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50 Johnlock fics

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Prompt 1:Weakness


John gave Sherlock a quick glance from the safety of the reflection in the mirror. It wasn't often that the two of them had a case that would require actually doing a social activity. Especially not one where dressing up was not only advised, but a necessity. When he first heard that they would be in costume he was fine. No big deal, just your average Halloween party, apart from the whole murderer bit.

He hadn't really anticipated that Sherlock would be providing his costume because in Sherlock's words "I doubt you can emulate or create for that matter anything appropriate." He was used to it by now, the ridiculous whims of Sherlock Holmes were something he was secretly quite fond of. Eventually he had come to terms with even that, mainly because this party was going to be risqué to put it lightly and he honestly looked forward to seeing what ridiculously terrible outfits Sherlock would produce. He went back to watching Sherlock in the mirror as he laid a bag on John's bed and went straight back to his own, with a similar bag in his hands. John finished his teeth and almost ran to his room. He had not seen either costume and they were to be leaving in thirty minutes.

Ripping open the bag and pulling on his costume, John had to admit that Sherlock had great taste. It was a simple costume, tight fitting navy suit pants, a white and navy striped t-shirt that hugged the muscles in his biceps and a white captains hat , all of which had a small gold anchor embroidered on them somewhere. John was pretty snug in it, but that was the point, after all he was wearing a very large amount of clothing.

"Sherlock! We'd better get going, was it not you who complained about being bored?" John was waiting in the kitchen, trying to think what Sherlock would possibly be wearing a that took so long to put on when Sherlock strode in. Wearing jodphurs, cowboy boots and hat and nothing else. His entire upper body was on display. "Sherlock... You look..." John struggled to find the words to say exactly his magnificent he looked. He looked away, knowing full well that Sherlock would detect every indecent thought he was having about tearing off those leather trousers and taking him right there, because that would make Sherlock uncomfortable and he didn't want that. He'd come to terms with the fact that his flatmate was unreachable. His lower half was having none of that.

Fuck. Sherlock raised an arched brow and took a step closer as John attempted to move behind the counter, praying that Sherlock hadn't seen the physical manifestation of his thoughts. A slight smirk had broken out on Sherlock's face as he cornered John, his half naked body pressed so close yet not quite touching John's. "Did you know" Sherlock murmured in a low baritone "that I have quite a weakness for sailors? Especially consulting bloggers?"

Sherlock pressed closer still and he met John's eyes. They were blazing, pupils eclipsing all but the tiniest ring of blue. John's lips were on his in a heartbeat, and Sherlock was melting into him, hands straying, heart pounding, limbs all entirely focused on this new, lust filled John almost forgot that they were wearing the costumes for a reason, so blank had John rendered his mind. Sherlock was surprised to find he had a physical reaction to John's every move, and having the constraining jodphurs on was the only reason he remembered the case, because it had been more than a little difficult to get them off. He broke away from John, looking a little dazed. "Apparently I have a weakness for consulting cowboy detectives" John breathed into him as they tried to compose themselves. There was always after the case, plus it was added incentive to finish quickly.

Sherlock was confident that he could be done within five minutes of arriving. Had to get there to finish, and a taxi was the only option. Calming down a bit was the only solution because the taxi driver would not be pleased to see that. Sherlock made a mental note to keep the shirt John was wearing. It was what had spurred him forward, apparently the fitted quality was something of a turn on. That in itself intrigued him. It called for more... Testing. After all, A quality experiment had at least three repetitions.

 

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Prompt 2:Bruises


Jim Moriarty knew exactly how to get Sherlock. It all started with a pool. John was unsuspecting, but then how many people expect a madman to take them hostage? Something about the pleasure Jim was taking in strapping the bombs to his body was confusing. John could see the red dot on his torso and it was the only reason he was not recoiling from the slither of Jim's hands over his skin. "Oooooh not a fan of that are we not Johnny boy? Poor pet doesn't like to be touched? How very ironic." Jim said liltingly, his eyes glittering with laughter.

John felt his grip tightening around his wrist, his throat threatening to release a cry of pain. John wouldn't let himself do that. He was a soldier, something he repeated continually in his head as Moriarty crushed first his wrists and then punched him in the face. A soldier. "You're no fun at aaaallll John, Sherlock needs to discipline you better." Jim laughed, looking at his watch. His grin widened as he pushed an earpiece into John's ear and shoved his purple wrists into the coat sleeves. "You say whatever I tell you to. One word different and BOOM both of you will die!" Moriarty zipped up the jacket as Sherlock's voice rang out from the pool. Jim pushed John out of the cubicle and into the darkened pool.

Sherlock's eyes filled with pain when he saw John, heard him speaking. John felt a stab in his chest when he realised that Sherlock thought he was Moriarty. It hurt more than it should have. Jim was laughing when he told John to unzip the coat, putting the bomb in full view of the detective. The impassive mask returned to Sherlock easily, but not before John caught worry and terror in his eyes. Through the whole ordeal Sherlock's eyes never left his, his gaze never faltered. When the red dots appeared on Sherlock, that made John really angry. No one got to threaten his Sherlock. "my Sherlock?" he thought to himself before forming a plan.

In a split second Moriarty was in his arms. "Go Sherlock, run!" Sherlock didn't move. He shook his head almost imperceptibly, as if to say I won't leave you John. I will never leave you. Sherlock's hand was quivering slightly, the gun clenched tightly in his fist pointing directly at Moriarty. The sound of "Staying alive" blasted into the air and Jim looked almost apologetic as he picked up the phone. "If you're lying I will skin you" he yelled, walking away. No sooner had he left did the snipers disappear.

Sherlock was on his knees in front of John, tearing the coat away, frantically unhooking the vest and throwing it away from them. He grabbed John's wrists and frowned at the grimace the John could not hide. Gently he peeled back his sleeves to reveal the palette of blues and purples that covered John's wrists in the shape of two hands. Sherlock was furious, his eyes blazed with hatred and, something else. John staggered as Sherlock's hands found his hips and his lips were on his neck. "Sherlock! Wh-what are you do- oohh" John found his hands tangled in Sherlock's soft curls, his mouth begging him to continue the assault on his neck. Sherlock nipped and sucked at the smooth skin with a hunger he usually reserved for cases. His hands crushed John against him, but John liked it. The pure strength that Sherlock exuded was unbearable and had John writhing against the wall. "You. Are. Mine!" Sherlock whispered into his neck. Everyone should know John belonged to him, if marking him was the only way to show it, Sherlock would cover him in marks. When he finally broke away, satisfied with his efforts, John was in shock. The handprints on his hips were Sherlock's own, bruised evenly so the colour would be plain. A navy blue, similar to his scarf. "Mine." He whispered as their lips met. "Yours" John choked out before succumbing to the need of the man against him.

Mycroft was blushing heavily in his office, his eyes had just located Sherlock minutes ago and the video feed was... Not unexpected, but a surprise none the less. "Anthea?" "Mhmm?" "Send something for bruising to Baker street for me, I believe they will be needing it."

 

Chapter Text

"Don't talk to me"


Sherlock was furious. Who gave Mycroft the right to bring him here against his will? It was only a scratch, if he could go home John would take care of it in moments. Sherlock felt a pang of guilt when he thought about John. He had run off that morning without saying where he was going or what he was doing and John would wake up to find him gone again. To top it off if John had have been there the whole stabbing incident would have been avoided. Not that Sherlock was going to admit that.

He found himself lying on an antique sofa in Mycroft's home. He made an extra effort to bleed on it in areas that would be difficult to clean. He knew it was a lucky thing that he had managed to remain conscious long enough to force the medics away from him. Only John got to patch him up. The wound went from his fifth rib down to his thigh and was bleeding steadily, a constant stream of blood ran down his right side. At least the perpetrator had been an amateur with a knife. If he had his usual weapons Sherlock may not have survived. Wincing slightly, Sherlock began to file away the sensory information he had received, this was a wound type he had not yet experienced. Cataloging it was of the utmost importance.

He was just finished when the door opened and Mycroft strolled in. Sherlock scowled into the sofa cushions. Not who he wanted to come through the door right now. "Sherlock I must admit I was rather surprised when I saw you on the tapes, running about by yourself after a mad man, but then of course I remembered it was you and the scenario seemed... Appropriate. I must say that I did wonder where had gotten to, I know he would not be pleased to learn of your current condition, especially when he's already a slave to his emotions where you're involved." Mycroft smirked, twirling his umbrella in a manner that made Sherlock want to punch him. "Don't talk to me" Mycroft laughed dryly as his phone buzzed in his pocket "It's not me that you should be worried about talking to" he said putting it to his ear.

"Ah! , to what do I owe the pleasure?" Sherlock could only hear a low rumble from his spot on the couch but the grin on Mycroft's face probably meant John was worried about him. "Actually John, he's here with me...an unfortunate incident with a suspect...treatment? obviously not you know as well as I the stubborn ways...of course, I can send someone for you...A car will arrive in three minutes. Good day ." Mycroft wheeled around "Sounds like the dear doctor is anxious for your safety. Apparently you are the most idiotic genius he's ever met. I think I'm growing to like this one, we agree on so many important issues." Sherlock said nothing, the pain was starting to become more intense and he was in no mood to deal with Mycroft.

The clack of the umbrella faded into the distance and Sherlock was left alone once more. He felt drowsy, but because he did not know whether that was due to the conclusion of the case or due to blood loss he would not allow himself to sleep. He was glad he'd foregone his coat that morning as it would have been hellishly difficult to clean all the blood stains out of it. John would arrive soon and Sherlock wanted to look as good as possible to avoid the worst of his anger. That being said it was more difficult that he anticipated to roll onto his back without widening the cut. In the end he simply endured the pain and lay panting on his back.

The door opened a second time and Sherlock had his eyes closed "I said don't talk to me" he spat in the general direction of the door. "I hope that was meant for Mycroft because you'll be lucky if all I do is talk to you." John muttered as he made his way across to Sherlock's side with stitches and bandages. "John I" John shook his head "Later. Right now you're a patient and I'm going to treat you like that. Treatment first, everything else after." John used his most commanding voice and Sherlock was not in any state to argue. Carefully John lowered himself onto the couch and lifted Sherlock into an upright position and then sat at his side, hands fluttering gently over his skin. "This will sting quite a bit" he said through gritted teeth as he ran the needle through Sherlock's skin. John was not enjoying inflicting the pain anymore than Sherlock enjoyed feeling it.

The gash was long and wide, but not too deep. That was all John could think while he spent twenty minutes sewing Sherlock's side back together. The sheen

of sweat that covered Sherlock's brow curbed most of the anger he had been planning on taking out. Wrapping the bandage around him, John pressed a soft kiss to his forehead. "You're an idiot" he whispered before standing up. Sherlock reached up and grabbed his wrists, fear in his eyes. "Are you leaving?" John looked conflicted but eventually he settled. "No. I'm about to carry you to bed so you can sleep." Sherlock smiled sleepily at him and snuggled into John's neck when he lifted him up. "You know *yawn* I think I love you John" Sherlock murmured as John tucked him in. Even though Sherlock was already passed out John whispered in his ear "I know. I love you too Sherlock."

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Prompt 4:Bribe


"Sherlock what are doing? Is that my jumper?" John had just come home from the clinic to find a lump on the couch, wrapped in a sheet and his favourite jumper. John hung his coat up and went to sit down in the armchair but a hand caught his wrist as he walked by. "Sherlock? Are you alright?" Sherlock rolled over to face John. He was shivering and even paler now than usual, his lips were a lilac colour that gave him an alien quality. "I believe that I may have subjected myself to hypothermia" Sherlock managed to get out through chattering teeth. John took his pulse and swore at the freezing temperature of his skin.

"Right. Bed now. I'll bring you some things to help you get warm again okay?" Sherlock nodded and heaved himself up. As soon as he got to his feet he crumpled but John was already there, picking him up with ease. "I know you hate it but I'm going to have to carry you" he said, moving slowly to Sherlock's room. "No I want to go to your room" Sherlock said, pouting slightly. "Fine my room then" John sighed and turned around. Climbing the stairs was difficult considering Sherlock had such awkward limbs that he could barely maneuver through the door.

It was actually a better idea to have him in John's room. It was cosy and warm, and assortment of blankets and pillows were tucked in military precision on his bed. Afghanistan had made him crave heat. John laid Sherlock down on the bed and pulled a couple of blankets over him. Sherlock was still shivering. "I'llbe right back, I'm getting some tea and a hot water bottle for you okay?" Sherlock's lack of response generally meant yes so John trundled downstairs and flicked the kettle on. There was one surefire way to help Sherlock back to a human temperature but it would be awkward in the extreme for John. He'd have to focus very hard on anything but what he was doing.

Maybe soup would be a good plan, something warm in his stomach would do Sherlock good. After all he barely ate anything. All John had to do was get into doctor mode and it would be fine. Just keep telling yourself that he muttered to himself as he lifted the tray upstairs. Sherlock had not improved any while he had been gone. If anything he was worse. John sighed and began stripping off. "Wh-what are you doing John?" John focused very hard on untieing his laces. "Body heat is the most effective way of fixing hypothermia, and seeing as I'm the only body available..." Sherlock was staring at him when he pulled off his trousers.

Think of things you hate, ugly people, your aunt Mary, anything but the almost naked man you're about to get into bed with. John lifted the blankets he had covered Sherlock with and slid beneath them, his chest to Sherlock's back. John shuffled closer and wrapped his arms around Sherlock's torso, threading his legs around Sherlock's own. Sherlock sighed audibly and sank into the embrace. John took the opportunity to bury his face in Sherlock's curls, breathing in the scent that was oh so Sherlock.

After a few minutes Sherlock was back to an almost normal temperature. John tried to give him the soup but Sherlock recoiled. It was late and John was too tired to try and force him to eat it, so he made to leave. "John?" Sherlock said, voice muffled by the pillows. "Yeah Sherlock ?" "If I eat the soup will you stay?" John was taken aback. "What?" Sherlock groaned. "If I eat the soup will you lie with me again?" John contemplated it for a while. On one hand Sherlock needed to eat something and John would be happy if he ate even a tiny amount. On the other... Lying with him like that... If he would never get to do it for real, he might as well savour the one time he did. "Alright. Eat it and I'll stay."

John sat back and watched in awe as Sherlock propped himself up and downed most of the soup in one gulp, and the rest of it in a second. Then Sherlock lay back down, fluffed the pillows and patted the space beside him, a genuine smile on his face. John bit back a laugh and climbed back into the bed. "You didn't have to bribe me you know, you could have just asked me to stay." Sherlock frowned. "Would you have stayed if I'd asked?" "Of course." "Oh. And... If I asked you again would you do it again? Even if I wasn't sick?" John smirked "Yes" Sherlock rolled over to face John "You won't mind if people talk?" "No, not if what they're saying is true" Sherlock stayed silent for a while and John thought he had fallen asleep.

"John?" "Yes Sherlock?" "Is it not good that I like having you closer to me, like you were earlier?" John shook his head."No that's fine, most people like having the people they like near them." John nearly hit himself for the insinuation, no way to take it back now though. Again there was prolonged silence. "Would you... Say that you like me?" Sherlock's eyes were wide and innocent, a vulnerability seeped from him. John did not hesitate in his answer, honesty was the only way forward. "Yes Sherlock, I do like you. Since the first time we met I liked you, surprisingly enough." Sherlock smiled brightly. "Good. I like you too. Now what do we do?" John shrugged. It was good to know that Sherlock liked him too but it was a huge step to go from friends to more than that. "We'll think about it in the morning ok? Let's just get some sleep." John closed his eyes and started to drift off when he felt Sherlock's skin against his own, shuffling back into his body. John moved his arms around Sherlock and pulled him closer. "Night Sh'lock" Sherlock nestled closer. "Goodnight John."

 

 

Chapter Text

Prompt 5:Sinner

It had been an interesting case, an eight on the scale for the sheer vastness of the population involved. Then again, even John had known to try the funeral home for the killer, but John was smarter than most anyway. It had been hilarious to see the blank stare in Anderson's eyes when John had mentioned that. Sherlock had never been happier to be a small step behind. The glorious thing was that the case didn't end there. Oh no, the whole spree went so much deeper than that. Paul, or rather Pauline, was the original killer but her victim, a seemingly innocent man had not been a "random" kill. It was a hit, sent out by the large scale gambling ring that Pauline was indebted to. They too had received orders from elsewhere, and the trafficking ring that had grown in the sewers of London (Sherlock made a note to warn John next time they were going somewhere like that. The tears in John's eyes as they sprinted through had made him very angry) did not spring from nothing. An entire week and a half later and they had reached the top tier. The trail had lead to one place most people would not have even thought of. Sherlock had suspected after day three but "evidence" was what Lestrade had wanted, evidence was what he'd get.

John rubbed a hand over his eyes when he thought Sherlock wasn't looking, he hadn't had sleep in a good five days, not that he would even dream of complaining, not when Sherlock was so vibrant. It was the case of a life time and the number of people they had saved from criminals and... Slaves they'd freed had personally thanked them both. John had gotten to know some of them, mainly because he was a doctor first before a blogger and it was in those sewers that he had forced Sherlock to stop, just for an hour. Just so he could help these people. Sherlock had taken one look at him and nodded, dashing home and returning in minutes with a medical kit and help on the way. Sherlock had even broken his strict no unecessary physical contact during cases rule to give John a hug and a quick peck.

He sighed inwardly. It was irritating in the extreme that he could not trust himself to focus if a small amount of John time was on offer. He'd consume John if he could, just so he would never have to be without his presence, so he could always feel their hearts beating against each other, and see that crooked smile that made his own mouth curve upward involuntarily. In the backseat of the taxi Sherlock could feel the tiredness oozing out of John and again he was left feeling guilty. John only stayed up for him, making sure he wasn't alone, guarding doors or entrances when Sherlock was absent in his own mind. He contemplated for a moment and then pressed a soft kiss on John's lips. "Thank you" John's hand curled around his waist and pulled him closer "No need, honestly" he replied, instantly sitting straighter as they trundled down the crammed streets.

"Where are we headed exactly Sherlock?" Sherlock gave John the how-on-earth-have-you-not-figured-it-out-yet stare before launching into a brief overview of why they were going to the West London Christian brothers church. John peppered the conversation with various brilliant and amazings. Sherlock made the executive decision to keep one small inkling to himself. He needed to see the man for himself to know for certain, and he wanted to be positive. The taxi pulled to a halt outside the modest stone building and John quickly payed, jogging to catch Sherlock as he made his way to the park bench across the way. A stake out would be perfect, plus it was almost sunny and would be warm for another few hours at least.

John sank into the seat happily, not saying a word. Sherlock appreciated John's consideration, it just showed how well matched they were that he would sit in total silence without being told off anymore. Sherlock watched the people who strolled through the park, counting four unhappy marriages, two unwittingly pregnant women, A police man with a crush on his superior (The ID said he worked in NSY. Obviously Lestrade. Sherlock put away that information for Mycroft torture later) and several members of a high profile swingers club during the two hours they sat. He was about to suggest a different spot when he saw it.

A boy (16 years old, single mother, former addict, three young siblings, lives in the outskirts of London, forced to participate in religious activities by counsellor), entering the church, his shoulders quaking slightly with fear. Ah. He had been right then. He wished a little bit that he had been wrong. Now they had to wait for the real man they were looking for. And Sherlock had a great idea about how to get him to show himself to them. "My phone John" he said, palm outstretched. John smiled lightly and reached into his coat pockets for the phone. Sherlock sent a quick text to Lestrade who replied almost instantly. 10 minutes before the police would arrive. Sherlock got to his feet and pulled John up with him. In the corner of his eye he spotted a severe looking man in religious garb, only about 47, an outlier in the bell curve of the age of people in religious orders.

Smirking at John he closed the small distance between them and pressed his lips softly against John's. As always John was very responsive, and he almost made Sherlock forget what they were doing with his very skilled ministrations. "Sinners! The two of you are headed straight to hell! You'll burn for eternity for your actions!" The man had very nearly pulled them apart, his eyes bulging with indignation. John was blushing slightly, but Sherlock turned quickly and stared at the man. "Father, just the man I wanted to see. How strange of you to be so vocal, after all you participated in a much more ungodly act a mere thirty minutes ago and you're about to become a repeat offender." Sherlock wanted to gag. He could see everything on the man and it disgusted him. Keeping up the façade was difficult, but ordinary idiots didn't deserve to know that he had feelings.

