to die? Certainly, he had a rocky past and a history of drug abuse, but what sequence of words could take him out of the content place he was currently and bring him to that state. Oh, that would be a game Sherlock wanted to participate in.
Someone else had other plans for Sherlock, however. He hadn’t even gotten the chance to test his hypothesis when someone had shot the cab driver through the chest, narrowly missing Sherlock. Judging quickly by the trajectory, the shooter had shot across the alley and into the room upon witnessing Sherlock in some sort of danger. The person was gone by the time Sherlock had checked the window.
Sitting in the back of the ambulance with a shock blanket over his shoulders, Sherlock began listing off the traits of the unknown shooter to Detective Inspector Lestrade. However, Sherlock, for once, was slow on the uptake upon settling his gaze on John Watson, his potential flatmate, on the site of the street.
“Never you mind. It’s just the shotck talking. I’m in shock, I’ve a blanket. I just caught you a serial killer,” Sherlock called over his shoulder as he made his way towards John. Out of earshot of Lestrade, Sherlock actually praised the man, “Good shot.”
“Yes, yes. Must have been, through that window,” John thought he was being subtle. Sherlock merely rolled his eyes.
“Well, you’d know. Did you get the gun powder from your fingers? Don’t think you’d serve time, but let’s avoid the court case. Are you all right?” They began walking down the street.
“Yes, of course I’m all right,” John said dismissively.
“Well, you have just killed a man,” Sherlock felt the need to point out. Perhaps it hadn’t sunken in just yet.
“Yes. But he wasn’t a very nice man; he was trying to kill you.” Sherlock looked over at him. John had met him and still hadn’t hesitated to kill a guy that was attempting to poison Sherlock. He couldn’t say that about very many people. Hell, he wasn’t even sure Lestrade would have done the same without some hesitation.
It was nice to have something to laugh about again. This didn’t happen very often, Sherlock thought, as they continued walking.
“Can’t be giggling at a crime scene,” John said sheepishly.
“You are the one who killed him.”
“Keep your voice down!” John said between fits of stifled laughter.
“It’s just nerves,” Sherlock announced to no one in particular as he discarded the mundane blanket.
“Would you have actually taken the pill?” John's voice took on a sobering quality.
“I was bidding my time, knew you’d come up.” It was a possibility, anyhow. It wasn’t something Sherlock was counting on, but coming down to it, he might have. However, the thought barely crossed his mind after the cabbie had died to just swallow the bloody pill. John didn’t need to know that, though. Not important.
“Dinner?” Sherlock offered.
Sherlock smiled and began leading him to a nearby Chinese place. It was in the down time between that case and the next interesting one that Sherlock and John got rather acquainted with each other’s’ living habits. John discovered Sherlock was usually quite lazy if there was no positive incentive for him doing any chores. For that reason, John usually did the dishes, cleaning up, and shopping while Sherlock focused on the experiments that may or may not have to do with a case.
But John began to expect most of Sherlock’s actions and gave up trying to see the logic behind his actions. It wasn’t uncommon for Sherlock to look over his shoulder at his laptop when in the common room or burst into his room during the day. At night, he at least had the decency to avoid such behaviors after John threw his pillow at him for waking him up.
John had a tendency to avoid Sherlock’s room. It wasn’t like him to go prying out of curiosity, unlike Sherlock. They didn’t exactly talk about themselves very often, except for what Sherlock would bring up on occasion. Sometimes, it was just a random question for John about some mundane part of his past. Usually the questions didn’t faze him; it was just another quirk he had come to accept while living with Sherlock.
Sherlock, obnoxious and manipulative, knew exactly how to conduct himself at times, John noticed. Sherlock usually didn’t care enough to act ‘appropriately’ (as John called it) with those around him, but John provided a slight buffer at times so he didn’t have to. It was yet another advantage of having John around to Sherlock.
At least, it was, until John decided Sarah’s presence was more enjoyable than his. Truthfully, he could see why. He wasn’t oblivious to sex or John's desire for sex. He may not understand it from a personal standpoint, but he understood the biological imperative John was seemingly following. That didn’t mean Sherlock was pleased about it.
John, who was so easily entertained by simple things, could surely see the appeal of a challenging case over some woman. Still, John came back to him and their flat so Sherlock couldn’t be too upset.
Sherlock had been putting his focus towards finding this Moriarty character the cabbie had mentioned to really worry about John's love life. After all, he had meant every word of the ‘married to my work’ comment.
If Sherlock hadn’t put it as blunt as that, John surely would have deduced it from his actions when the work he liked became a game he was keen on winning. Chasing after people certainly got the adrenaline running. Having John right there with him, made it even better than it had been previously.
Sarah quickly realized the danger of staying in John's life as a romantic partner. Sherlock couldn’t help but find himself relieved for some reason. He no longer had to fight for John's attention, not that he had to compete all that much. John made it easy. It wasn’t long before it was back to just them against the world.
In the quiet few months between exciting cases, their home life was rather domestic, more so than Sherlock was used to. Even John had to admit that despite Sherlock being a terrible flatmate, it was probably the coziest place he’d ever called ‘home.’
About three months into this arrangement, after a particularly long and hard chase through the streets of London, Sherlock found himself with John's mouth on his. It had been years since he’d last kissed anyone and it was sort of sprung on him, so it was a bit awkward at first. Thoughts flew through his head, excuses as to why John would think this was okay, the first being he was probably so sleep deprived that the adrenaline working its way through his system triggered a reaction of sort to release the remaining energy.
Clasping a hand to the back of John's—warm, comforting, home—neck, Sherlock just let it happen. It was a dark alley, no one to see John's lapse and Sherlock did enjoy the warmth it gave him.
It was about half a minute before John let him go. “Sorry—“ he started.
“It’s fine. It’s all fine,” Sherlock murmured simultaneously.
“John, I know,” Sherlock insisted. “We’re just not—“
“Yes,” John agreed without listening to the rest of Sherlock’s sentence. “Talking about it, no. It was just—“
“Adrenaline. The case. The excitement.” Sherlock nodded in understanding.
“I think I’m going to walk back to Baker Street,” John pressed his back against the brick wall next to Sherlock.
“Do you want me—“
“No. Take a cab, like you do.”
“It’s a long walk.”
“Great.” John looked over at him expectantly. Sherlock got the idea and left John alone in the alleyway.