The priest was bristling with fury now, but behind his eyes was a fear, like a deer in the headlights of a car. "Those boys are terrified of you, and rightly so judging by the strength of your whipping arm." Sherlock could see the cogs turning in John's head and he knew the exact moment it all clicked into place, John's face went completely blank. Perfect Sherlock thought to himself. A beating would be a nice send off for the sadistic paedofile. "Be my guest John" he muttered and John was moving forward, pushing the priest back into the church. Sherlock followed, skipping gleefully. John hadn't beaten up anyone in ages. It was one of his favourite qualities in John, his ability to carefully assault people who truly deserved it so that they were in great pain, but it didn't look as if he had actually done very much at all. The signature closing punch in the face was his favourite part. The grunts were muffled but he knew John was letting loose. Child abuse was the worst offence in his mind, equalled by nothing except perhaps sexual abuse. Pair the two together... Sherlock only stepped in when he heard footsteps on the gravel outside.

Lestrade sighed deeply when he saw John blowing gently on his knuckles, Sherlock's arms around his waist. "Do I need to call an ambulance for him?" He gestured to the priest who was being cuffed by the same officer that Sherlock had seen earlier. He snorted a bit, Lestrade had no clue, this would make for good fun with Mycroft later. "No. He'll be in pain but the injuries are superficial." John said. "Mostly" he whispered just loud enough for Sherlock to hear.

Later on, when they finally arrived home John immediately made his way to the shower. "John?" Sherlock was confused by that, usually tea came first. He had been watching John intently the whole way home and his expressive face showed something not unlike discomfort for the majority of the journey home. He heard John stifle a laugh. "I have to wash away my sins" and John exploded with laughter. Sherlock waited paitently for him to finish, holding back a smile. "Is that why you looked so uncomfortable? You've been waiting to make that joke all evening?" John could only nod as he wiped tears out of his eyes. "Sorry! Oh God that was just... It was too ironic!" John had sobered significantly when he spoke next. "Going to hell, if there is one, wouldn't be too bad would it?"Sherlock pressed him back against the wall "At least there's criminals, genii and an abundance of sex available in hell. After all we'd be there forever!" He whispered, his voice low, directly into John's ear. That tone alone was almost too much, but putting it with Sherlock talking about sex? John was dragging him to the bedroom in seconds. Sinfully good.

 

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Prompt 6:Perfume 


Now now now now now now now now now now. Sherlock's senses were screaming at him, dragging him down, demanding satisfaction, release. The only type of release he had ever known. John had been gone for two weeks now, he had left in a fit of anger and not returned since. Mrs. Hudson was also away, in the company of her ailing sister who was destined to die within the month. Sherlock was alone in Baker street, but he had been alone for much longer than that. His whole life had been one long tangent of being alone, finding someone who could perhaps be a friend and then burning that bridge. First Mycroft, now his John... Sherlock curled in tighter, hugging his knees against his chest as he had done for so many years, the position almost second nature, his muscle memory had not forgotten even after all this time the comfort the stillness had once offered him. Not anymore. Comfort was John and lumpy jumpers and the smell of tea and a crooked grin and a pat on the arm and an inappropriate giggle. Tonight comfort was absent, it had been for 12.5 nights now.

His mind was stagnating in his skull even now, there was no John to occupy his every thought, no case to satisfy his hunger. The lights in 221 Baker street had not been turned on for six days now. Darkness seemed apt, it was supposed to numb him, dull his senses until he couldn't lie to himself about the only real solution. Seven years sober. He had promised himself, Mycroft, Lestrade, John never to go back. Yet the resolve was fading, crumbling more with each passing minute. They would be so disappointed. Just like every one always was, Mummy about his wasted talents, Mycroft about his lack of interest, Lestrade at his calculating ways, John at his occasional cutting comments. Sherlock was one massive disappointment, adding one more item to the long list would not matter. No one would be there to chastise him anyway, they wouldn't find out. There were at least three trustworthy dealers in the direct vicinity, and even with Mycroft's eyes Sherlock could hide. He was never found if he didn't want to be.

His coat, his scarf, too conspicuous and they reminded him of John, cases. Must have been sentiment but he did not want to taint those memories with this. Instead he slunk carefully into John's room and pulled on one of his rattiest old jumpers, one he never wore in Sherlock's presence and likely hadn't worn for years. His scent was not laced into the fabric. Perfect for this purpose, to conceal the small sack of cocaine he would acquire. London was dark and foreboding, holding it's breath, moving in slow motion through a vacuum. He hugged his arms closer to himself, moving blithely through the shadows. The cast iron door embedded into the crippled brickwork hid the seedy truth of his past. The highs and ecstasies, crashing lows, unpleasant deeds and abuse all lay waiting behind the door. Three sharp raps in quick succession and a purple eye appeared at the glass eye piece as the bolt was slid open. The leathery face wrinkled up into a leacherous smile. Before the man could say anything obvious Sherlock cut across him. He simply held out his hand. The small bag dropped in his palm, the feeling so intrinsically familiar, a perfect gram. Sherlock thrust some cash into the eager hands and turned, fleeing on his heels back to Baker street.

He sat staring at the small bag of powder for a long time on the ground by the sofa, air filling with the perfume of guilt and need. In the back of his mind he wondered how John hadn't smelled it every time Sherlock tried to talk to him about feelings. Then again, John had left him, just like all people do, and admitting that he loved him would not change that fact. Sherlock did not want to feel. Not anymore. With that, he opened the bag with trembling fingers. On his back, staring up at the ceiling, unseeing, Sherlock never heard the clatter of heavy footfalls on old stairs. He did not acknowledge the familiar voice calling out to him from the stairs, though the sounds were more beautiful than any melody. He did not move when his love dropped everything to run to him, nor when the doctor diagnosed him with shaking hands. He barely heard anything at all, but his body knew John was there, hands running through his curls, soft tears falling against his skin, the air perfumed once more subconsciously by need and guilt. His mind was a million miles away, racing down thousands of paths every second. John however had to sit, mind focusing on one topic: how he had failed Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock barely registered that John was moving him, propping his torso up and shimmying back against the wall before pulling Sherlock against him, sitting with Sherlock between his legs and holding him, soothing himself more than anything. John knew he shouldn't have left for the relief trip angry, but Sherlock had been ignoring him. The lack of mobile coverage in Somalia had been a struggle, but useful too. John couldn't imagine he would have been able to avoid telling his flatmate that he was in love with him via text just to avoid the turmoil he had gone through not knowing if it was all one sided. He had come home early to do just that. To tell him. "I love you Sherlock, even if you don't love yourself. I'm here. I will always come back. Always." He whispered into the dark curls against his shoulders. "I will fight for you" he murmured, knowing that it would be a fight to contain this relapse. Sherlock had was still out of it, John could almost see his mind working."Most importantly, I will wait." John wiped a stray tear off his face. And he waited.

 

Chapter Text

Prompt 7:Dice


John sighed and downed another pint, shaking heavy raindrops from his hair. There was no escaping the revelation that had shaken the very foundation of his life. In truth he had known since he was a teenager that he was bi, but women were his poison of choice. But then he'd crashed into Mike and now... "Sherlock bloody Holmes" he muttered darkly into his rapidly emptying glass. At first it had been un-noticable, after all John had his dates and women offered him them all the time. Yet after a while the whole thing would sour and they all said the same thing: that he was in love with Sherlock. Denial only gets you so far and when Sarah had sat him down and gone through all the signs with him, there was no hope for denial anymore.

It was true. He was in love with a madman who was obnoxious and socially inept and down right rude to most people, but not to him. To him he was brilliant and trusting, vulnerable and guarded, caring about so many people but labelling himself a sociopath to avoid the emotions that he'd have to face otherwise. Only a person of questionable sanity would even think of Sherlock as less than a lunatic with a death wish... "But he said danger and here I am" John snorted to himself. His sanity was questionable at best. He groaned into his hands. The conversation (well was it really a conversation? More a lecture in how much of an idiot he was) with Sarah had been two weeks ago and now he couldn't look Sherlock in the eye without thinking about it, and seeing as Sherlock observed everything avoidance was the only viable option. He'd started taking extra shifts at the clinic, night shifts too, just to stay away. It was lonely enough and he hated to admit the pang of longing that went through him when he thought about Sherlock at home alone. He brushed that aside quickly enough, Sherlock would barely have noticed he was gone most of the time. In fact now that he thought about it he'd gone for four entire days without once seeing the detective at all. It both impressed and saddened him that he was able to achieve this so easily.

"But why? I don't understand Mycroft! It's not like he moved out, I can tell that he's here for a few hours at a time but then he leaves before I get back or wake up. It's not exactly as if I know what I did, though most times I don't..." Mycroft sat silent in the armchair, tapping his umbrella against the floorboards and waiting for Sherlock to finish pacing. "Sherlock have you possibly considered that it is not you who has done something?" Sherlock twirled around "A new girlfriend? But surely he would have worn nicer clothes and smelled less like the clinic" Mycroft sighed. "I meant that he has done something, although I dare say that Sarah woman played her part... You must have figured it out by now surely." Sherlock wracked his brain but nothing came. He looked so lost, and with what was coming next Mycroft decided to take pity on him, just this once. "Sherlock sit down. From what my sources can gather two weeks ago Sarah got tired of watching idly by while John was oblivious to certain facts, so she had a long discussion with him about it and apparently John reached the desired conclusion, although he didn't look pleased, more ill than anything else" Mycroft drawled at the befuddled detective. "What could John have been oblivious about that Sarah would have noticed?"

Mycroft bit back the urge to laugh. His brother may have been a genius but at this he was most certainly not. "Will I tell you? I don't know if you'll appreciate it brother." Sherlock glared at him "Oh don't be so dramatic Mycroft, it's not a good colour on you." " John is, and has been for quite some time now, rather infatuated with you. I may add that you are exactly as 'mad for him' as he is for you" Sherlock opened his mouth to reply, a witty, cutting retort, perhaps about his weight or maybe even how Lestrade had forgotten his name the other day, but nothing came out. His mind was processing the information at double speed. Of course he had noticed his own attraction to his John, after all it was difficult to ignore when you awoke to it staring you in the face. Yet John felt the same way? That was... how could it have slipped past him? Unless of course Mycroft was lying. "I am not lying Sherlock. I do have a veritable list of sources and more than enough video footage to prove it to you." Proof. That was logical, easy to understand. "Show me."

Greg plopped himself down on the stool across from John and waited for him to acknowledge his presence. " Alright Greg?" Greg laughed slightly and gestured to John "Pretty sure you're the one that needs to be asked if they're alright." John smiled. A quick look to the men sitting a few tables down and two new pints sat on the table in front of them, courtesy of the "young chaps down there." Lestrade winked slyly at them and turned his attention back to John. "So. Out with it. I haven't so much as heard from you in a week. What's up?" Contemplating lying for a minute, John groaned and spilled the beans. Greg nodded and looked sympathetic. "... And so I now, unfortunately, can't look at the man without thinking about it and if I think it he sees it and if he saw ... It would just make things more awkward and I don't want to put him in that position you know? Doesn't help that I've loved the bastard for a good year now without knowing it. Waking up was very unpleasant for a few days to say the least." Lestrade knew exactly where he was coming from. " Tell me about it. Apparently the British government likes to make an appearance in my mind more often than even you could deem appropriate. God we're well and truly fucked aren't we?" John raised his glass and took a long gulp. Despite his stature, John could hold a substantial amount of alcohol and he wasn't even tipsy yet. It was more a symbolic thing than anything else. "I've barely been home for two weeks and I'm pretty sure he has no clue that I'm gone. Ugh." "Only one thing for it then mate" Greg smiled softly. "Think it's about time we rolled the dice and let the chips fall where they may. I mean you can't avoid him forever and I'd rather not turn scarlet every time Mycroft enters a room. I reckon that we should just say something, a double date even if it makes you feel better." John was crumbling. Damn Sherlock for making him think more logically. "Right. You're right. Let's do this then." Greg blanched but rose and pulled his jacket back on, straightening his tie and resolving to at least attempt to act cool. John's eyes were determined and his gait was purposeful. They were doing this. "Where to?" "221 Baker street."

Mycroft froze the frame and zoomed in for the thirty seventh time. Once again Sherlock was muttering, analysing every tiny detail. "Satisfied yet brother? He does feel for you, care for you more deeply than I think even he knows he is capable of. It's perfectly alright you know Sherlock. To care about John. He's a good man, and I believe he is worthy of you. There are sometimes, very rare instances, where caring is not a disadvantage. John will make you happy." Sherlock was still as a statue behind him, at a complete loss. John might feel that way, and the connection was there but it was about whether he chose to act on anything, after all he hadn't up to now. Sentiment. So utterly confusing. "What do I do Mycroft? He's... I don't want to scare him away! I can't lose him... Not now or fifty years from now." Sherlock wrapped his robe around himself and stared wide eyed at his brother as he used to when he was a child. For once, Mycroft did not have the answer. There was no way to avoid hypocrisy by saying to just tell John because he hadn't said anything to Gregory and they'd been acquainted for years. "I'm not sure, It's not really my area of expertise..." Mycroft blushed at that and leaned back in the chair head lolling to the side. He cupped his face in his hands and sighed. "This is not as simple as normal people make it seem." Sherlock snorted in agreement and rose to make coffee. He'd just set the mugs on the table when footsteps began to clatter up the stairs. A key turned in the lock and his heart jumped. It was John.

"So yeah, I guess that's a plan" John smiled at Greg as they closed the door. "Hello Sherlock, Mycroft" John bustled into the kitchen. "Tea Greg?" Greg smirked at the light pink dusting the brother's faces "Ta John. Afternoon Mycroft, Sherlock" Mycroft smiled tightly while Sherlock grunted. "How does Saturday look for you?" Lestrade took out his phone. "Around eight good for you John? I've a meeting till about half seven but I should be able to make it across in no time." Sherlock looked across at a bemused Mycroft who simply shrugged, this plan was new as their calendars had no record of it. "Saturday at eight sounds good to me." Sherlock watched Greg squeeze John's arm in... Solidarity? Before John blushed and smiled at Sherlock shyly. Roll the dice Watson. "Erm Sherlock?" Sherlock's heart was pounding. Was this actually happening? "Would you maybe um...Wouldyouliketogooutonadatewithmeonsaturday?" The faster he said it the easier it was, until the words were a blur of long vowels and harsh consonant sounds. Sherlock replayed the audio again in his head just to be sure, and his face broke out into a beaming smile when he nodded. Greg cleared his throat before turning to face Mycroft who was already pretty well stunned "Mycroft would you care to join me, I think a double date requires two dates, unless I'm very much mistaken?" Greg sounded suave, confident. John kicked him for having the gall to hide his nerves. Mycroft blushed, the colour standing out against his usually neutral face,and nodded. "I believe I can clear my schedule." John turned back to the kettle and slyly high fived Greg as he passed.

Chapter Text

Prompt 8: Lord


"Tell me again why we're going to a club?" John called from the bathroom, voice muffled by toothpaste. "It's the scene of the crime. Obvious." John chuckled to himself and mimicked Sherlock's lofty "Obvious" silently in the mirror before heading back to his room. It had been a while since he had been near a club, not after Harry of all people had told him it was better to stay away. They hadn't been his scene since was young and now that he was older the appeal hadn't changed. In fact he felt a little bit ridiculous. Probably a British thing he concluded, pulling on his black suit pants and the only non-checked shirt he owned, a light blue that high lighted his muscular torso. John slipped a pair of black loafers on and strolled to the kitchen, tucking his gun carefully into the deep pockets of his coat as he passed."Sherlock? When did you say we have to be there?" Warm breath blew across his neck and John knew Sherlock had done the whole silent movement act just because he liked terrifying John. "Around now would be good" John growled before turning around.

Sherlock was speechless when he saw the soft blue that John had hidden beneath his shapeless khaki coat. Not that John knew that of course, how could he know that he was all that Sherlock could think about, all because of that one shirt. Similarly Sherlock could not know that John's mind was frazzled from the amount of times he'd seen the detective in his purple silk shirt, the one he was wearing now, or when he was wrapped only in a sheet, pale shoulders just creeping out over the top, or when he whirled about like a madman in his dressing gown and pyjamas, curly hair rumpled from sleep or lack of it. Nope. John, ever the soldier, ploughed ahead with his reprimand about sneaking up on a ptsd sufferer, not really paying attention to a word that passed his lips. Neither was Sherlock so it didn't matter anyway. John sighed "Well come on then" and he opened the door for Sherlock who paused only to lift his coat from the hook by the door.

The taxi ride was a short one by their standards, with the two of them sitting in amiable silence, each avoiding staring at the general chest area of the other. Before they even rounded the corner of the club John could feel the bass vibrating in his chest. It had been a long time since he'd felt that pulsating need to respond to the rhythm, to just go with it. He remembered now why he didn't go to clubs, because he really did not have any control over his actions when he was there. It had gotten him a lot of attention in the past and Harry was the one who suggested that maybe it wasn't the best idea. Which was true, John could see her point of view, after all anything that stemmed from those nights tended to be superficial. Now though he couldn't just back out, and yet his self control was seriously lacking when it came to a heavy bass line. Maybe that's why he liked Sherlock's voice so much...

The taxi glided to a halt and Sherlock leapt out, tossing cash behind him. "Eager as ever" John mused to no one in particular. Looking at the lines of people queued outside, John was pretty pleased with his attempt at dressing the part. Most of the men were wearing some form of suit like outfit so at least he wouldn't stand out entirely. Sherlock shepherded him to the front, and merely nodded at the bouncer who simply lifted the red barrier and ushered them inside. Sherlock surveyed the club. It was not empty, but not too full either. He made a note to use that as the compliment that it was when talking to the owner later. Right now he wanted a drink. While he didn't enjoy the music itself Sherlock could appreciate it's values, only because it essentially blasted all background thought from his mind which was a... nice change. John's hand was on his arm, motioning towards the bar. Sherlock simply nodded and they threaded through the throngs of people, reconvening at the bar where John simply raised two fingers and called something unintelligble to the bar tender, and in a flash there were two drinks in front of them. Sherlock sipped the pink concoction experimentally and his eyes widened. It tasted pleasant, far more pleasant than lager or bourbon.

John chuckled at his expression and leaned into his ear "Strawberry daquiri" he yelled. Sherlock committed the name to memory for future cases. If he had to get drunk for the work he might as well have a more pleasing taste in his 's foot was tapping lightly of it's own accord and Sherlock was anxious to get started so they could leave. He whipped out his phone and began to type furiously. John's phone came to life moments later. I'm going to go find the owner, you stay here, keep an eye out. Ten minutes and I should have all I need -SH John looked up and the man had disappeared already. The song changed, a remix of pussy cat dolls Buttons and John was done for. His legs were moving of their own accord to the dancefloor, standing almost directly in the intercept of the lasers and spotlight, and he began to move.

Sherlock had been right of course, the son had done it and his dad had not expected an actual inquest. An assumption Sherlock could not blame him for making given the track record of Scotland yard. He opened the office door and found himself on a low balcony of sorts, overlooking the entirety of the club. His eyes were drawn instantaneously to the center of the floor where a crowd had formed around one man who was dancing so effortlessly, body moving in perfect time, swaying and writhing, lithe and yet so very masculine. Sherlock's mouth had become incredibly dry, more so when he realised the identity of the man he was ogling shamelessly. It was John, muscles threatening to break free of his shirt as he ground his hips against the air. A blonde woman stalked her way over and pressed her body up against his, attempting to emulate the movements. They were dirty, very dirty, but not to the point of being vulgar. It was intoxicating to watch. Soon a swarm of women were fondling John's arms and grinding up against him and he simply went with it all. Loosen up my buttons babe, but you can't touch, say what you gone do to me, but I say nothin'

Sherlock didn't notice that he had walked down the steps and was now among the crowd that surrounded John. The beat changed and so too did John's movements. His hips gyrating more, coloured beams bouncing off his buttons to the distinctive sound of Rihanna's Birthday Cake. God Sherlock wanted him, wanted to touch his blogger, do everything he ever thought about doing. John would be his. He'd set his mind to it now. One of the women seemed to have beaten off the rest because she had her back pressed against John's chest, arm wrapped around his neck softly. Her lips touched his jaw and Sherlock was furious. They were leaving right now.

He pushed through the crowd and grabbed John, dragging him away regardless of the loud hey that was yelled at him. Sherlock practically sprinted to the door and dragged John with him, pushing him back into the alley as soon as they reached the outside world. John's back connected with the wall of the club and he raised his hands to push Sherlock back when he looked into his eyes. Sherlock , it rolled off him in waves. He was still out of it, apparently dancing like that was like being drunk for John. "Dear lord! What's wrong Sherlock?" he yelled crankily as Sherlock began to stalk towards him, keeping their eyes locked. Faster than lightening Sherlock's pale hand was grabbing his cheeks and turning his head roughly to the side.

"That" Sherlock growled and pointed at the lipstick stain on John's cheek "is the problem." Sherlock pushed John's head back against the wall. "No one but me gets to do that. If I have to mark you I will. You are mine. Understand?" Sherlock hissed, teeth grazing over John's back Adams apple. "M." Now his tongue was flicking tentatively over the skin "I." His lips were sucking hard at John's neck, making him shudder and cry out sweet nothings into the night "N." Slender fingers threaded their way through blonde hair and tugged lightly "E." Soft pink lips met his, the hungry movement contrasting the softness perfectly. "MINE." Sherlock snarled and all John could do was gasp and nod because Sherlock's hand had slithered into his trousers against a wall in an alleyway and dear lord they were going dancing again.

 

Chapter Text

Prompt 9: Applause

Sherlock Holmes dreamed of many things. It was the only break he had from the constant buzz of information in his head. His dreams were vivid as life itself and more often then not, since he and John had furthered their relationship, were John centric.

Tonight was no exception. Sherlock looked around the world his mind had created. Everything was bathed in crimson light and Sherlock could feel the weight of something in his hands. His violin.

Ah. The light would be filtering through velvet curtains then, was Sherlock supposed to perform? Likely. That was fine, he had no problem showing off.

His dreamself strode confidently onto the stage, ignoring his surroundings, focusing on the tall, brass music stand before him. A single sheet of music lay perched on it and one look told Sherlock what it was.

It was John's song. He swallowed deeply and lifted his bow. The melody flowed out with ease, soft at first, low, melancholy notes building to a crescendo that was John all over.

When the final notes faded away,Sherlock smiled as low applause rang through the hall. Only one pair of hands clapped. He looked up and seated mere feet away was John, smiling his crooked smile. Sherlock placed his violin down as John kissed him "That was beautiful."

Chapter Text

Prompt 10 : Heart of gold

The invitation lay opened on the kitchen table, forest green calligraphy curling about the small card like vines. Sherlock had been staring at it for hours now, hadn't even noticed when John had woken up and began pattering about the flat. Of course he'd been expecting it. He received one every year. This time, however, was different.

His invitation was for Sherlock Holmes plus guest. Never in the history of this event had his invitation allowed for another person in his life. In fairness there'd never been one before John. That changed everything. Declining the invitation as he had for many years now would make it seem as if the rumours (It was common in the Holmes family to hear rumours about all members, especially with an event coming up) about his relationship were false, like he wasn't proud of John. He could see it now, the looks people would share at their expense, the mockery that would be made of himself and then of John.

He hated Mummy's Autumn ball for many reasons and being forced to go was probably the main one, closely followed by having to be nice and being made dance with various women. Mummy did have an inkling that he was gay if he was anything but still the respectable women of England would be thrust into his arms and he'd have to bite his tongue and dance with them. It was positively hateful. He was distracted from his ruminations by John's arms snaking around his from behind and the soft touch of lips to his forehead. "Morning Lock."

Sherlock smiled broadly, after protesting initially at the nickname he found he rather liked it, only John would call him Lock. "Morning John" Sherlock nuzzled into John's arms and sighed contentedly. The invitation issue would wait. "What's this then, the reason you didn't come to bed I assume?" John peered over his shoulders and read for a moment. "I've seen this before... You get one every year! I knew it looked familiar, the card and envelope, the handwriting, I remember seeing them before" John seemed rather pleased with that for some reason. "Mmmm. My mother has cordially invited us to her Autumnal ball this evening." he waited for the knock down, a rejection. "Oh. Are we going?" John asked, genuinely curious. "I don't really know. I can't decide."

John rubbed his arm gently and moved away to make tea, a solution for every problem. "Well" he called back from the kitchen "You have time to think about it right? Whatever you want to do Lock I'll do, ignore it if you want, I'll happily go with you if that's what's worrying you" John popped his head back out the door "You know that right?" Sherlock smiled wryly at him. It had been worrying him. Their relationship had only been going on for two months and four days now, and they hadn't really been out in public as a couple yet. Cases didn't count and dates were spent inside the flat or at Angelo's so in reality most people didn't have a clue that they were any closer that they'd been two months ago.

Mycroft knew obviously and by extension Mummy and a few other Holmes's but that was it. "I..." John frowned and strode over, spinning Sherlock around in his chair so they faced each other. "Just because we aren't flouncing about in the street does not mean I don't want to go places and do things with you as a couple Sherlock, I'm not ashamed of you. I understand if you are of me and if that's why you don't want to go I definitely see why..." Sherlock nearly did a double take. Why would he possibly be ashamed of John? "Of course I'm not ashamed of you John, I was just unsure as to whether you would..." he drifted off. "Whether I would say yes?" John asked softly. Sherlock nodded. "Well for the record I would say yes to almost anything you asked me provided it wasn't going to injur me, you or my sanity. My daft detective" he smiled before pressing his lips against Sherlock's. "Now, breakfast?" Sherlock nodded and John went back into the kitchen to make toast. "John? Will you go to the ball with me?" Sherlock asked as John placed a few slices of toast between them. "I'd love to Sherlock" He said and sat down grinning.

"So, tell me everything I should know about this ball" Sherlock contemplated that for a second. "The Autumn ball my mother hosts has been a Holmes family tradition for six hundred years now, give or take a few years. It takes place at the manor just as all the leaves on deciduous trees change colour. All members of the Holmes family, various gentry and successful people will have been invited and all of them but myself will usually attend. Children are also allowed to be brought to the Autumn ball, it's the most harmless of all the balls that are thrown, and some people do like to present their children to the masses. The ball starts with an hour of socializing followed by the actual dancing part of the evening." John shook his head a little and smirked "You are so upper class it's unreal" Is it an insult or...? "that's a compliment by the way, I quite like it" John winked at him and cleared the table away, wiping buttery hands on his legs. "You will have to wear a suit and tie" Sherlock added. He hated ties, they were so restricting, only useful for choking someone to death. He heard John chuckle "As long as you promise not to choke Mycroft to death in front of your family" Sherlock smirked. John knew him very well indeed.

"Fine" he sighed and strode off to the bathroom. He'd have to start getting ready. "Sherlock if you use all the hot water I swear I'll" Sherlock dropped his robe outside the bathroom door "Well if you want to conserve water we could always shower together?" John was there before Sherlock had even finished his sentence.

Running his fingers through his curls one last time, Sherlock pulled on his suit jacket. John was waiting for him by the door dressed immaculately in a charcoal suit with a black tie. They matched, but Sherlock's tie was a deep plum. "Shall we?" He asked, putting on his poshest accent. "We shall" replied John, opening taxi door. "Where to?" "12 Grimmauld place"

John had to admit the manor was beautiful, and it was filled with all manner of beautiful people too. He did feel rather out of place among them, if he wasn't mistaken Prince William and his wife were in attendance. The sheer volume of people that he had met in the past hour had been overwhelming, the only person he had yet to meet it seemed was Mrs Holmes, but sure enough she was at the top of the ballroom, microphone at her lips. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have had a pleasant evening so far. Now I believe it is time to begin our ball, if the orchestra would begin?" with that, a mellifluos sound broke out and suddenly couples were spinning all around the room.

Sherlock grimaced as his mother made a beeline for them and grabbed John's hand. "Hello mummy, this is John, John this is my mother Constance Holmes" Mrs Holmes surveyed him with piercing eyes and nodded vaguely. "Yes you'll do quite nicely. I think I might like you Dr. John Watson, after all you did convince my son to attend. Speaking of attending Sherlock you know you must dance with your aunt Isabella, she does get so offended if you don't. Come along, John will be fine I dare say" John smiled reassuringly and patted Sherlock's hand as he was dragged away.

Alone now John gravitated to the edge of the room, sitting down next to a young couple and their son. "He's adorable" John gushed at the woman "I'm John, oh look at him! How old is he?" She smiled and her husband proudly grabbed her shoulder. "Just turned three a few weeks ago. I'm Anastasia and this is my husband Edward and our son is Timothy" John tickled the small boy who burst into tinkling laughter, blonde curls bouncing happily on his head. John could see Anastasia eying the dancefloor longingly.

"This may sound a bit insane but if you two would like to dance I would happily take care of little Timothy for a few songs, I'm a doctor and everything so there's no need to worry" Anastasia's eyes lit up at the opportunity and Edward grinned, holding out his hand. "You have a heart of gold John, thank you so much" And Edward whisked her off to twirling about on the dancefloor.

John picked Timothy up and popped him on his lap, playing peek-a-boo and laughing away with him. He could feel the little boy getting tired, so he cradled him into his arms and rocked him, humming softly. The music played on, and te low hum of voices and glasses continued, but all Timothy could hear was a soft voice singing to him as he fell asleep.

Sherlock finally finished his obligation dances and was searching for John when Mummy turned his face to show him the scene at the edge of the room. Just off the dancefloor, John was pacing up and down with a little boy tucked safely in his arms. Sherlock could tell he was singing and wondered what song it was. "He's a keeper if ever I saw one" she muttered into his ear. "I know." With that Sherlock sidled over to them.

Quietly, so as not to disturb the little boy , he wrapped his arms around John's back, cradling the boy and John simultaneously. John smiled up at him and they rocked softly on the spot. Edward wiped a hand across his face and laughed, pulling Anastasia to him. It had been the best night they'd had in a long time. Anastasia cuddled close and pointed across the room to where John had been with Timothy. "Don't they look like a family?" she asked, smiling still. With Sherlock hugging John into him and John holding Timothy, both grinning madly at each other... "Yes. They truly do."

Chapter Text

Prompt 11: Tape

warning smut chapter

"I'm sorry a what?!" John yelled, nearly choking on his tea. Sherlock sighed, he did so hate repeating himself. "A sex tape John. If we want to infiltrate this company and prove that they're trafficking these women we have to have a portfolio, therefore a sex tape." John swallowed his remaining tea and rubbed his eyes in exasperation. "I understand that bit. Why, though, do we have to make one together?"

Ah. Sherlock hadn't thought of the fact that John could always get a woman to make his with, and he would be perfectly happy to. Sherlock, however, would not be able to do anything at all with anyone else. No one else "did it" for him. "Because it would be much simpler and quite frankly less time consuming, that way we can both be in the office at the same time in case of trouble, and if you want me to be blatantly honest with you I don't like the idea of doing it with someone I don't know or like." Sherlock didn't mention that it would be his first time, he didn't really have to. John knew, or could tell or something. Either way he could feel himself blushing and wanted to run away. Embarrassment was not an emotion he was particularly comfortable with at all.

John sighed and inwardly wondered if God truly hated him because only a sick minded bastard would do this, dangle Sherlock in front of him, but it wouldn't be real. None of what they did would be real, no matter how much he wished it was. He was fucked. "Okay. Right. Fine. Well then um. When are we...?" John was blushing too, great planes of crimson mapping his face. Sherlock gulped and thought about it for a few seconds "I guess tonight, we'll have to get a camera." John stayed put, eyes locked on the horizon. "Right. Will I go or do you want to?" Sherlock simply stood up and walked out, trying and failing not to think that in a few short hours he would finally be getting John, but that it was all fake.

With Sherlock gone John could finally think properly about what was going to happen. It was going to be incredibly awkward if they were kissing for the first time while making a porno. "Oh Jesus. This would only happen to us wouldn't it?" The only logical solution was to do a bit first, ease the tension between them, and then... And then.

Sherlock went to the nearest technology shop he could find and looked at thirty four different cameras. He was just barely paying attention. After all this was sort of a big issue, he had no experience and it was John, John would have been the only person he would willingly do this with for real. Except it wouldn't be real. He would have to keep reminding himself of that. In the end he bought the second one he'd looked at and walked home as it got steadily darker. When he arrived back he went straight to his room and set up the camera on a tripod before going back out to see what John was up to. In the living room John was sitting on the couch with two glasses and a full bottle of whiskey. "It might be a bit easier with a shot of this" he shrugged before patting the seat next to him.

Wordlessly Sherlock sank into the couch. John cleared his throat before pouring the drinks and handing one over. Sherlock downed his and felt the burn as it slid down his throat and watched John do the same. "Ok. I've been thinking that we probably shouldn't be doing everything in front of a camera especially for the first time, so we should probably start out here and then move to there when we're both a little more comfortable right?" John looked at Sherlock for affirmation that he wasn't alone in thinking this would be difficult enough without involving a camera from the get go. "That seems logical, what do you propose we do then?" John moved slightly closer and angled his body into Sherlock's. He put his hands softly on Sherlock's cheeks, moving their faces closer to together. "This" he whispered, closing the distance between them and planting his lips on Sherlock's. It was a shock at first but Sherlock began to move too, nipping softly at John's lower lip and running his tongue along the seam. John opened his mouth happily and Sherlock was tasting him, Tasting what John would taste like.

He gasped when John's tongue flicked across his soft pallet and swallowed a small moan when John straddled his hips, pushing their chests together. Maybe it was the liquor but all of a sudden Sherlock found himself thrusting up against John, canting his hips upwards, hoping that John could feel exactly what this was doing to him. John's low growl must have meant he could because moments later Sherlock felt John rubbing against his thigh. His usually ever working mind has blanked in favor of one thought, and it's name was John. John's mouth moved to his jaw and neck, sucking and licking, making Sherlock moan and writhe beneath him.

When he could once again form a coherent thought Sherlock managed to let out a strangled sentence. "Bedroom now" He was in the air in an instant, legs wrapped around John who's mouth returned to his as he carried him to his room. They fell on the bed and John was taking off his shoes and then his shirt and Sherlock followed suit until both were stripped bare. John was staring at Sherlock open mouthed, admiring the alabaster perfection that was his body. Sherlock had quite a view himself, he wondered how he never noticed that John still did his army workout. "Do you want to do this or..." Sherlock untangled that sentence in a few very confused seconds. John meant was he ok with what they were doing and going to do or did he want penetration. "This is perfect" John smiled and pressed back against him, licking all the way up his neck from collar bone to ear lobe.

"Good, we can do that some other time" Sherlock stared up at him. "If you'd like. I mean it's not like you have to or anything" Sherlock cut him off and rolled them over so he was on top. "I think I would like that very much" He ground his hips against John's, bathing in the groan it elicited. "Fucking hell" John moved until they were perfectly aligned and reached a hand between them. John had rather small hands, but big enough for this. Mouths still locked he began to stroke up and down, circling the slit and moving back to the base, spreading precum over both of them. Sherlock was moaning his name over and over, reveling in this new sensation that was blazing through his entire body. John's hand moved faster, both men gasping. "John I'm... I" John flicked his wrist and Sherlock was coming, spurting over John's stomach and seeing this John followed suit, shuddering against each other until they were spent and John flopped against Sherlock.

Later when Sherlock was enjoying John's hands running through his hair he came to a realisation. "John?" "Mmmm?" "We forgot to turn on the camera"

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Prompt 12 : "Do you remember that?"

 
John Watson had taken to a rather odd hobby. It was not like he had begun it with the intent to continue, but he found he couldn't really stop himself. John had taken to talking to Sherlock while Sherlock was asleep. There were two main reasons for it. The first being that Sherlock had an adorable little lisp that only presented itself when he was either drunk or asleep and the second being that Sherlock was at his most open while he was sleeping.

Some might say that this was taking advantage of someone at there most vulnerable, but Sherlock was at his most vulnerable while he was awake and around other people, concealing his emotions and taking their insults even though they slowly broke him. John still felt slightly guilty though, but he couldn't help but wonder how Sherlock truly felt about him. He wasn't exactly the type to say what he felt. It had started a few weeks earlier at the end of a long case.

Sherlock had all but collapsed on the spot and was out cold before John had finished speaking. It was at that point that John had opened the fridge and found the assortment of decaying fingers on a plate. He had gone to throw a blanket over Sherlock's gangly limbs and was muttering, asking if Sherlock did his experiments just to annoy him. And Sherlock had responded. "Not to annoy you... Don't want to... Get so bored... Do something wrong... Make you leave" John had been astounded and waved a hand in front of Sherlock's face but the man was truly out cold.

The second time it had happened John heard the lisp. Sherlock had almost been killed, again, and John asked him, experimentally, if he was doing it all on purpose. "That wouldn't be very thenthible... Jutht want to keep my John thafe" he muttered softly into the pillow and there and then John had decided he would marry that man. After that it became an aprés case ritual of sorts. Sherlock would fall asleep and John would talk to him until he too fell asleep. It was like a warm blanket that John could pull out when Sherlock was ignoring him or when he'd gotten himself into trouble and John was trying to find him. He knew that if awake Sherlock would despise the sentiment filled bouts so he kept them for the night, with the room so dark that the only thing John could see was the pale outline that was Sherlock. Sometimes he simply indulged himself, telling Sherlock exactly how he felt about him without fearing that Sherlock wouldn't reciprocate the sentiment, after all he only replied to questions, not statements.

Sherlock had begun looking forward to sleep rather than resenting the fact that he had to succumb to it. In his dreams John spoke to him, asking him questions and simply telling him all manner of things. It was so vivid that sometimes Sherlock was not sure if he was asleep or awake. In his dreams John would profess his love for him over and over, never once asking for the words in return.

He would whisper softly into his ear and talk of his favourite memories of them together, not just as a couple but as friends as well. Slightly disturbing was the fact that he was lisping throughout these dreams but apart from that it was a small paradise where he simply listened to John's voice and felt the love that exuded right from his pores. Tonight was no different. A while after Sherlock drifted off, John entered his mind palace, dressed in his cardigan and pyjamas, a strange combination but no matter. Sherlock felt John lay beside him as he always did in the dreams, head perched on his elbow to start before slowly making it's way to his shoulder. "I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, God it seems like eons ago. Do you remember that?" Sherlock smiled "Afghanistan or Iraq" It was John's turn to smile then, he shifted closer. "You know, even then you were undoubtedly the most attractive man I'd ever seen, still are." he chuckled softly and Sherlock waited for more.

"It was when I was pointing my gun at that cabbie's head that I realised exactly how I felt about you, my heart was pounding so hard, I thought you were going to eat that tablet. Hell you probably were, but when I thought you were in danger, the you were going to die I couldn't help but realise it. That I loved you. Even now when I don't know if you feel the same I can't deny that there's something about you that makes my entire being quiver with anticipation and lust and terror at how you can do that to me without even trying just because you're you. God you have no idea! Sherlock... If I were to ask you something, you'd tell me the truth right?" Sherlock frowned "Of courth I would John" Damn his lisp.

"Now I'm just asking as a question, but if I asked you to... If I were to erm... If I proposed to you, what would you say?" Sherlock was silent for a minute. It felt much longer. What would he say? There truly was no one else he could envision spending his life with and he didn't want John to be with anyone else, and he truly did love his blogger more than he had thought he was capable of. "I would thay yeth John, I'm thure I would." John's smile was taking up most of his face at this point and he pressed his lips against Sherlock's.

"Alright then, so if I were to hypothetically be getting a ring, what would you most want?" "It would have to be thturdy like you, nothing too fanthy, Jutht to tell people that I am yourth and you are mine" John looked pensive and then nodded. "I have a plan then, for what I'm getting you. Don't try and deduce it out of me now" John mock scolded him. "Hmmm night Lock" John sighed against his shoulder and closed his eyes. Sherlock has a rather comfortable shoulder for someone who looked so angular John thought as he snuggled closer.

He would say yes. That was a revelation in itself. Secretly John already had the ring, had it for days now, his order had been specific enough because Sherlock had such slender fingers and he wanted the ring to be special, funnily enough he had wanted the same sort of ring as Sherlock had. It was a platinum band, a millimeter or so in width. Very plain to the naked eye, sturdy enough to withstand the constant whirlwind that was their life. However on the inside of the band was the message, the true feelings behind the ring. Etched deeply into the metal were the words Forever Yours -JW.

 

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Prompt 13: Want

smut-ish

Sherlock wanted a lot of things. He wanted Mycroft to stop spying on him via cctv, wanted Lestrade to fire Anderson and Donovan preferably in front of him, wanted the criminals of London to be a bit more inventive, wanted Mrs. Hudson to accept that she was in fact his housekeeper. All of those he would sacrifice however if he could have one thing. John. It was an alien sensation for him he would admit but he definitely knew what it meant. John was perfect for him, and he was already there, living together meant he had seen him at his worst and also been there at his best.

It seemed simple enough, and Sherlock would love nothing more than to reach across the table and press their lips together, John would gasp and he'd take the advantage of his mouth being open to explore it with his tongue. Then he'd be across to the other side of the table and John would be against the wall, hips pushing against his, fighting to remove his trousers and Sherlock would smirk and snake his hand down and then John would be moaning and begging him to do more and he would oblige and they would both be naked all of a sudden and he'd push John down into the soft rug in the living room. Slowly but surely he'd loosen him up until both of them were writhing and then he'd fill John completely, making both of them want to scream with pleasure and maybe one of them would and John would beg him to go faster and he would and he'd be moaning John's name into his mouth and then John would tighten around him and the noise of his name flying from John's lips like a prayer would tip him over too and they'd lay together on the floor until they decided that maybe a bed was a better option.

It wasn't as if he had anyone to ask about what to do. Mycroft was a no go obviously, and Mrs Hudson would be too squealy for a serious conversation to take place. That left one option only and he didn't like it one bit. Molly was doing it again, watching him. She had stopped for a while, and Sherlock had hoped that it was for good but alas there she was again, lurking in the doorway. "Molly if you're coming in come in, you're wasting valuable oxygen in both rooms if you simply stand there between the two." He was feeling skittish, it seemed a bit redundant to get dating advice from someone who was always single but he was clutching at straws here. The internet had been no help, with 50/50 odds on positive outcomes. Unfortunately the blabbering woman before him was his last chance. Just perfect.

"Molly. If you keep quivering like a lost puppy you'll knock the glassware right off the-" there was a tinkling crash as sure enough the glass shattered on the floor. Sherlock hopped down and sat by the pile of shattered glass and began picking up the tiny fragments. Molly sat the opposite side and they worked together in silence for a while. "Molly? You know something of rejection, yes?" Molly grimaced and nodded, hair falling in front of her now red face. "Well then I need some information from you. Would rejection really ruin mine and John's friendship? I mean I don't want to lose it but at the same time if what all those teenagers magazines were to be believed it would affect me in some irreversible way" In hindsight he should have led with something of along the lines of "Oh yes I like John" but it was a bit late for that now, Molly was already staring open mouthed at him.

"Molly?"Molly opened her mouth and closed it again like a fish, the pieces slowly clicking together in her head. She could see it now, the way Sherlock looked at John. It was the same way she looked at him sometimes. And while personally she didn't want to say for hope that one day Sherlock would feel for her, she knew that it would be a crime to keep them apart. "You'd have nothing to worry about Sherlock. John feels the same way, trust me." Sherlock stared at her, reading her every minute movement. She wasn't lying. Interesting. Very interesting. Well now that he knew... Maybe he could see exactly how far he had to push to get John to admit it. Of course he could always just ruin it all by blurting out his thoughts. Which is exactly what he ended up doing.

It was a few days after the Molly conversation and Sherlock had not yet slept, a new case was just about to finish and he needed to be awake. That would have been fine, but the downside to sixty eight hours awake was that his already flimsy filter seemed to become entirely useless. That's how, while perched in his chair and staring at John in the kitchen in a towel Sherlock had moaned loudly. John, concerned as ever for his friend, was up almost immediately. "I'm fine John. Just thinking about buggering you into the table." If Sherlock had been less focused on two other important topics he would have registered the intense embarrassment that coursed through his blood. He was busy however with a case and he hadn't been lying when he'd said that he was thinking about buggering John into the table. The towel was not helping matters at all, neither were the small translucent beads of water rolling down his chest.

John looked just as shocked as Molly had, and a bit more embarrassed than she had been. "I'm sorry what? What did you say?" Sherlock sighed. "I said, and I know you heard me, but I'll just clarify, that I was thinking about buggering you into the kitchen table. And perhaps the floor after, maybe the counter, every surface in the flat really." He was up now and strutting over to John who was frozen at the table, tea long forgotten. Sherlock ran his finger along John's jaw line, watching as John's pupils blew wider still as he shivered into the caress. "I often think about that, us. How you would scream my name for everyone to hear, and I would make you John, don't doubt that for a second" He whispered, tongue licking a long line up his neck. "I tend to get what I want John, and what I want, have wanted for a long time, is you." Sherlock was looking into John's eyes now, waiting for permission to do all he had envisioned. John tilted his head up wards and their lips met with force, each trying to experience everything at once. The tea was pushed off the table and yes the mug had been one of their last few but as Sherlock put it "No one else is going to be allowed in for a while anyway, we have to christen the whole flat!" For once a household task Sherlock would actively participate in, and was he participating. John wasn't exactly sure how but his towel was long since gone and Sherlock was only wearing his shirt, but even that was open and likely to fall of any moment. Sherlock was as good as his word. He stepped on his phone a couple of times before kicking his pants under the table, where he proceeded to have sex with John.

Much to the mortification of Greg Lestrade, his number was on speed dial. He could now attest to the sexual prowess of both Sherlock and John, if the volume of their shouting was any indication. He hung up very quickly and went for a pint. It might have only been ten am, but this time he really needed one.

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Prompt 14: Pretend

It was already dark by the time John locked the door of the surgery. Sarah had called hours earlier to ask if he would cover for her, and if he wanted to go out for drinks with her later. It was getting harder to pretend that he wasn't in love with his flatmate, but it was also getting harder to live with him knowing that nothing was going to happen. Sarah and John had been dating now for seven months, after she got used to Sherlock interrupting them every chance he got she decided to stay, try and make it work out. It really was working out. John would take her out and she'd take him out and they had a lot of fun together, he couldn't help but smile when she was around. There was a huge part of him that knew if he hadn't met Sherlock and had met Sarah, he would probably be married to her right now. But he had met Sherlock, and now what he was dying to have, he couldn't find in anyone else. No one had that spark, that fire in their eyes that was madly infuriating and yet so attractive that he was speechless, constantly speechless in the presence of his best friend. Most of the time he didn't know what was coming out of his mouth around Sherlock, but for an idiot he seemed to be doing pretty well just spewing words everywhere. Seemed to work.

Sherlock was an enigma, a puzzle that John would spend his entire life trying to solve. Sarah was safety and comfort, a family. And John honestly didn't know which one he wanted more. His future with Sherlock was uncertain, a myriad of narrow escapes and sprinting around London, giggling at crime scenes and writing his blog. Until one day the escape was too narrow, or there wasn't an escape at all. Maybe one day they wouldn't get away by the skin of their teeth, and one would be left all alone again. Or in a distinctly darker future of arguments and storm outs, one would come home to find the other dead by their own hands, needle plunged into pale flesh or gun tilted into an open mouth. Sherlock was a black hole, and John was terrified that he wanted to be pulled in, more so when he realised that there was no u turn if he did. He must be a masochist, staying with Sherlock this whole time, inches away from him in the flat, pressed up against him in small spaces watching criminals. He could feel it, himself dying. It was slow, so slow he would have dismissed it as nothing had it not been himself. If he knew anything at all he knew himself and what was happening was going to kill him, tear him apart limb from limb until there was nothing left but the hollow man he'd deserted after three little words in a dark morgue "Afghanistan or Iraq?"

Deep down he was fully aware that this was unrequited because Sherlock could never feel anything other than perhaps a sense of camaraderie for him. They were flatmates, friends maybe, partners in crime. Nowhere on the map of their friendship did 'Miraculous realisation of love and lust for you' appear. Except on one side of the map, it had. A staggering explosion that had taken over John's map, it was the milky way of his starchart: beautiful and unattainable, you can't help but stare at it, want to know every little thing about it and have every single star shine down on you because you mean something, and even the sky needs grounding sometimes. John was no astronaut. It was time to stop wishing that he was and be content with laying in the grass and looking at the clouds with Sarah, telling her all about the stars. He went to the bar with that in mind.

Sarah was there to greet him, smiling at him as if he was the best thing she'd seen all day and couldn't wait to spend time with him. In times of extreme bitterness he wondered why Sherlock never looked at him like that, why he didn't even notice if he was gone. He took her soft hand in his and sat down with her, smiling and laughing, talking about their days and generally having a nice time. "John?" she asked, late into the night as they lay on her sofa together. "Yeah?" "What would you think about maybe moving in here?" John froze. Moving in... It was a huge step, fact but to say no would mean to end everything they'd worked for. It was time to move on with his life. He couldn't wait forever for a pipeline dream, life was never going to start again if he didn't leave, no matter how much he ached to stay. "I'd love to Sarah" John replied with a fake smile. Later when Sarah was sleeping, John allowed the few silent tears to fall. Some dreams don't come true, but that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.

The sun rose again the next morning though John's world had stopped spinning and he got up to find Sarah dressed in overalls and a shirt. "I figured we might as well do it all today, we both have the day off so I can get here put together and you can get your stuff" John smiled and made a remark about how it was a great idea and how he couldn't wait. He wasn't even sure if he was still speaking English at this point, but he left anyway and made his way home one last time. 221 was quiet, Mrs Hudson was away with her sister again. John was pleased, he couldn't handle saying goodbye twice, especially not when he'd have to say it to Sherlock either before and then talk to Mrs Hudson in tears, or after and not be able to say anything because he was choked with guilt at leaving her to fend for herself with a madman. It was better this way.

As quietly as he could John entered 221b and packed up his suitcase, removing all evidence that he had ever lived there and avoiding waking Sherlock until he was finished and ready to face him. "Sherlock." John could feel Sherlock moving to his bedroom door, the way he froze when John said his name and then cautiously opened his door. "John what... Oh." Sherlock looked around the now bare looking flat and stared silently at the suitcases and bags at the door. "You're leaving." John nodded. "Sarah asked me to move in with her and I said I would." They were silent, eyes locked. John could feel his heart pounding in his chest, screaming that this was wrong. Just this once John decided that listening to his heart was not a good idea. He turned to pick up his bags and opened the door. Sherlock was still standing in the middle of the room just staring at him. "John! No. Wait. Just- just don't leave. Please. Don't."

John closed his eyes and prayed that there was a God who would help him because he didn't want to cry already. "I have to Sherlock. I can't do this. We both know I can't." In a flurry of robe tail and pyjama bottoms Sherlock was wrapped around him, lips crushed against his own. He had dreamed of this moment. The elusive moment where Sherlock felt the same. In his dreams they were together, grew old together, died together. In reality he knew that as soul destroying as it was to think about, this was a ploy to make him stay. He pushed Sherlock away and this time there was no way he was keeping tears in. "I can't stay. You don't feel the same, can't pretend that you do, not anymore. I love you Sherlock, always have, but I have to leave. Good-" God he was choking on it, drowning in the gravity of this one word, because it was permanent, this would mean they were never going to be together as anything. It was the splitting of a road into two that travelled in parallel but never met. And John hated it, almost more than he hated himself. "Goodbye Sherlock" and he left. Sherlock gulped again and again, standing in the doorway for hours. "I love you too John."

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Prompt 15: Calm

"Calm down Sherlock honestly you'd think you had feelings" Mycroft drawled in that infuriating manner of his, the one that made Sherlock want to simultaneously kick him in the balls and punch him in the face. Calm down. How on earth was he supposed to calm down?! He was going to die! "Funny enough Mycroft I didn't know that there was a cake around that would make you so irritable. How is that diet going?" Sherlock asked sarcastically, spinning his phone absent mindedly through his fingers. Mycroft gritted his teeth. "As unfortunate as this is for the both of us Sherlock it seems as if we will be needing each other for the foreseeable future, and I do not intend to waste my time bickering with you." Sherlock had to admit that Mycroft had a point. This was going to be the hardest thing he'd ever done, not just physically but emotionally. Loathe to admit the fact that he did have emotions, Sherlock was not so dull as to think he'd be able to walk away from this unscathed. In fact he knew he wouldn't.

"Fine. I'm going to need a variety of items. Something that will cut off the circulation to my wrists, body armour-the new stuff that I know you definitely have, a gun, cash, information." Mycroft nodded. He was beginning to understand what Sherlock was going to do. Inwardly he felt guilty, pulling at his stomach lining like a vice. It was his fault that they were in this position, he was the one who had given Jim Moriarty all the information he would need to blackmail Sherlock freely. No time for that now, not when there was so much left to be done. "Where will you stay?" Mycroft could see it now in his mind's eye, an emaciated Sherlock clinging for dear life onto the worn coat around his wasted body as he squatted behind a bin. He thanked whatever higher power that was out there for Gregory Lestrade, because that was once Sherlock's reality and it was about to be so again. "Molly Hooper's for a night and then wherever I have to go. I will not return until John is safe." If I return at all Sherlock thought. He swallowed and closed his eyes, wondering if his heart could take doing this to John, wondering if John could take him doing this.

He did not have the energy left to be mad at Mycroft. It was too late for that now and his punishment was the worst Sherlock could have devised. Every single day, without fail while he was gone Mycroft would have to go to the flat and watch John. No cameras to keep him detached. He would live with what his actions had done. For once in his life Mycroft would know consequences. Sherlock wished that their was another way, that they could simply switch places and it would be Mycroft on that roof, it would be Mycroft killing criminals and destroying an empire, while he stayed with John, loved him more every day, solved cases and eventually retired at around age 92 to be a beekeeper with John. But he was not going to be that lucky.

When he looked at Mycroft there was nothing but pain and determination in his eyes, he was going to do this. Anything in the world for John. He would miss John, leaving him was like leaving a part of himself behind, like leaving his brain behind, Hell he already missed him and he still had a night with him ahead before tomorrow's big show, the finale of Sherlock Holmes. He rose to leave and Mycroft didn't stop him, but before he left he turned around, shoulders sagging, eyes rimmed red. "Mycroft. Take care of him." He has to be here when I get back. The subtext was louder than the actual spoken words. Somehow Mycroft had not thought that John would contemplate suicide, but now that he was it seemed increasingly likely. "He will be here Sherlock." Mycroft flopped back into his chair as Sherlock left and wondered why, though he had imagined his brother dead many times (mainly by his own hands), the sudden reality of this was making him feel like he was having a heart attack.

John was at the table, cup of tea in hand, smiling softly at a photo Mrs Hudson had sent up of him and Sherlock wrapped in a tight embrace in front of Speedy's. Sherlock's throat closed up just a little more at that. This would quite possibly be his last night with John, ever. When he kissed him it was urgent and needy, he needed to map every single inch of John's body, burn it permanently into his mind so that he could always have it with him. When they fell into bed his movements were slow and so very apologetic. He hoped John understood the sentiment as he held him even closer, running his hands through his hair and over his scar. He crushed their mouths together, tasting John and tea and baker street and home for the last time and he wanted to just bottle that taste because he was going to miss every single little dust mote in the flat and every cell of his body would scream for his John. But it was all for him, anything to keep him safe. When they were finished and boneless, Sherlock wrapped himself around the warmth that was John with all his limbs. John kissed his cheek lightly. "When you do this... I feel like you're saying goodbye." Sherlock didn't answer and John didn't say anything else, just held him tighter and pretended he didn't feel the teardrops falling in his hair.

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Prompt 16: Trousers

Mycroft was getting just a slight bit out of hand now. Fine, so the case was incredibly simple to figure out but that didn't give anyone the right to force him to do anything. He had been quite enjoying himself on skype to John, sitting naked at first and watching as John's eyes had widened and sharpened and he had blushed but smiled a lot too until Lestrade began to stride over and it was the fastest Sherlock had ever put a sheet around himself. This was an ingenious idea, having John tramp about the place while he sat at home waiting until the chase. Plus this way he could really ignore the boring ones because he'd never actually go to one again. But noooo Mycroft couldn't just leave them alone. Tosser Sherlock's mind supplied as he sat in the helicopter wearing only a sheet. The two guards that were with him had high security clearance and reeked of monarchy which had puzzled him for all of a millisecond when he realised the direction they were headed. Buckingham palace indeed. This could be very interesting.

Sherlock was escorted from the copter inside the palace and to one of the smaller lounges and then left alone having told the more shy of the two bodyguards that yes the other one did want to have sex with him and no he wasn't adverse to doing that right now. That was how he ended up on the couch wrapped into a white sheet cocoon, a suit and shoes staring at him from the table top. Suit be damned, if this was how Mycroft wanted to play this then this was how he'd play. The fact he had no choice in the matter was a big reason that Sherlock was feeling particularly contrary about this case, no matter how intrigued he was. Buy deadbolts Sherlock noted in his mind palace and then promptly scribbled it out get John to buy deadbolts for doors and windows. That was more realistic. Speaking of John if this was Mycroft's doing he should have been there by now, almost certainly comandeered as he had been. For a palace the room was not exactly warm. Sherlock could not imagine that walking around in only a robe would have been a pleasant experience living here but then again most monarchs tend to keep a few more layers than that on their person. He was bored. The pattern of the sofa was just horrific and quite frankly he was not in the mood to wait for stupid government officials to try and tell him what to do. The suit was still staring at him.

John had been unsurprised when he was taken to a helipad and flown away with two men in black at his side. Obviously Mycroft had a case for Sherlock and his penchant for kidnapping the two of them had taken a more dramatic turn. He had interrupted what could have been a very interesting skype chat once he had gotten back to the car. Bloody interfering man. John couldn't help but wonder if Sherlock was cooperating because he knew very well how he could get if he felt that he had been wronged in some way, especially by Mycroft. John was shown into Buckingham palace which was a shock and a half. It was the sight that greeted him after that which gave him a heart attack. Sherlock was seated upright on the couch for once which was good but as far as John could tell he was only wearing a thin sheet. John sat down on the other side of the couch and crossed his ankles, waiting for Sherlock to explain, but they just sat in silence for a while. "Sherlock are you wearing pants?" he asked unable to contain his curiosity. "No." Their eyes met and they burst into a fit of giggles. They chatted a bit after that, with John expressing his inexplicable urge to steal an ashtray and Sherlock laughing along with him, face crinkling up into a genuine smile. They waited a bit more and Mycroft and a liaison finally arrived.

He strode in and looked Sherlock up and down before sighing wearily. "Sherlock you're in the palace. Put your trousers on" Sherlock stiffened. "Who's my client" Mycroft sniffed "I can't disclose that information." Sherlock rose and make to leave, and Mycroft placed a foot on the back of his sheet, causing his back and torso to be exposed. That was rather awkward for everyone involved as evidence of John's presence was plastered along his next and collar bones. It was hard to decide who the hickeys were more mortifying for, but John had his vote on himself. The look Mycroft gave him was one he wouldn't soon forget, there was genuine surprise in his expression and revulsion when he read all about their exploits in Sherlock's body. He attempted to ignore it and so did Sherlock. "Who. Is. My. Client" he growled, holding the sheet tightly around his waist. While he was fine with walking away nude he didn't want to leave if this was a good one, better to know first. John sighed as the brothers bickered. The sooner he could get out of here the better. " Boys. Not here." John interjected and Mycroft stepped away, straightening his suit. Sherlock made the decision to put his on. Irene Adler. Oh this would be a good one.

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Prompt 17: Chain

He was standing out on the balcony alone, wishing he could leave and he'd only been at the party for half an hour. There were so many people there with secrets and betrayal plastered across their very shirt sleeves that his brain was on auto drive, and he wanted to focus a bit more. His experiment was going rather well, it seemed his conclusion that social situations are conducive to excessive alcohol consumption had been correct as he himself had definitely consumed more than he should have. Right now though he really really wanted a cigarette. No sooner had he thought this did a slightly older blonde man stroll out with a cigarette clenched between his fingers. He was 26 to Sherlock's 23 , studied medicine in the same college as Sherlock was himself studying. He came from a poor enough family and had been studying to support them by joining the army. That was interesting. The room was spinning a bit too much for him to get any more information.

The blonde was by his side all of a sudden, elbows leaning heavily on the railing as he looked out across the London skyline. Sherlock did not know what was expected of him in the situation so he turned to watch the city too. "I'm going to miss it. Definitely." Sherlock looked down at his face and nodded. Shipping out in two days time, this party was for the man next to him, a last hurrah in case he didn't return. "I should say you would. Afghanistan or Iraq?" Sherlock was surprised to find his mouth moving of it's own accord . Must be the alcohol he deemed before waiting for a response from the shocked man beside him. "How do you know that?" Sherlock sighed. "Give me your phone for a moment." Strangely, the man did as he was asked. A phone was dropped into Sherlock's outstretched palm. Deftly after years of playing violin he swirled his fingers across the keys, typing out a message to his client. When he was finished he replaced the phone into the other man's pocket and began. "Afghanistan or Iraq because you have a military stance about you, controlled and well postured. The chain around your neck is attached to the dogtags you just acquired when you received your duty notice last month. You're a careful man who would do anything to help those in need but also an adrenaline junkie who is waiting for the next high. You're sentimental because you can't afford not to be and not as well off as others assume you would be, which explains the phone from your brother the divorcing alcoholic. It was gift that you would otherwise not have accepted but it gives you a way to contact him and make sure he is okay when you're gone. This party is in fact for you as a going away of sorts as in two days you will be leaving for either Afghanistan or Iraq." He let the last word fade slowly out and waited for the inevitable insults that were sure to follow.

"That was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant" Sherlock shook his head to clear his ears but he had heard right, this man had said he was brilliant. Something in his stomach was very warm all of a sudden and he smiled at the other man. "That's not what people usually say." The other looked at him with puzzlement in his face "What do they usually say?" Sherlock grinned, the first true smile he'd given in years "Piss off." The army man laughed loudly at that, the chuckling noise adding to the growing warmth in his stomach. "You were right, the army,the orders, the party , the phone, my divorcing alcoholic sister though. Harry is my sister" Sherlock cursed a bit under his breath "There's always something! Sister of course!" The other man just smiled and shrugged "I'm still very very impressed. Iraq, by the way." He said, once again facing out to admire the city. Sherlock could definitely understand that sentiment. London was the only place on Earth he wanted to be, it's packed streets and big Ben were staples of his existence and he didn't like to think that he would ever be away from them too long. He did love London. "I'm John by the way, John Watson." Sherlock rolled the name about in his mouth. John Watson. "Sherlock Holmes." He extended his hand and stared as John took it, the feeling of their palms touching sending millions of electric shocks up his arm and all over his body. John removed his hand and Sherlock had the urge to take it back within his own, rub his thumb across the knuckles and then... But he didn't. Instead he stepped closer and John leaned into him so their bodies were resting against one another.

John pulled out a lighter and lit his cigarette, placing the stick between his lips. Sherlock had almost forgotten that he had one. His lungs burned with want, but there was no box in his pockets, just the single cylinder in his mouth. John caught Sherlock staring at the glowing cigarette and inhaled deeply. He pulled it from his lips and moved closer to Sherlock until there was almost no space between them. Gently he tilted Sherlock' down to his own and when their lips were less than a hairs breadth apart he breathed out long tendrils of smoke directly into Sherlock's mouth. It had been unexpected, but Sherlock was burning,the fire that had begun in his stomach had seared it's way to his heart and it was beating with the fervor of a steam train now that John was so close to him. He inhaled the smoke and puffed it back out into the night as John inhaled again, this time smiling and then pressing his lips to Sherlock's before allowing the smoke to trickle out and into Sherlock's mouth. The nicotine went straight to his veins and Sherlock felt more alert than he had for a while now. John did not pull their lips apart. If anything he moved closer, and Sherlock could not help but respond, placing a hand on his lower back and pressing him into his body as they kissed. His mouth was already open and the addition of John's tongue was a very pleasant experience.

The party had died down a few hours ago, with only Sherlock and John, still entwined on the balcony, awake to see the sun as it rose. John's kisses were softer now, and Sherlock knew why. He had to go, pack his things and fly across the world to a warzone from which he may nother return. His stomach felt as if it had fallen out of his body. It was ridiculous he knew, they had only just met after all, but he felt about John as he had never felt about anyone else. He didn't want to lose him. John leaned his head on Sherlock's shoulder and wrapped his arms around his torso. "If I had met you a year ago... I don't think I would be leaving right now" he murmured into his shirt. "I wish you weren't leaving." Sherlock said honestly, because he did. He did wish that John didn't have to go, that he could stay and they could see what this was, what it could be. John reached across and pulled out his phone, shoving it into Sherlock's hands. "Put your number in, and your address. If I can't see you at least I can talk to you right?" He sounded hopeful, he was entirely serious. He wanted to hear from Sherlock. "Of course, I would like that, if we could keep in contact while you're gone. When do you get leave?" John laughed "Haven't even left yet and you're looking for leave! After nine months probably and then again in a year after that, then another six months and my tour is over" That was over two years. Sherlock nodded.

"If you don't want to keep this up I understand, two years is a long time." Sherlock scoffed. "I don't think you understand John, I have waited twenty three years for someone like you to come along and now that you have I don't think I will be able to let you go. If you're worried that there'll be someone else, their won't be, because there is no other like you." John kissed him again, and when they broke away breathless he looked at his watch. "You still have the day here. Do you want to just go out together until you have to go?" John beamed and kissed him again "Oh God yes."

Chapter Text

Prompt 18: Ladder

"Come on, it's not like you have a better idea, is it?" Greg scoffed from his seat on the floor of 221b. Sherlock scowled. He had forgotten this visit would be taking place at all. It was John's fault in the first place for being so... Social. A week earlier Sherlock had just finished solving a small case and when Lestrade had asked John to the pub, he had assumed, wrongly, that John would refuse on account of both their tiredness. John had however accepted happily and simply kissed Sherlock goodbye at the door of the station and pottered off with Lestrade. Neither of them even noticed the black car that was lurking in the side alley as they walked jovially together.

Mycroft had not thought that Gregory would be so keen to stay away, but it seemed like he was trying to avoid him by taking John out. When the two men were out of sight he asked the driver to roll up to Sherlock, who's expression of discontent mirrored his own. It was a rare occurrence that they were in agreement about anything, but on this they could not be more in step. It had been a week, a full week since Mycroft had seen more than five minutes of Greg face to face and he was in need of some quality time and a good shag. While Sherlock had physically been around John almost 24/7 he hadn't really been around him, it was work and very much separate from their relationship, he was tired and John helped him sleep and made him tea, plus he was delightfully warm and decidedly comfortable to sleep on, he had a way of wrapping his arms around Sherlock when they were in bed that was very agreeable. They could conspire a thousand ways to keep them apart but in the end that would just backfire horrifically. "It's fine that they're friendly, but I am not enjoying their spending so much time together." Mycroft would have berated his brother for being so clingy, if he hadn't felt the same way of course. "Indeed. There has to be an alternative." So the two smartest men in London sat down and thought about it.

Greg sipped his pint and rubbed his eyes. "When did pubs get so loud? I must be getting old" he complained over the ever present hum of voices. John shrugged and sighed. While he was eager enough to spend time with Greg, on days like today he wanted the comfort of his own home and some peace. "It would be nice to have some quiet and just relax without having to worry about" he was cut off by the simultaneous buzzing of their phones. Greg scoffed. "Mycroft." John eyed his and sighed "I'll give you two guesses who texted me" Greg shook his head and laughed dryly, taking another swig of his beer. "Go on so, what does yours want?" John cleared his throat "John, when are you coming home? Need your laptop. And tea. We may need milk. SH Clearly he wants me home, what about yours?" Greg smirked. "I have returned home Gregory and am awaiting your arrival in the bedroom. Do hurry, I am not a patient man MH." John chuckled quietly to himself.

"Direct as ever Mycroft. You'd think they were needy girlfriends the way they - wait. Greg dyou think they might be? Needy, that is, definitely not girls." That was a thought. "If that's why they keep trying to make us stay home I swear I'll shoot something. How difficult is it to say Oh yeah hey listen I would rather you were with me because lets face it you're so fantastic that I can't seem to get enough of you?" Greg mocked the posh Holmes accent for effect and John quickly found himself wiping tears of laughter from his cheeks."If that's the issue I might have an idea, why don't you just bring Mycroft with you to the flat next time and we can have our beers in peace and keep the two of them close by at the same time." Seemed like a rational enough idea at the time, so they shook hands on it and split up, eager to return to their wonderfully clingy partners.

John hung up his coat and found a sulky Sherlock on the couch, but his expression brightened considerably when John arrived. John smiled right back at him and crawled up the couch, peppering the exposed areas of skin with light touches of his lips before taking up residence at the pale expanse of his neck. "Anything to say?" Sherlock groaned, this was one surefire way that John used to make him confess his thoughts. "M-missed you, always miss you when you're not with me." John added tender sucking motions. "Want you all to myself, always." John extricated himself briefly "Sherlock Greg is my friend and I like spending time with him, need to if we want to stay as close as we are. But, that has no bearing on the fact that it's you that I love to be with, you that I love coming home to, you that I love seeing every moment of every day, you that I love watching, listening to, feeling, tasting, you that I love full stop. So don't think for a second that one night a week changes any of that, because it doesn't and never will. I know you don't want to be far so I told Greg to come over here next time, that way I can be with you and have a beer with my mate okay?" Sherlock nodded shyly and John closed the distance between their faces, kissing him languidly. "Alright then. From now on just tell me, we could have solved this much sooner if you had. As you frequently remind me I am a bit of an idiot so give me a hand yeah?" Sherlock smirked "Less of an idiot than most John, you got there in the end. Perhaps your deductions are improving. Try me now." John attempted to focus on the fine points of deduction but gave up after a while. "You want to go to bed because you're exhausted and want to be perky in the morning because we will be having a very good time I should think." "Very good John, your guesses were entirely correct."

That brief conversation only returned to Sherlock after John opened the door to reveal Lestrade and Mycroft to his dismay.

"Come on, it's not like you have a better idea, is it?" Greg asked from his seat on the floor. When no one responded he pulled the dusty box from it's shelf and blew the motes from the lid."Snakes and ladders it is then, unless cluedo-" "NO!" John yelled slowly making his way back from the kitchen with tea and coffee. "Not cluedo. Never cluedo" Greg looked perturbed between Sherlock and John. "John has only played that game with me once and he was not satisfied with my crime, just because I didn't follow the paltry cards." Sherlock pouted and Mycroft laughed. "How was he to know?" Sherlock looked incredulously at them all, They seemed to be with John on this. "We were the only two playing, one person creates a crime the other solves it based on the missing cards among those that remain. I gave John all the cards. None were missing therefore the crime was committed by someone else. Obviously." Mycroft smiled at that and leaned into Greg who patted his hand. John gravitate to the floor as the board was set up and soon Sherlock had his head in his lap. "Quick question. Does anybody want to play snakes and ladders or can we go somewhere fun like the shooting range at the station?" Greg asked. "I don't hate you right now Lestrade." Sherlock called, and quieter into John's ear "You are very attractive with a smoking gun in your hand." They all scrambled up and out the door, leaving snakes and ladders forgotten on the floor.

Chapter Text

Prompt 18: "What do you want this time?"

A/n (before the fic? *Gasp*) Im going to do an AU - soulmate!verse just to try it on for size. I know exactly nothing about doing properly AU so sorry for the shambles that this will probably be

In the olden days, people had denounced love at first sight as impossible, because for them it was. It took thousands of years of evolution and documenting to reveal the truth of that phrase. It was all in the eyes. There was no real telling signs, colour had a little to do with it but seeing as there were only a certain number of eye colours you could be that helped very little. Sites were set up, showing only pictures of someone's eyes. If they were your soulmate you would know instantly and have to find them, no matter what. As the realisation that eyes were the key to finding the perfect match for you, people made eye contact with almost everyone around them, just in case. It did happen like that too, people would walk down the road and suddenly their soulmate would just be there. John Watson had seen it happen many times. For a while he had searched, just like everyone else, but eventually he gave up, joined the army, protected the bonds people had made with his life against people who wished to destroy them. After all, if one half of a pairing dies the other might as well be because there is only one person made for you, and once they are gone you will truly be alone, a shell of what you used to be, the mark of your soulmate branding you forever.

That's not to say you had to marry your soulmate, because some people didn't. They didn't have the time to be looking for someone they may never find, wanted happiness now, and even if it wasn't the perfect happiness they were supposed to experience they just didn't care. John Watson was one of those people. At this stage he had pretty much given up any hope he had of finding perfection, he had decided to settle after he was shot and sent home. At least he would have somebody.

Sherlock Holmes had been brought up to avoid eye contact with anyone who hadn't found their soulmate, for fear that he might inadvertently find his own. It was difficult enough, in his line of work especially, but he could not afford the risk a person joined to him would bring. Also he found people in general infuriatingly dull and rather dim to boot, having one of their altogether normal eyes tattooed on his skin was an affronting thought. He did not have friends and he did not want any, a soulmate would bring an abrupt end to that. He was fine on his own. He told himself that every night he spent alone and awake in the darkness.

The morgue of St. Barts hospital was a refuge of sorts, the only live person down there was Molly and he had discovered long ago that they were not soulmates, no matter how badly she wished they were. Many people wished they were his soulmate once they saw his eyes. They were color filled, bright blue and green with flecks of gold and orange scattered through them. It was a brand anyone would be proud to wear due to it's rarity. He was in the morgue with Molly when Mike had arrived down for a brief chat. "Hello Sherlock! How's the flat search going?" Sherlock looked up from his riding crop "Nothing yet suitable, well, nothing yet suitable within my price range." He lashed at the corpse again, the sharp crack resonating through their teeth. "You should get a flatmate" Mike offered, genuine. "No one would ever want me as a flatmate." Sherlock returned to striking the corpse with renewed vigour and Mike left after that, shaking his head.

John woke up yelling once again and rubbed his eyes. Another day. Sometimes he wondered why he even bothered, everything was so dull and lifeless that he might as well be too. He stared at his blog for a while and then went out, deciding that fresh air was the best way forward. On his way through the park he crashed into Mike, who smiled strangely at him and dragged him to . "Sherlock Holmes meet John Watson." John could see that Sherlock was beautiful, his hair dark and curled, pale skin, angular cheekbones. He noticed that no matter what he did not lock eyes with him, averting his gaze to every other part of him bar his face. "Afghanistan or Iraq?" those three words had him hooked and when Sherlock gave him an address for a flat they could share, he didn't think twice about it. Of course he'd go.

Sherlock wheeled about the room at pace until he paused at the window and grinned before schooling his features into nonchalance. "How many?" he asked the moment the door opened revealing a panting police officer. "Four. You coming?" "I'll follow behind you" as soon as the man had left Sherlock was jumping in the air, raving about what fun it would be as John sat on the armchair. He was gone in a whirl and John was left with Mrs Hudson. For about a minute he believed Sherlock had gone, right up until he returned. Two nights of detective work passed, with chases through London, meeting arch enemies, texting murders and then a drugs bust all eye contactless. Routine apparently, but Sherlock disappeared into the night before the police did and John, strangely, was worried. When they did finally leave and Sherlock had not yet returned he decided to go to find him, when the gps tracker beeped. He knew what to do, tucking his gun into his pocket. The taxi ride was tense, he felt a loyalty so strong to this man that he'd only met three days previously, they were friends, partners. It was exciting and dangerous and he was not keen to lose his friend. The building was split in two and John got the feeling that he would only have the chance to enter one if Sherlock was in danger before it would be too late. So he chose.

Sherlock clinked the pill bottle off the table and made to leave, but the cabbie chided him, goaded him. He opened the bottle and so did the cabbie. Just as he pressed the pill to his lips a shot rang out, crumpling the cabbie to the floor. The shooter had disappeared. John had picked the wrong building, he saw Sherlock across the way through two windows, bringing a pill to his face. John didn't even think about it, simply aimed and fired. Sherlock was in trouble, and John was not going to let anything happen to him. He ducked and crawled away, not wanting to get spotted. Through police arrived before too long and he waited calmly behind the tape, hands clasped behind his back. Sherlock scowled at the detective inspector from his seat in the ambulance and John could see the cogs turning in his head as he rattled off deductions about the shooter. When Sherlock looked at his feet however he stopped talking altogether and leaped up, leaving a bewildered Lestrade in his wake.

John waited patiently at the tape and when Sherlock reached him and began to giggle he couldn't help himself but join in. When he did Sherlock's eyes flew to his in surprise and there was a burning sensation in his hand, and his chest. In fact his whole body was warm and full and relaxed. "Oh." Sherlock said, staring at the new ice blue eye on his hand. "Wow." John said, looking into the intoxicating eyes of his soulmate. They were only millimeters apart, and the electricity between them was a tangible force, a magnetic field that ran from one to the other. John could feel his body being pulled inexplicably closer to Sherlock's. Sherlock gulped as their foreheads met. All of a sudden Sherlock felt the urge to be so much closer, and thank John for killing for him "That...what you did there... it was... I... It was good. Thank you" Sherlock whispered as their mouths collided. John's hand found his and the sweet fire in his veins grew with every moment they were together.

There was a soft cough from behind them and Sherlock growled. "What do you want this time Mycroft?" Mycroft smirked "Nothing brother, just thought I would properly introduce myself yo your soulmate Dr. Watson. Although I'm sure he remembers our first meeting." John looked between them, and shook his head. He should have known Sherlock would consider his brother to be his arch enemy. "Is that it?" Sherlock asked and Mycroft nodded, slinking away towards the crime scene. "Let's go home" John smiled, and they got a cab, hand in hand. Mycroft headed over to Greg as they walked off, giving him a quick peck before looking back at the two figures as they disappeared. "Their eyes match very well don't you think? Both just a little out of the ordinary. Like you and I." he smirked and Greg laughed. "Sherlock will hate that, love at first sight, a perfect match, so cliché." The thought had crossed Sherlock's mind, but he brushed it aside. It was John. Of course it was perfect.

Chapter Text

Prompt 20: Prize

Sherlock sat stoic on the opposite side of a small table to Jim Moriarty. They had both been dead for a few years now, but this was to be their penultimate meeting. Sherlock had spent every waking minute on the trail of every single person who could be involved with Moriarty. Each of them had posed a new threat, but after three years of traveling and hiding and killing, he was finished, save one. In truth Sherlock had known after the roof that Jim had faked it too, he had chosen to ignore that particular fact in favour of chasing down any helping hands. If he didn't have the man power Moriarty was nothing special, he wouldn't be one to get his hands dirty directly. Yet here they were, yet again, together on the roof of hospital. "Fitting, isn't it? You know I like to make a performance out of it all! We have so much history here, don't you agree Sherly?" Jim pursed his lips and leaned forward on his elbows, putting his chin in his hands. "Awfully quiet aren't we? How about a video to get you more vocal hm? I made this one myself, watch it every night before bed" He pulled out a laptop and tilted the screen so both men could watch. "Are you ready? Oh it's so good!"

The screen faded into white and then John was on the small screen, and the slide show began. Photos of their first date, and John smiling and laughing and their first kiss and him staring admiringly up at Sherlock as he deduced at a scene, the slides catalogued most all their time together, and

Sherlock remembered every instance that was frozen on screen, he had pulled them out in his head when he missed John. The next photo was of the fall, and John's face as he watched Sherlock topple over, John being taken home by Mycroft and Lestrade, both in absolute silence, The look of fury and hatred in his eyes as he punched Mycroft in the face. Then it was just John. Lying on the ground of their flat, tears pooling and trickling down his face, him falling asleep with Sherlock's robe clutched in his hands, Sitting in his armchair staring at his hands. "Wait wait wait, my FAVOURITE parts are coming up!" Moriarty chimed gleefully. Sherlock, whose stomach was already threatening to empty itself with guilt and pain and want, dropped entirely. Out of the pocket of the coat he had worn the day of the fall, John produced a velvet box. The next photo was of him sitting at the table, opening it. Inside, a thin band of silver peered out of a cushion bed, and then it was gone, stowed away into John's pocket again as he grabbed his cane and limped out. The final few frames showed John at Sherlock's grave, shivering in the rain. He half smiled before leaving the box at the foot of the stone that marked where he was supposed to be lying. The screen faded once more into black. "Wasn't that just touching? Your pet was very fond of you it seems! We would be sooooo much better together, all that sentimentality was hilarious don't you think?" Confident that Jim couldn't see his face, Sherlock closed his eyes. John had wanted to marry him, was going to ask him if he would stay forever.

"You'd never believe some of the great stuff I got from his therapy sessions honestly it's pure gold!" Sherlock was silent. He didn't want to hear this. "I'll play you some shall I, needn't tell you who's who, it's very clear. Session Twenty seven, He finally decides to speak to that mad woman." 'It's my fault you know' 'what's your fault?' 'That he's dead. I was..' 'You were?' 'I was smothering him I suppose, he couldn't wait to get away, and must've thought that killing himself was the best way. He could have told me he didn't love me. At least he would still be alive.'" Moriarty howled with laughter and wiped his eyes "There's more! Session eighty six, finally admits his feelings!" 'I loved the poor bastard, God I lived in constant awe of him and I loved him more for every insane thing he did... I was going to propose, see? I got it engraved too - Could be dangerous. You won't get that but... He would have.' 'It can be therapeutic to talk to the headstone of loved ones and tell them everything you would have told that person when they were alive. Perhaps you could write out what you would say? Bring it to our next session?' 'I might have to postpone it a bit, it'll be longer than the lord of the rings.' A light click signified the end off that recording.

"You see Sherlock, we play our game of chess, and one of us gets the prize, because the winner gets to take everything" Moriarty called, fiddling with the recording a bit more until he found his place. "For the grand finale, Session ninety four, John reads out his love letter!" 'Dear Sherlock, if you were listening you'd probably mock this, especially because Ella is involved, you were never her biggest fan. She said this might help me, to get over you, feel better or something. I don't believe that much, but I want to tell you a lot, and if this somehow reaches you well it'll be worth the pain of writing this. Because it was painful. I wish that I had told you when you were here, I love you Sherlock Holmes, and I always did. You brought me back to life, saved me in a way I couldn't save you. You said not to make people into heroes, but to me you will always be a hero, because you worked so hard to save everyone and solve it all... The day you jumped was the worst day of my life, and I have had my share of bad days, but nothing could have affected me more than losing you. You were the most human human I have ever known, and no one can ever convince me that you told me a lie. Even though you maybe didn't feel the same, I would have married you Sherlock, because I wanted to be yours until the day I die, still do. I punched Mycroft in the face for us both, I think I did a good job, his face swelled quite nicely. It's funny the things I've grown to miss. The 2am violin, constant texts, biohazards in the fridge, body parts in the food if there was any... Your voice, the swish of your coat, your curls, the small smiles you saved just for me, I even miss how bloody annoying you were. I can say for certain that I don't think I could have asked for a better friend, because you were the best friend I've ever had and I am so grateful that we met. You made me who I always wanted to be, and I can never thank you enough for giving me everything that you did, because to me, you were everything. Love, now and forever, Your John." The recording ended with a soft whir and Sherlock was trembling. You were everything.

"So you see Sherlock, I know I'm going to win, I always do. The question is, what I do with my prize? He'd make a fine pet for me. But you know how I love games...We can settle this easily. Guns on the table." Moriarty dropped his revolver on the table, and Sherlock followed suit, pulling his own gun out and placing it down. "Now switch them and roll the bullets... That's it. Now put it to your head." Sherlock smirked. "Russian roulette." Jim's smile glittered "That's right Sherly, well done!" The barrel of the gun rested snugly against both of their temples. "Pull on three!" Sherlock closed his eyes. "One." The safety clicked off, and Sherlock copied. "Two" His fingers curled around the trigger. "Three" a shot exploded through the air and Jim slumped onto the table, blood spattered across Sherlock. He opened his eyes to find a similarly bloodied John standing alone, smoking browning in his outstretched hands. He smiled tearily at Sherlock,and pulled out the velvet box, back from the grave "I'm nobody's prize."

Chapter Text

Prompt 21: Weak at the knees

 

John? -Sh

Yeah Sherlock? Kind of in the middle of something here -J

Oh Please. Your response time indicates extreme boredom, not to mention the fact that I already told you before you went to work that it would be inconceivabley boring. You insisted on going however, but even though you are bored of elderly patients sometimes you still afford them your full attention, so I know you are not actually busy because if you were I would not get a response -SH

You're very annoying, have I told you that before? -J

Indeed. You enjoy it though- SH

Enjoy isn't the adjective I would use to describe it -J

Well I thought love was a bit strong but if you insist -SH

If you couldn't tell I rolled my eyes just there. What was it that you wanted Sherlock? -J

Oh. Yes. That. Well... I seem to have made a small miscalculation in my latest experiment -SH

But you promised you'd try not to set the flat on fire for the new year! -J

The flat is not on fire John, Even I can't make this experiment flammable accidentally.-SH

Thank God for that, I swear you'll give Mrs Hudson a heart attack one of these days, the amount of times she's come home to smoke pouring out of the flat is ridiculous -J

She does worry so -SH

You'd think you had a thing for the firemen -J

I do not!

Oooh Sherlock Holmes! You have a thing for firemen! You didn't even sign your initials

at the end of that - J

Shut up. -SH

Touchy touchy! If it's not fire then what is it? -J

I was experimenting with blood sugar levels on ones ability to function, as you know my dietary habits are less than what most would consider to be normal and by extension so is my blood sugar but I have been taking pills to lower it even further ( for the case John!) and I may be in trouble -SH

Bloody hell Sherlock! Symptoms? -J

I am quite literally weak at the knees, (although you may be somewhat to blame for that) Nausea, dizziness. Regular symptoms of low blood sugar or orthostatic hypotension. -SH

It was your idea, and you didn't complain last night ;) Right, where are you? -J

On the floor of the sitting room. I was in my mind palace and when I attempted to get up I lost consciousness. I have tried repeatedly but the results have been the same -SH

I'm almost finished up here, I'll leave now. What do you want for dinner, and trust me Sherlock you're having dinner. And jellybeans- J

Jellybeans John? I am not a child. I'll eat whatever you put in front of me at this point. Can you get some copper sulfate while you're out? -SH

Fastest acting sugar on the market is found in jellybeans Sherlock, plus they're delicious! Where am I meant to get copper sulfate at this hour?- J

Fair point. Tomorrow then. -SH

I'm in Tesco, you sure there's nothing else you want? -J

You -SH

Well I'm on my way up now, be there soon. -J

Thank you John -SH

No problem Sherlock- J

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Prompt 22: Alive

Smut warning

Three years exactly. It had been one thousand and ninety five days, each one both blurring into the next in an endless stream of the mundane and lasting for what felt like decades. Sherlock Holmes was a dead man walking, quite literally, while John Watson was simply a man who may as well have been dead who walked anyway. After day one - because suddenly dates and times no longer had meaning aside from when they occurred in regards to the fall - John could no longer call 221b his home, because the one thing that had made it so was now gone. He had moved back to the bedsit against the wishes of one Mrs Hudson who attempted to convince him that staying was the best option, but concluded that he was always welcome to go back and promising not to move anything unless it was in danger of decomposition. She had cried when he left. He had'nt, there were no tears spare, he was saving them for the night, when he could once again see the man he loved in all his glory. People always said that the first day of anything is the most difficult, because it's new and terrifying. This was not the case for John. The worst day was the first anniversary, when he realised he had an eternity of days like this before him, and he would be facing them alone.

It felt wrong that the earth was still turning, the sun still shone, people were born and smiling and happy, life kept going even though his whole world had stopped. People would not remain sympathetic forever, this much he knew, so he got up every morning and went to work at the clinic, made mindless small talk, smiled and laughed in all the right places because he was fine, declining offers of drinks and dinner and coffee and chats from Molly and Lestrade in favour of Harry who knew exactly what was going on. He'd work and do the shopping and go back to his flat and stare at the telly and go to bed, trying fruitlessly to sleep for more than an hour at a time. He'd lost more than he'd care to admit at St Barts, yet the annual pilgrimage continued on the anniversary regardless of his personal hatred of the place.

Sherlock was exhausted. The past three years of his life after death had been a whirlwind of travel and espionage, dark nights and hiding places. He had not been in London since that last day, but there were few places he hadn't been. Every continent had hosted his cold fury and brutal determination, case after case solved in a nonstop reel, until the only things left keeping him standing were the puzzle and John. He had a new name amongst the criminal underworld for a time, Angel of death they called him. He had managed not to kill anyone personally, but once they were in custody he was not responsible for what happened to them. All he did was find, incriminate, drug and drag to the authorities. No names, no face to face meetings, just a knock on the door and an unconscious person on the ground with a large file of evidence strapped to their chest. He had come to be grateful for his foresight as without the help of the homeless network worldwide he would have died, or relapsed long ago. Their kindness to him was greater than people would find anywhere else, and he would not be quick to forget that. He wandered down the Thames, glad that people were so utterly ordinary and unobservant for if they were not, they would have seen a corpse returned from the grave. Against his better judgement he had kept the curls, John had liked them and he could just about see, even now, his calloused hands running through them. With the ultimate defeat of Moran it was time to go home. He had one final stop to make before he could see John again, and he was not exactly looking forward to it, but then again he never had.

He took out his lock pick and jimmied the window of Mycroft's Diogenes office open. Sitting in his chair, facing the window, Sherlock couldn't help but remember the last time he'd been in an office. At least this time the man he was expecting might be even slightly pleased to see him. Eventually the door opened and Mycroft strode in, phone pressed to his ear. "No, military action would frankly be a show of weakness that we cannot afford to ma-" he stuttered, eyes widening as he took in the sight of his dead brother in his chair. "ke. Call Jamal, ask him for the fifth list. He'll understand. Good day." Sherlock waited. "Brother." Mycroft flinched slightly at the term, he had not been called that for a good few years, it sounded unfamiliar to him now. "Sherlock.

I take it there's an explanation? Or is suicide another phase of yours?" He instilled all the venom he could spare into his words, because for once in his life Mycroft was not going to pretend everything was ok. "Moriarty. 3 snipers trained on those closest to me: Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and John. It was my life or theirs, and he shot himself so I had no way of stopping their death but to jump. I saw most of it coming, and prepared accordingly. Some well positioned overhangs,homeless men on bikes, blood from myself distributed by more homeless. Even you know how to conceal a pulse. Molly Hooper simply opened the back door and let me leave. I travelled the world, taking down Moriarty's web one strand at a time and I finished just yesterday. Now I'm back." Mycroft sat down, poured himself a drink. "Do you have any concept of... And the Hooper girl of all people I mean... Humpf." Sherlock arched a brow, this was not like Mycroft at all, but he remained silent because there was definitely a point to all the ramblings.

"There are two things about this whole scenario I cannot seem to wrap my head around. The first being that you did not ask for my assistance because quite frankly you would have finished much faster if you had and the second, foolish though it is, is that you couldn't spare the time to let John Watson know you were alive, because he is not, not really. Hasn't been since your little stunt actually. Left Baker street, holed up for three weeks, reappeared a grey little man with nothing to lose and nothing to take. Introverted, only meets his sister, whom he detests, because her wife, a Clara Oswald, died soon after you in childbirth and they can empathise with each other. I cannot say I possess any strong feelings in favour of Dr Watson, but even I am left with nothing when I try to figure out how on Earth you would do this to him. Keeping him safe is an excuse that worked for maybe a year. He has been safe for at least two. You know it, I know it. That begs the question why you hid yourself for so long, if not for fear of how he would react? Ah. So that's it then." Mycroft sipped his whiskey. Was he pleased to see Sherlock? Of course. The guilt of feeding Moriarty the information that led to his death had been consuming him and now that Sherlock was alive he could let that go. At least it was something. Sherlock bowed his head. "Fear. How very plebeian of me I know. It was not a choice I wanted to face and in ignoring it, I chose to leave John in the dark. It is not something I am proud of Mycroft." A snort caused him to look up and he suddenly found himself buried in a three piece suit with Mycroft's arms around him. They had not hugged since infancy. Sherlock wrapped his arms around Mycroft in return, feeling as soothed as he had the last time they had hugged, which was when he was three. "I am glad that you're back Sherlock. It was quite dull on my cctv without you around. Now go to John, he's in that awful bedsit on bakers walk. I wouldn't worry too much, he is still smitten with you." An awkward pat on the back and Sherlock was up and running out the door and down the road because he was Sherlock Holmes and he refused to be afraid.

He only slowed when the door of John's room got in his way. He could hear him, pottering about inside, the distinct sounds of a kettle boiling and a tea spoon clinking off a mug reinforcing the fact that this was real. Subtlety was probably the best approach and so he knocked sharply on the door. "Go away please, I'm not interested" "John?" Mug clattered to the floor. "Sherlock?" "Open the door John. Please." Two quick steps and suddenly door swung open, revealing one to the other. Seconds, an eternity, passed between them, growing and writhing in their unbroken gaze. "John I-" Sherlock was cut off abruptly by John, who flew at him and pressed their lips together, like Sherlock was the only thing he needed to breathe. Sherlock pulled John to him and ran his hands up and down his body, once again mapping it. "I don't know" John whispered between kisses "whether to kick you into next week" his mouth ravaged Sherlock's "Or have a mental breakdown because you're alive." Lips and tongue traced his jaw and followed it down to his neck. "I can explain it all John I - oh" John held a finger to his lips. "Tomorrow you will be telling me everything about all of this and I will see if you deserve a good kicking or not. Right now though, I need to see all of you. I missed you so much Sherlock, And I'm going to show you exactly how much if you close the door." Sherlock pulled the door shut and waited, watching John smile deviously. "Strip and get on the bed" Sherlock did as he was told, not ashamed of the new scars he had accrued over the years. He planted himself on John's bed and looked up for his next instruction. "Good, now put your hands over your head, just like that, okay, I'm going to cuff them up there, and now your legs exactly!" He didn't bother asking why exactly John had these handcuffs but it was probably above board.

When Sherlock was trussed up and could barely move, John evened the field and got undressed too, slithering against his body to reach his ear and savouring the small gasp of surprised pleasure that ensued. "I missed your life more than I wanted my own when I got shot you know." Say nothing, Sherlock knew how this worked. John grinned and slid back down to Sherlock's legs, gently circling a finger around his entrance before pushing in with two. With uncanny precision he crooked his fingers and brushed his prostate, cancelling out the hint of pain with sparks of pleasure, over and over until he was leaking over both of them and desperate for friction of any kind, wishing he could stroke himself just so there'd be some relief. "Please John ugh please" John withdrew his hand and lifted Sherlock's hips "I always love it when you're polite" he grunted, sliding into him gently at first, giving him time to adjust to this sensation again. As soon as he could feel that he was ready, John thrust hard into him, fast and rough, taking him apart. All he could do was moan and writhe and try to move in rhythm with John. Precum ran down his thighs and made them both slightly stickier than they already were, he watched John's face, emotions flying across it, changing every passing moment . He was already close. "John! I'm oh God" Sherlock closed his eyes and prepared for the onslaught that this declaration used to incur, but it didn't come. He was left feeling empty as John pulled out of him and he opened his eyes, incredibly confused. His face was an image of every emotion under the sun as he leaned back on his knees and clambered off the bed. "You know how you miss the feeling of me inside of you right now? Amplify that by about two million and you have how much I missed you, you utter bastard. I can't believe you did that! Not a single word, or sign, not even a whisper! It's a good thing" John whispered, turning back around "That I am not as cruel to you as you are to me." Slowly he unlocked the cuffs and lay on the bed, kissing Sherlock softly while he finished both of them off with a few strokes. They were pressed chest to chest, Sherlock resting his head on John's. "I am so glad you're alive Sherlock." Sherlock planted a kiss on his head. "So am I John, so am I."

Chapter Text

Promtp 23: Ring

 

"Alright Sally?" Jim slipped his phone back into his pocket and sat down at the smallest table in the lunch room of New Scotland Yard. "Did you get the texts?" Sally asked, smirking into her chips. "Yeah, sounded pretty urgent but you don't seem busy..." he looked around as if to make sure that she was in fact not busy, and Sally once again found herself agreeing with the freak's proclamation that he was a complete dunder head. "I was busy at the time and so were you. It was a crime scene Jim, we both worked on it until the Freak and his lap dog arrived?" Realisation dawned on him and he nodded, slyly pinching one of her chips. "Alright alright I'm not a total dim wit Sally, what about it?" Eyes darting around the packed room, Sally beckoned him in closer, leaning in until their bodies created a shielded circle. "Well, the freak was rushing about, spewing his voodoo crap while little lap dog was chatting to Greg in the corner right?" Anderson nodded, eyes wide, riveted already. If Sally Donovan knew one thing it was gossip and judging by her excitement this was good stuff. "Ok so he's leaning over for a while, examining the body and complaining when he does that thing where he jumps and runs away screaming something random about gardeners or colours or whatever. Lap dog trots loyal at his heels and that should be that. You know we all keep dusting for prints yada yada yada and it's all normal stuff. This time though, I was the only one left at the scene and when the freak jumped up, something fell out of his pocket.""What was it?!" images of human fingers and bloody knives ran through his head, but nothing prepared him for the shock he got when Sally placed it on the table. "A ring box. The freak was carrying a ring box. Haven't opened it yet, thought I'd wait for you" Sally batted her lashes a bit and shimmied closer still, hiding the box from view. "You gem Sally Donovan! You do the honours." Nervously, fingers tingling, she prized open the box and looked inside. "Well fuck me. He's going to propose?!"

Greg walked in at that moment and took in the intimate sight of his agents. While he was against meddling, he couldn't abide by cheating because he had been on the receiving end of a cheater and it was not something he would wish on anyone. He remembered that as he sat awkwardly next to Donovan who pulled away from Anderson sharpish, turning a bright shade of pink and casually depositing something in her pocket. "How soon can you have the paperwork from the case of the blue - I mean the Kent murders ?" Lestrade looked between them, waiting for an adequate response. "I'm just finishing up my report actually, should be finished by this evening." Donovan responded, avoiding the judgmental gaze of her boss. "Good, on my desk as soon as you're done. Anderson?" Jim reached into his bag and drew a manila folder from within. "Have to wait for the official autopsy report still but apart from that everything is in there." Cheek of him, Sally thought. The only reason her report wasn't finished while his was came down to an empty office last night. He worked on his report, she worked on him. Life could be so unfair. "Thanks. Lunch is almost over, we should probably go." He gave them both a look and waited until they scurried off to leave himself. Later, while he sat idly in his car, he wondered what it was that Sally had shoved in her pocket so hastily.

The last of the lights in the yard were switched off and all the employees gone home. Standing alone in her bathroom, staring at her reflection, Sally opened the black ring box again. She asked herself if she truly believed that she would ever experience that moment when you realise the person you love is about to ask you to marry them. The honest answer, right now at least, was no. Her tryst with Jim wouldn't end in a proposal, it was one of the few topics he was vocal about. He was adamant that his proposal was the worst mistake of his life, one he would never make again. There were two reasons for that: his feelings towards marriage in general and his cowardice. He was not going to divorce his wife for Sally and they both knew it, even if he said that Sally was the one he preferred of the two. Sally couldn't help but feel empty at the thought that her relationship was a complete secret, and would be until the whole thing crashed and burned around her. The ring glinted at her, mocking her.

Anderson was in a similar position a few miles away. With his wife waiting for him in bed, he stood at the sink under the pretence that he had to brush his teeth. He couldn't help but think of the ring from earlier, and all the connotations that came with it. He knew well that the freak cared about no one, never had. Even his brother was treated to venomous glares and harsh insults. Yet there was a silver ring, nestled in a small pillow that said otherwise. Jim had noticed it, the way they looked at each other, like nothing else in the world mattered. He'd watched them jump in front of bullets for one another, battle criminals that threatened either of them, even fake death to save the other. The freak cared about only one person, and he was going to proclaim it to everyone by asking the lapdog to marry him. He twirled his own ring nervously. Had he ever felt that way about his wife? The short answer was no. He wished that he did, that he could honestly say that she was his whole reason for breathing, but he couldn't. He envied the devotion Sherlock and John had, there had never and would never be anyone else for Sherlock, and John, well he had given his heart to the detective by the time he and Jim had first met. They were enraptured by each other, perfectly suited. Why couldn't he have that? From Sherlock, that ring meant forever, friends, partners, lovers, husbands, only John. But from him... Had it meant anything at all? Long after most of London was asleep Anderson and Donovan lay awake, imaging the proposal of the man they called freak to the soldier they called lapdog and found that jealousy and a strange sense of goodwill were the main emotions this brought.

The next morning, standing by some new police tape, Sally waited for the inevitable arrival of Sherlock and John. As much as she disliked the man, she was not going to begrudge him his happiness by ruining his surprise. The only way to avoid that was to separate him from John and return the box quickly. After thoroughly explaining this plan to Jim, she waited in her usual spot for them to arrive. The cab pulled up and out swept Sherlock as dramatically as ever with John hot on his tails. Sally never thought that she would be thankful for a double homicide but it was exactly what she needed to make this work. While Sherlock swooped over the body in the bedroom, Anderson led John down to the kitchen to examine that one. As soon as they were gone she strode up to Sherlock. "Congratulations... I think..." She said holding out her palm with the box sitting on it. Relief washed across Sherlock's face. "It was gone when I went back for it yesterday. Thought someone had stolen it but apparently not." Sally listened carefully for any footsteps but heard none "I'd put it away now fr-Sherlock, don't want to ruin the whole surprise" His brow furrowed when she corrected herself, and he cracked a small smirk. "Almost did that myself, asked him to get my phone out of my pocket without thinking and very nearly panicked, but it was fine because it was gone. Then I had to panic for a different reason." He chuckled and Sally giggled too, pondering how they usually acted so caustic towards each other and trying to remember why it had become that way. His deductions were harsh yes, and quite rude, but they were truthful and in this moment of camaraderie between them Sally Donovan resolved to repair, to some extent the relationship she'd never had with Sherlock Holmes. "Good luck anyway, I've a feeling he'll be very happy with you." She smiled widely at him and he looked quite taken aback. "Thank you Sally, I do hope he will."

No sooner had he stowed the ring in his pocket(The opposite one to where he kept his phone) did John appear, and then Sherlock was flying around as he usually did, ending up bolting out the door with John by his side. "What was going on there?" John asked when they were in the taxi again. "Sergeant Donovan wanted to wish us well in our relationship. I believe that she has realised exactly how intolerable she is and wishes to rectify that. She even used my name. It was rather surprising." John smiled slightly "Good, because the next time she called you a freak I was going to break my rule about punching women." Sherlock laughed and gave him a quick peck. "One of the many reasons I love you John. Always willing to break the rules for me." He smiled, fingers curling around the box in his pocket. Tonight.

Chapter Text

Spy

It was a minor miracle that Sherlock had managed to do anything in secret so far, buying the ring had been more like breaking into a bank vault than shopping for jewellery. It wouldn't have been so difficult if Mycroft didn't try to keep such a close eye on him. He, stupidly, neglected to consider the reality that if Sherlock really didn't want to be found then he wouldn't be. In the past few weeks he had noticed the number of Mycroft's spies trying to pin down his location had tripled. Not only that but he had very nearly lost the ring in question earlier on in the day.

While he had hoped to come clean that night, it seemed as if that was an impossibility at this point. He was exhausted, having taken a beating from the charming man responsible for a double homicide and run a good twelve miles on no nourishment what so ever. But then again, John was there with him in the back of the ambulance, fussing as he always did. Sherlock had run straight into the man, colliding with him after sprinting through an alleyway as a shortcut, which, he made sure to mention, it was. He had fallen back and the perp had laid into him for only a minute before John had knocked him away with a harsh blow to the head. If Sherlock remembered correctly he may have blabbered to John that he was his hero... in front of would make for some very humiliating conversation later on.

He was thankfully back to full cognitive function by now and had scathingly refused the offer of a shock blanket and a trip to the hospital. A few cuts and bruises, superficial wounds were all he was afflicted with and he was not in any mood to deal with a gang of doctors prodding at him all night. "I'm fine. We're leaving! Come on John we can walk home from here." Sherlock leapt up and out of the offending vehicle and John half smiled at him, utterly exasperated but happy. "Alright Sherlock, but we have to report to Lestrade first" John gave him the look, the I-am-serious-don't-even-try-and-argue look and Sherlock pouted but rushed over to Lestrade and began talking at a mile a minute. John snorted and the paramedic bandaging his hand looked at Sherlock who was lamenting the stupidity of London's finest to Lestrade.

"Are you and him? None of my business but..." he trailed off, wrapping the bandage around again. John looked over at Sherlock and his eyes softened. "Yeah he's mine, best friends and everything." The medical smiled at him and took a pin between his teeth. "So go on. Gush a little, you're dying to, I can tell!" They laughed together and John blushed. "We met through a friend, I was just back from Afghanistan after getting shot and was looking for a place to stay, a roommate. Mike introduced me to Sherlock in a morgue and he borrowed my phone, then asked me whether I'd been in Afghanistan or Iraq"The medic gaped. "Just like that? Had that Mike told him about it or?" John grinned proudly "Nope. He told me my whole life story just like that, knew everything about me from how I looked, held myself, scratch marks on my phone. He asked me to move in with him there and then, and the next day I did. The next few days were a bit different then what I was expecting, He brought me to a crime scene with him, I was kidnapped by his brother who tried to bribe me for information about him- I refused, I texted a murderer, told him what my last words were when I got shot, witnessed a surprise drug bust. That was all before he figured out who the murderer was and then left with him, without telling anyone. I used the gps on a phone to track him down, saved his life and then we laughed about it on the way home." John watched as Sherlock put his head in his hands, knowing that Lestrade had just made him spell everything out for him and yet still didn't understand. The medic was obviously impressed, he hadn't had to deal with Sherlock properly so he hadn't had the chance to see how he acted with anyone but John. "Well that's one way to start a relationship anyway." he laughed and stepped back "You're all done, Your knuckles should heal in a few days anyway so just be careful not to punch anyone until then." John shrugged and thanked the man before walking over to join Sherlock.

"Ready to go?" Sherlock glared at Lestrade acidly "I've been ready for twenty minutes now, yet somehow Lestrade's stupidity has amplified since yesterday as he can't seem to comprehend a single word I'm saying. We're going now Lestrade, call us once you decide to find whatever wits you lost." Sherlock wheeled around and John shrugged apologetically, before he could open his mouth Sherlock was calling for him. "Sherlock" he raised his eyebrows disapprovingly at him, waiting for the explanation. "He asked me if you had hit him with a blunt instrument John. Twice. He could not wrap his tiny brain around the fact that you inflict much more damage when my safety is at stake. He's an idiot normally but that was just too much." John could see his point of view and accepted that it was actually more reasonable than usual. "Well that's ok I guess" he smiled and pecked Sherlock lightly on the lips before taking his hand. Sherlock smirked at him "Feel like a run Dr Watson?" John laughed openly "Always Mr Holmes" and Sherlock sprinted off, John speeding along beside him, running through alleys answer sidestreets and one underground station, only stopping, breathless and satisfied when the door to 221b closed. They fell back against the wall together, laughing loudly.

When they sobered up, adrenaline was still running through their veins and Sherlock's heart was racing. John was giving him the post-case look of pure admiration and suddenly he knew that it was time to do it. He peeled himself off the wall and simultaneously pinned John to it. "John" he whispered, voice dropped to a low rumbling bass that reverberated through both of them. Slowly, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the box. "John" he said again, watching as John's eyes widened and his breathing hitched. "Sherlock?" John couldn't breathe, this was happening. "Oh my God" he whispered as Sherlock dropped to one knee. "Apparently this is how it's done traditionally. I'm not one for tradition but this seemed like something to... John. You know how much you mean to me, and in case you don't the answer is everything. I didn't think I'd ever have a friend, much less a partner, a best friend and a lover all rolled into one, so I never thought that I would want to get married. But then you came along with all your silly jumpers and your crooked smile, and before you even knew me you killed a man to save me. Then I realise that I love you and you decide that you want me too, of all people you choose me, love me, and all of a sudden I can't wait for the whole world to know that you are mine and I am yours, for as long as you'll have me. John Watson will you marry me?" Sherlock threw the box on the ground and held up the ring, a silver band with two diamonds set into it, and he held his breath. John grabbed him and pulled him up gruffly, smashing their lips together and pushing his tongue into Sherlock's mouth, holding back a chuckle at the yelp of surprise turned groan that he swallowed. When they broke apart John took his face in his hands and kissed him again, much more gently. "Of course I'll marry you Sherlock." he croaked and they beamed at each other as Sherlock slid the ring onto his finger.

Later, when they were sweaty and panting in bed, thoroughly debauched, Sherlock turned and looked at John very seriously. "We should probably discuss this now. Do you want children? And yes I know we'd need a different set of genitalia to achieve that but the question stands, do you?" John furrowed his brow. "I don't know Sherlock, maybe. I could live happily without them." Sherlock smiled to himself at John's utter selflessness. He had skirted very well around saying that he wanted them, but if Sherlock didn't he was ok with that. "Plus" John added, shuffling closer "The only person I'd want them with is you and seeing as that's physically impossible... what about you?" Sherlock smirked. "Maybe. I don't think I'd make a good father though, and there is no one I would want them with but you so I suppose that's a no go." At that precise moment Sherlock's phone buzzed. He scoffed and John tilted his head.

"Our favourite little spy" John chuckled. "Go on then, what does he have to say" Sherlock cleared his throat and read aloud. "Congratulations brother, I knew we would be expecting a happy announcement eventually." John laughed, and Sherlock had to join in as the tension of their conversation was defused."Prat."

Chapter Text

Prompt 25: Guarantee

Sherlock was tired, exhausted in fact. It wasn't surprising, he was always tired these days, he was playing a different venue every night, travelling the world, and trying desperately not to fall for the band's resident medic. It was tiring stuff for anyone, especially a teenager. Every night he had thousands of girls and guys screaming their adoration at him, singing along to his own low voice and crying as he crooned softly to them while strumming the guitar. That was the dream for most musicians, and it was fantastic until he had to actually talk to his fans. He couldn't stand people, they were so incredibly boring. Most of the time he stayed in his room, composed and people watched through the window of the tourbus or whatever hotel they stayed in. As a general rule he avoided spending any time outside of rehearsals and sound checks with the other members of the band. It was easier that way, stepping on people's toes was something that came naturally to him but quite frankly he didn't have the patience to find new members and therefore he couldn't piss the current ones off.

As for the medic well... He was a different story all together. His name was John and he was ex military, something that Sherlock's manager/brother Mycroft had decided was a bonus when he hired him. It was the only action he had undertaken Sherlock was remotely grateful for,the hiring of John Watson. The first time they met Sherlock had been feeling petulant, he didn't need a nursemaid and he wanted him gone, and the fastest way to make him go would be to deduce him. So he did, spouting about his injury in the war, psychosematic limp, his relationship with his family, financial security, everything he could see down to the last blow about his alcoholic brother. And when he was finished he waited for the yelling, sputtering, anger in general. John had stared open mouthed at him for a few moments and then broke the silence. "That, was brilliant. Truly amazing." Sherlock was completely shocked and his eyes flew to John's face, he was genuinely amazed. Sherlock smirked and began walking off "That's not what people usually say" John was at his side once more "What do they usually say?" Sherlock grinned emphatically "Piss off" and that was the first time he made John smile.

He began looking forward to crashing into him backstage during shows, catching sidelong glances of John mouthing along to his songs from the sidelines as he sang them. After a few weeks he asked John to hang out with him in his room, they had become closer over time and the bus was empty anyway, they were heading out to London and seeing as the rest of the guys had family there they left earlier to stay with them. John accepted his invitation to ride with him in an instant, flashing one of his signature smiles. Sherlock knew that he was failing miserably in his efforts to deny any feelings he had for John, he couldn't pinpoint what it was exactly that made him feel anything at all for him except the fact that he was John. Of course he couldn't just outright say anything, John might not even be gay and that would be awkward for them both. He sighed and flopped back onto the bed, fingers picking idly at his guitar. A soft melody began to flow from his fingertips and he quickly picked up a notepad and scribbled down the chords, humming along while thinking up lyrics.

There was a soft knock on the door and he knew it was John. "Come in" he called, still writing furiously. John tiptoed inside and smiled down at Sherlock's sprawled form. "What are you up to then Sherlock?" he asked jovially, settling into a chair. Sherlock looked up for a moment and half smiled tiredly "Writing..." he trailed off, staring intensely at John and then going back to his page. John looked at him with concern, he sounded so serious and it seemed like John should be the same. "Well can I hear what you have so far?" John asked nervously, wondering if he was overstepping. Sherlock froze for a moment and then sat up so his legs were against John's. He didn't move away. God if John only knew how many mornings he had spent in this exact position, wondering if there was any point in hoping at all, constantly hurting himself just by watching John have a life outside of him. It hurt, God did it hurt "You were the one who inspired it so..." Sherlock muttered gently to himself before clearing his throat and righting the instrument on his lap. Softly he began to sing

"Ooooooh here I go again, walking the line, killing time between my sins, Ooooooh why do I come here? The endings still the same I'm bringing back old tears, I act like I don't knoooow, where this road will gooooo, Pour me something stronger, pour me something straight, all these crooked voices make them go away, I can barely stand up, I can hardly breathe, pour me something stronger than me, pour me something stronger than me" Sherlock's voice was smooth and melodic, but the lyrics were saturated with pain and loss and every time his eyes would rise to meet John's he'd feel his heartbeat in his mouth. Without knowing it they had shuffled closer, Sherlock now sat between John's legs on the edge of the bed and John's hand was on his leg, holding him. He sang on "Pour me something stronger, pour me something dark, pour it up so high, till I can't feel my heart, I can barely stand up, I can hardly breathe, pour me something stronger than me, hmmmmmmmmmm"

 He strummed the final bar and fell into silence. "Sherlock that was... Beautiful." John said quietly into the silence between them.

Sherlock smiled sadly and shrugged. "Do you play?" he asked, knowing the answer, he'd seen it in the shredded tips of his fingers but wanting to expel the heavy silence crashing on them. John held out a hand and Sherlock passed the guitar over, taking in their intimate position with a blush. "What should I play?" John asked, hoping for a specific song but knowing Sherlock he wouldn't get that. "Play a song that makes you think of someone you know" Sherlock decided after contemplating the request for a second. John nodded and swallowed his fear because he was going to play a song that reminded him of Sherlock, or rather what he wished he could say without feeling like an idiot and being rejected because that was what would happen in the end. "I can't guarantee this will be any good but here goes" John took a deep breath and Sherlock stared unabashed at him as he began to sing. 

"I've gone for too long living like I'm not alive, so I'm gonna start over tonight, beginning with you and I, when this memory fades I'm gonna make sure it's replaced with chances taken, hope embraced, and have I told you, I'm not going, cuz I've been waiting for a miracle and I'm not leaving, I won't let you, let you give up on a miracle, cuz it might save you..." John sang on and on, getting progressively more confident, staring into Sherlock's eyes by the time he came to the final part of the song "It's not faith if you use your eyes,if you use your eyes, oh if you use your eyes" he trailed off and they sat staring at each other again, wondering if the songs had been about them, hoping the songs were about them. John cleared his throat and his tongue flicked out across his lower lip, and it was all that Sherlock could look at. He shook his head to clear the rest of the images that brought with it and decided to be brave.

"Who was it about?" he asked watching as the slow creep of pink coloured John's cheeks. He coughed a little and looked away before responding "You" he said softly "Was what you wrote..." he didn't have to say it. "Yes." Sherlock answered. John shuffled a bit and smirked. "Sherlock?" "Yes?" And he leaned into his face, tongue across Sherlock's lip instead and Sherlock opened his mouth, giving John all the permission he was asking for, and groaning into his mouth as his hands wrapped possessively around his back and neck, pushing their bodies together. In minutes later he had a lap full of John and his neck was being licked and sucked by him while he moaned wantonly into the empty bus. "I -ughhh- take it this means we're -oh- together?" John slid back up to his lips and surged into him "If that's what you want" Sherlock smirked and nodded, allowing John to go back to ravaging his mouth.

In later years, Every time that they had something they couldn't express in words they would meet back there, in the bus, and sing to each other, and when the band split up they took the armchair and the bed with them to their apartment. Sometimes when the other couldn't sleep they would sing softly into their ear and watch as they relaxed into their arms again, and when, many years later, there was only one of them left, having sung him to sleep for the final time, Sherlock sang to John's headstone every night, knowing that somewhere out there, John was singing too.

*Song one that Sherlock sings is "Something stronger than me" from Nashville 
Song two that John sings is "Miracle" by Paramore 

Chapter Text

Prompt 26: Help

Snow was falling in small flakes, covering the streets of London in a veil of pristine white, frosting each building like icing sugar. The sense of community that suddenly appeared with this strange weather was fitting for the festive season. Suddenly the people of London were sticking together, offering help to those in need of it, calmly waiting for traffic to ease up, smiling at each other in the streets. They were, at least for now, a community united by cold fronts and Christmas spirit. It was hard to deny this feeling of camaraderie that had sprung up from nothing. It was simply there, as constant as air. Too long had passed since the people of London thought about the well being of their fellow Londoners and it was refreshing. Didn't stop the criminal world, but everyone else was more aware of those who suffered at their hands at least. Sherlock was pretty pleased with the setup, any witness that was interrogated was more forthcoming in their response than ever, allowing for cases to be solved more efficiently. The faster a case was over the faster he could take John home and snuggle up in front of the fire together.

He was there currently, lying back against the couch in what John had labelled his 'Thinking pose' he had pointed out that he thought all the time, a statement that John had eagerly disproved that evening. None the less he lay there staring out into the bustling street below and smiling at the sound of John returning from his venture downstairs. John clutched a large box in his arms and set in down heavily on the table. "Mrs Hudson?" Sherlock queried, though it could only be her doing. "Mrs Hudson." John replied shaking his head fondly. "She did it again." he added, knowing that Sherlock would get his meaning. "I still don't see why she invites everyone over for Christmas eve. It's not as if they don't have somewhere they'd rather be" Sherlock scoffed, remembering last year, and the debacle with Molly that had made even him cringe but there was no deleting it, he couldn't. John was as much a part of the memory as Molly was and try though he might John memories were immovable. John snorted fondly and Sherlock knew he was remembering it too. "The girl was throwing herself at you and you were completely oblivious until that last moment." Sherlock rolled his eyes. "I told you, it's not my area. Women especially. If they aren't explicitly saying something to me, I dismiss it. Then again I dismiss it anyway." He leaned forward on the balls of his feet and then sat back down, paying closer attention to the proceedings taking place around him.

John was stringing lights along the wall, surrounding the window and then attempting to climb over Sherlock to hang them on the wall behind the couch. John flicked his eyes down to Sherlock who's face was unfortunately positioned between his legs, and he was staring right at his crotch. "Not helping Sherlock" John called down as he strung the lights along. "What's not helping? I'm supposed to help?" Sherlock retorted, making a cage around John's legs with his arms in case he toppled over. "Having your face in my crotch that's what's not helping and yes actually you could lend a hand with this decorating lark, after all you are taller" John grinned and hopped down off the couch, admiring his handiwork as he took a turn about the room. Sherlock pursed his lips minutely, the last thing he wanted was to encourage others to intrude on them that evening. She'd even invited Mycroft along. Mycroft. It was one thing to invite people who he had any semblance of liking for, but Mycroft was the one person out of the group - himself, John, Mrs Hudson, Molly, Lestrade, Angelo and apparently Mycroft - that he did not think he could even pretend to like. "Come on, there's more in the box" John smiled softly at him and began to adorn a small tree with various baubles, multicoloured reflective surfaces bouncing hues of purple and gold across his face, and Sherlock got up.

Mrs Hudson was the first to arrive, mainly because she had food and needed extra hands to cart it from one apartment to the other. John swiped a gingerbread man when she wasn't looking and winked conspiratorially at Sherlock from behind her back, making him smirk as he continued to hang various decorations. 221b was filled with a cozy glow of warm light from the fire and the strings of twinkling lights around the room by the time everyone else arrived. "Alright John?" Greg smiled as he grabbed a glass of mulled wine. "Alright Greg. How's things?" John smiled warmly. "Good actually yeah, the new place is nice, good neighbourhood." Lestrade gave a half smile and swigged back the rest of the liquid in his glass, nodding at Sherlock who was clearly making a painful effort not to snap at Molly while she chatted at him and had resorted to throwing back drinks. "He's well... He's Sherlock. Pray he doesn't get the urge to cuddle because while the man is surprisingly closed when sober, drunken Sherlock is an indiscriminate hugger. He made me assist him in his experiment. Trust me. I know." The pair chuckled away in the corner of the room, chatting for a few hours about everything from football to cases. When John heard the faint sounds of footsteps on the stairs he made a beeline for Sherlock in the kitchen. Sherlock was lounging against the table on his elbows, a bright smile etched on his face that had even Mrs Hudson giggling as she and Molly spoke quietly to each other, sneaking glances at Angelo, who was talking to Lestrade, every few seconds. Mycroft knocked once before entering, eyes sweeping the apartment. "Apologies, I was delayed" he smirked and swung his umbrella, sidling into the kitchen to grab some of Mrs Hudson's truly phenomenal Christmas cake.

While John had been prepared for a huff of some sort at his brother's arrival, Sherlock merely giggled and hiccuped slightly, gesturing to John to lean in as he had something to say. John, ever obliging and undeniably curious, leaned his ear down to Sherlock's mouth. Still giggling he whispered into the offered ear, hot breath blowing against it. "Guess what John? *hiccup* I know something you don't" John raised his brow "You always do Sherlock" Sherlock shook his head "No no no no, this is good, you'll want to know this." John smiled accommodatingly at his partner and leaned closer, until they were cheek to cheek "Alright then tell me" he muttered and Sherlock smiled, he could feel it. "Lestrade, and Mycroft, have" a most immasculine giggle erupted from Sherlock "they fancy each other, but Mycroft thinks Lestrade is straight and Lestrade thinks Mycroft wouldn't be interested in him in a million years! Mycroft has fancied him for years, and now Lestrade is looking for an opportunity to let him know that he wants to snog him every time he sees him" John gaped at him, wondering if either man knew how oddly similar to John and Sherlock they were. "Seriously!?" Sherlock nodded vigorously. "Also Mrs Hudson has taken a liking to Angelo and Molly was recently asked on a date by detective inspector Dimmock." John moved back and turned to watch the friends they had invited (they hadn't invited anyone) as they interacted and tried to be a bit more observant. There by the window was Mycroft, staring rather openly at Lestrade as he laughed with Molly and dragged her over to talk to him, cheeks just minutely flushing as he shook Mycroft's hand. Beside them almost were Angelo and Mrs Hudson, wrapped deeply in conversation about cooking.

John grinned slyly "Well at least I know what we're getting them for Christmas" Sherlock took on a look of confusion. "What on earth do you mean John?" John looked from one man to the other and smirked "We're getting them each other!" Sherlock rolled his eyes and seemed to have sobered considerably. "I am all for that John honestly, anything to make them as happy as I am with you. He may be my arch enemy but I do not begrudge him, them, any happiness they could find together, but how, exactly, do you plan on doing that?" he said seriously. John just tapped his nose and pointed to the doorframe. "Mistletoe." Sherlock smiled proudly at his doctor and kissed him softly, the briefest flutter of lips, before motioning him to take charge of the plan. John whipped out his phone and tested Greg.

Greg don't look surprised, or at me, but Sherlock and I have a plan to get you your Christmas present-J

John what are you on about? -G

Mycroft? -J

How did you - Sherlock of course. If he can see it how can his brother not?! Or maybe he does and is sparing me a very awkward conversation. Still don't get what that has to do with anything -G

Oh don't worry, he feels the same, has done for years according to Sherlock, anyway we're going to help get you together- J

He has? And how? Clearly we haven't been having much luck on our own though...-G

You two will be the last to leave, Sherlock says so anyway, and hopefully you'll have mustered your courage by then because you'regoing to need it -J

For what?- G

For the Mistletoe carefully hung by Sherlock at the door -J

Oh Jesus... Don't think I can do it mate, most people don't check everywhere they go for secret mistletoe -G

Don't worry, he'll know it's there, see we'll walk you down together, I'll snog Sherlock under the mistletoe which he will breathlessly point out afterward, Mycroft will look up, you'll look up, then he'll look at you and you'll look at him and that is where all that courage will have to come in. -J

Oh my God... You really have planned this out... Right... I suppose I have been waiting long enough... -G

Exactly. Plus I'll be there for moral support, it'll be fine and we'll see you both on new years eve as well anyway so there's that back up plan -J

Right well we can talk out loud you know so -G

John grinned and showed the conversation to Sherlock who snorted as he read it "Breathlessly John? Really?" John gave a predatory smile. "Breathlessly Sherlock." Sherlock gulped.

Their guests began to filter out, First Angelo and Mrs Hudson, going down to her flat for tea and a recipe exchange (Sherlock had joked tipsily to John that recipes were not all they were going to exchange, John had slapped him lightly on the arm and prayed he meant phone numbers.), then Molly soon after them, after realising that it was already nearing one in the morning. Greg and Mycroft were talking amiably in the corner and only looked up when John shut the door behind Molly. Mycroft pulled out his pocket watch and sighed "I had best be off, Mummy will be expecting your call tomorrow Sherlock if you are still not attending dinner." Greg put his glass down and looked at his own watch, making it very difficult for John to avoid smirking. "I should go too, crime stops for no holiday" he joked and Mycroft smiled to himself. "We'll walk you out" Sherlock offered and took John's hand as they lead the other men down the steps. When they reached the door Sherlock made to open it but John wheeled him around and claimed his mouth, it was the only word for it. He rolled his tongue against Sherlock's own and held his face gently in his hands. When he broke away Sherlock truly was breathless. Blinking somewhat he allowed John to pull him to the side and open the door for the two flushed men behind them. Sherlock looked up "Ah." he exclaimed breathlessly "Mistletoe."

As expected Mycroft looked up, followed by Lestrade who looked down first and at Mycroft's outstretched neck. Mycroft looked across at Lestrade who was already looking at him. Greg took a step forward into Mycroft's personal space, giving him the chance to refuse. Mycroft stood frozen to the spot, eyes wide and back pressed up against the doorframe. In a rush of heady adrenaline because Mycroft was not moving away, if anything he was inviting Greg to make his move, he strode forward and grabbed his tie, pulling their faces together before hesitating for just a moment and then pressing his lips to Mycroft's own with a passion he had kept to himself for too long. Mycroft melted against him, a small groan into Lestrade's mouth conveying his sense of triumph, want, and Sherlock was positive it was the word finally. He and John had been keeping their eyes on each other fastidiously, very pleased that their plan had worked. When they eventually did look back, Mycroft had wrapped his arms around Greg's waist and clutched him against his body. Sherlock coughed and Greg stepped back and Mycroft ran a hand over his lips, looking for all the world as if he was for once completely uncertain of what to do next, or if that had even happened. With a soft smile Greg had held out his hand and Mycroft, returning the smile, took it. "Merry Christmas brother" Sherlock smugly added and John beamed. "Now Mycroft will give you a lift so you two can talk" John ushered the two towards the black car that awaited them at the end of the road. "Thank you John, I think we can take it from here" Mycroft dismissed him as he stared into Lestrade's eyes with a look so deliriously happy and surprised that John couldn't help but smile as he watched Greg open the door for him to get into his own car.

Sherlock wrapped himself around John from behind and hugged him to his chest as they drove away. "When you asked me to help this afternoon I wasn't expecting a secret plan behind the placement of mistletoe" John shrugged and nestled into the warmth of Sherlock's body "Well it was more of a side plan, I just wanted to kiss you under it." Sherlock chuckled warmly. "Merry Christmas my dearest John" "Merry Christmas love"

Chapter Text

Prompt 27: Leader

tw mild child abuse references

Shock. An untamed pulse of it that blew through each of their bodies as if a bomb had gone off. How had they not seen this, noticed this, felt this before? It seemed unignorable, a constant current raging beneath everything now that they were staring at it in the face, but so very impossible before.

John had to work, even though there was a case on. "I can't just leave them hanging Sherlock, not again. At this rate I'll lose my job because I'm always coming when called. I love the cases, I do, but I kind of need a steady source of income to, you know, live?" he explained hurriedly, chewing on jam covered toast and pulling on his jacket. He did seem genuinely disappointed that he couldn't go with Sherlock today. Sherlock was not feeling better because he felt guilty. Nope, not at all. "Go then, but this one is interesting, At least a seven." Sherlock finally spoke from his curled up position on through couch and he could almost hear John's responding smile. He listened to the footsteps bringing John over to him and smirked as he planted a quick kiss on his cheek. "I'll be back this afternoon, it's only a half shift really. Text me if you're not home and I'll meet you okay?" John added unnecessarily, Sherlock would be texting him through out the day and they both knew it. Sherlock rolled over to face him and kissed him gently "See you later John." John grinned and walked away "See you later Sherlock."

They had stopped saying goodbye a while ago, it had become too permanent a word to say, like they would never see each other again. That was what it had meant the last time either of them had said it, a croaked goodbye and a proclamation of love as they rapidly bled to death next to the rapidly cooling body of a killer. It was a minor miracle that the ambulance arrived in time. No goodbyes after that. John sighed as he stepped into the surgery and greeted the receptionist with a smile. Sherlock would probably be at the scene by now, was Anderson the person designated to be his assistant in John's absence? Sherlock would hate that he mused before sitting behind his desk and rolling up his sleeves. Fifteen patients before lunch. He could do that.

A soft knock at the door and he welcomed his first of the day, a small boy and his mother, no, nanny? Yes, she loved the boy, clearly, but she was impatient, not holding him but his hand though he was evidently ill, she looked more bothered than worried. Sherlock was rubbing off on him it seemed. "Hello there I'm , what seems to be the problem?" The nanny sat the boy down with a soothing pat on the head as he clutched his stomach and sniffled quietly into a worn bear. "He was fine when I arrived this morning to mind him" John silently congratulated himself "and then he threw up some bile. I think he has a fever but the family don't seem to keep anything of use around, no thermometer, no calpol... When he started to shake I decided to bring him here." John nodded and walked across to the boy who was indeed trembling a little in his tiny clothes. "Would you mind awfully if I asked you to sit up on the big bed over there and do a few things for me?" If John wasn't mistaken he could have sworn that the child looked terrified at the prospect. "What's your name, huh? You remind me of a friend of mine actually." and he did, with his dark curls and pale (greenish) skin, he was a dead ringer for a certain detective he was knew. "Callum" the boy called as he clambered awkwardly onto the examination table. "Well Callum, I'm just going to take your temperature, try and find out what's making you feel ill alright? This goes in your ear for a while so we can chat until it beeps ok?" Callum played with his sleeves and didn't reply, his nanny wasn't even paying attention, engrossed in her phone by the door.

He cleared his throat "So Callum how old are you?" Callum held up four fingers, eyes trained to the floor. "Wow, are you sure you're only four? You seem so much bigger than a four year old. Do you have any brothers or sisters?" John inquired lightly and was relieved at the slight shake of his head, even if it dislodged the thermometer somewhat. "That's cool, I bet your parents spoil you rotten" There it was again, fear. Over whelming terror. Now he was worried, the first one he could write of as a fear of doctors or injections but that was blatant. He was afraid of his parents. There was a loud beep and he looked at the numbers, reading the high fever in an instant. It looked like Callum had the flu, but he wanted to do a full check up just in case. Better safe than sorry. "Callum can you take off your shirt for me, I want to listen to your heart and lungs properly." The boy stiffened beside him and looked up with tear filled eyes, bright brown orbs that made John feel horrible. "I... I'm not supposed to. Daddy says it's against the rules." John braced himself for what he was about to see. "It's okay Callum, you can show me. I won't hurt you, I promise." The slip of a boy bit his lip, clearly torn as to what to do. "Just do what he asks Cal, you'll be in trouble if you don't" finally the girl at the door chimed in and clearly Callum didn't want to be in trouble because he unzipped his jacket carefully and held his arms in the air. Gently John tugged his t-shirt up and over his head, holding back the grimace at the sight that revealed itself. His entire left side was covered in bruises at various stages of healing and his arms were no better, the outline of two hands molded into the soft skin. What he really payed attention to were the protruding ribs and flat stomach. "Callum" he began, so softly that the only person who would hear was the boy "when did you last eat?" He looked confused, like John was some sort of alien to ask. "Last week. If I'm good and follow the rules Daddy might give me more in a few days." John felt sick, so much so that he had to close his eyes and compose himself for a minute. "You can put your

top back on now, I'm just going to talk to your nanny for a second so you wait there." John stood and strode over to the girl who was no more than twenty and looked completely oblivious, but she had said he'd be in trouble, as if she knew the significance of the threat to the little boy. "Miss? Have you seen Callum's chest before?" he asked praying she'd say no. "No? I just stay with him until from eight to twelve and make sure he doesn't burn the house down. That's it. Why?" Sometimes John wondered how people got their jobs and Melanie here was one such person. "Right, okay. Does Callum have two parents or just a father?" She shook her head, still not looking up "Just the boy and his dad." Looking back at the small boy he strengthened his resolve to help him. "Ok well miss I'm going to make a call to social services on behalf of Callum here, you can go if you want." That made her look. She looked at Callum and then at John, turned on her heel and left. "Okay Callum, I'm going to get my boss to come in and take a look at you, and maybe have a chat ok? But first I'm going to give you some medicine to bring down your fever." Sarah came within minutes of his page and knocked on the door. He had been on the floor, playing with Callum, and pushed himself up to tell her what he had seen. She made the call and took Callum into her office. It would be a long day.

When John finally got a chance to look at his phone he was leaving the surgery for the day. As expected Sherlock hadbeen texting him all day with varying degrees of coherency. The only one he played attention to was the last one Scotland Yard -SH. Smiling to himself John hopped in a taxi to the yard.

Sherlock was getting rather tired of being called for easily solved cases. While at first glance the case had seemed interesting, he saw through it almost instantaneously. The mother had killed the children as revenge for the father getting custody, and then he had killed her for the offence. Obviously. It was just barely worth getting dressed for and not near worth the amount of paper work he would have to do in the same room as Anderson and Donovan. Nothing was worth that, yet there he was, sitting by the door trying desperately to ignore them while he filled in his statement. That it seemed, was not how they wanted the day to play out.

"Oi, freak. What are you doing here?" Sherlock sighed and gritted his teeth. "I'm doing your job, as I so often do." he replied coolly and smiled into the splutters of indignation that ensued. "We don't kill people freak, we're not psychopaths like you. You're a waste of space and if it were up to us you'd have been put away a long time ago. Just keep that in your weird brain, freak. You don't belong here, or anywhere else for that matter. You're nothing." John had made it right to the door of the room where Sherlock was supposed to be, just cracking it open as Sally went on her tirade. He watched as Sherlock's face fell and he held his hands together before replacing the indifferent mask everyone was used to. Sherlock was hurt and John, well he was enraged. He threw the door open and glared at Donovan and Anderson. "Right. I am only going to say this once so pay very close attention. You two work for people who have asked for Sherlock's help time and again, because everyone they've hired has been too incompetent to solve cases that need solving. Sherlock is here to help put criminals behind bars for you and to solve the puzzle for himself. Now. I don't particularly care what he's said to you because it's more than likely true. But what you say to him on a daily basis is unacceptable and from now on I refuse to accept it. If I so much as hear the word freak coming out of either of your mouths you will have a very angry, very capable, me to answer to. And believe me I would have no qualms in showing you exactly how capable I am. Once more. That's all it will take and I won't hold back. Do you understand?" John barked out, standing taller, using the voice he had reserved for the army.

Anderson and Donovan stood shocked into silence and in fact the entire floor had gone quiet, Lestrade had popped his own head out of his office too. "I'll repeat myself, do you understand?" They nodded profusely and he stood back. "You'll do well to remember it." and he turned to the crowd staring at him in shock from their cubicles. "That goes for all of you. Show him the respect he deserves." John swiveld back to face Sherlock and smiled brightly at him. "Well now that's sorted. Are you nearly done? I'll just grab us a taxi and meet you outside, unless you want me to get them to grovel?" Sherlock smirked and shook his head fondly at him. The yarders were shocked. How had they not seen this before? John was clearly born to lead, to take charge of all those around him. It was terrifying. John grinned and pecked him on the cheek which gained a gasp from the two who saw it and winked at him before making his way back outside in his usual friendly manner. Lestrade stared at him as he went and walked in to the office still looking surprised. "What the hell was that?! That wasn't like John at all!" he exclaimed to Sherlock who was fastening scarf. "Oh yes, you haven't seen Captain John Watson in action before have you? You all see the doctor, the friend, the back up but you never see the leader. He's good isn't he?" Lestrade nodded "That's an understatement if I ever heard one. I don't think anyone here would dare disobey him" he added in awe as he walked with Sherlock to the door. "That's the objective Lestrade. Text me if there's something on that's worth my while." and with that he bounded onto the street where John was waiting and their taxi was just pulling up.

"Bad day?" he asked as they slid into the backseat. John sighed "A bit yeah, child abuse case, a little four year old boy. He looked a lot like you... I think I just got a bit more riled up by what Donovan was saying because of it but I still probably would have chewed them out over it" Sherlock grasped his hand and smiled brightly. "Thank you anyway. I'm looking forward to the next case already!" he joked and John chuckled. It would be interesting all right. He hadn't been kidding, one toe out of line and "Sherlock? Mycroft could get me off of a murder charge right?" and they collapsed into giggles in the back of the taxi, leaving the driver utterly bewildered.

Chapter Text

Prompt 28: Crowd

Sherlock stood, tapping his foot impatiently against the concrete and glaring at Lestrade and Co. Greg held his hands up in a placating gesture "Hey, it's not my fault you refused to help with the case. We're only here because you haven't explained why not and we need your help. Seriously Sherlock, an explanation would be nice." Sherlock continued to glare but pressed his lips firmly together and sat on the metal bench. Reaching into his pocket he withdrew a packet of letters, tied together carefully with string. "What- I suppose I'm reading then." Lestrade muttered softly. "Read it aloud, we didn't exactly plan on staying long" an officer chimed from the back and suddenly the murmurs of agreement turned into twelve officers sitting cross legged on the ground by the bench looking expectantly up at Lestrade, as if they were a gang of school children. He sighed wearily and began. "Ok fine. Right. The first one is dated the 23rd of December 2010. To whomever receives this letter, I am under the impression that you're a man, based on the statistical improbability of your being female in the armed forces. According to my very meddlesome government appointed therapist I need to 'give back to society' apparently addiction is some sort of slight against all that is good in the world, a view that I vehemently deny, however my fat brother or rather the British government, secret service and the CIA on a freelance basis, insisted and so, here I am writing this damned letter to a complete stranger. I suppose it is one way to stave off boredom. The rather arbitrary point of this letter is to 'wish our soldiers a happy Christmas' which makes the ill informed assumption that you are both Christian and also wish to hear of other people's pleasant lives while you get shot at. Everyone who participates in this ridiculous farce of their own volition is an idiot. Then again, most everyone is anyway. In any case I've got a rather interesting triple murder to solve, I do love it when they're clever. Dismemberment is an act of finesse and there are no leads as of yet but I do know that the prime suspect is innocent - of the murders at least - so I will wish you a relatively pleasant festive season in lieu of anything else in order to focus on what is actually important. The game, soldier, is on! Sherlock Holmes. And then at the bottom someone else has written an address, probably Mycroft. I still don't see how that-" Greg trailed off at the look Sherlock threw him.

"There are more. Even you should be able to gather that obviously the solution will become apparent as you continue on. Now, either be silent and sit here to wait or read on." Sherlock spat and turned back to look ahead. Lestrade cleared his throat and picked up the next one. The letter was dirty, gritty with sand bleached by the sun. "This one is dated the 26th of December 2010 and is from a man named John Watson." Sherlock interrupted. "Captain or Doctor to you. Take your pick." Greg sighed "Fine Captain John Watson. Dear Sherlock Holmes, I'm going to hazard a guess that your brother is the one who added an address to the bottom of your letter. He could have made a bit more of an effort in emulating your writing, his is nothing like yours. I suppose I ought to thank you for the letter, it was probably the single best part of my day which is unsurprising given the fact that I'm in a warzone, you know, people dying all around me and what not. It was hands down the single strangest one of those letters I've ever read and thank God for that! Usually it's just some old bird waxing on and on about how they're forever in our debt and how proud they are that we're fighting the good fight. At least yours was interesting. You shouldn't do drugs you know, bit not good that. I should know, I'm a doctor. But I think you already know that, and you're clearly staying clean because that brother of yours seems the type to lock you away for any relapse. You work with the police then I take it? I have to say (though it sounds awful) that the case you're working on is quite interesting, haven't got any news of London for as long as I've been stationed here so it's good to hear that it's still as... Violent? As ever. I hope you get the suspect acquitted, can't say I'd not be impressed. You seem like a very smart man Sherlock Holmes so I'm not going to wish you a 'pleasant festive season' I'm going to wish you a good case. If you do respond, I'd love to hear all about it, and how you solved it. Best wishes, Cpt. John Watson RAMC."

Sergeant Donovan whistled "This guy doesn't even know the freak and already he's got the idea of him... Knew exactly what to say to him. I'd be impressed if it wasn't so creepy" Sherlock bristled next to him and Lestrade saw what was coming. " Is there a gap? The next one is the 3rd of March 2011... and why do you have copies of your own leters?" Sherlock nodded, glared, but didn't elaborate. Lestrade began to read "Dear John, Surprisingly enough you're not as boring as I expected you would be. There was no whining in your letter, and you asked about my case. Adrenaline junkie then, you live for danger, but also have a compulsion to help others around you and therefore army doctor was an easy choice to make, that and the fact that you have no close attachments in your family, likely one member is addicted to something, probably a substance I'm going with alcoholic and you wanted away from them, close family then, sibling, older brother perhaps? Explains why you didn't receive any other post at Christmas, you're unattached. As for the case, my client was acquitted after I proved that at the time of the murders he was six doors down house breaking. The actual murderer was one of the victim's children. Apparently the three victims were in a polyamourus relationship and the child was doing an internship at a butchery, an invitation to stay over for Christmas was the final straw and he killed them all! I did some sketches for my notes and sent them along in case you wanted to see it all. I find visual aids to be rather useful for most people, after all my mind palace is very visual. London is quiet at the moment, it's hateful. Hopefully someone will do something clever soon, my land lord is taking issue with the fingers I put in the vents. Clearly he doesn't appreciate my experiments. If you have no other arrangements I am available, of course if you do I will just find something else to do. I'm sure Mummy will have planned yet another dastardly party. When do you arrive anyway? In regards to the saliva coagulation I have concluded that it takes thirty two hours and fifty three seconds. The fingers should be done now, Sincerely Sherlock."

One of the officers raised her hand timidly. "Yes constable?" Lestrade asked, feeling even more like a teacher than before. "I'm a bit lost" Sherlock snorted "What's going on? They're making plans or something and there's a party but John's in Afghanistan so that wouldn't make sense. Also why are there fingers in the vents?" she asked and Lestrade shrugged turning to Sherlock. "My God what must it be like in your little heads... John was getting leave and had no one to see, I offered myself up, my mother insists on celebrating my birth every year and I would be subjected to that unless I had a valid excuse not to go, an excuse which John provided. As for the fingers you wouldn't understand. Obviously." A collective "Ah" went around the group and Sherlock rolled his eyes to the sky.

"26th of May 2011. Dear Sherlock, That was the most fun I've had during my leave for ages, I'm so glad I could help out with a real case! Bit unfortunate that I had to go back before we finished but the next time I'll definitely try to stay to the end. Do let me know how it all turns out with him, he's not a very nice man from what I could gather... though that probably means nothing seeing as I don't get half of what's going on most of the time except for running and staking people out. As my best friend it's your duty to keep me informed of all the goings on in the world, but a surprise trip to America wasn't exactly what that called for- saying 'It was for a case' doesn't change the fact that you kidnapped me from the airport and put me right back on a plane. Bloody brilliant first day that was! It's getting a bit hectic here again, so I might take a while to reply the next time. Oh! I hope you like the present, I saw it while we were staking out that restaurant and thought of you. Seeing as you keep sending me your drawings, it's about time I sent some back, so here's my mates from the squadron and one of my favourite memories from my leave with you. I'll talk to you soon as I can. Faithfully, Your John" Lestrade picked up the two sheets that accompanied this letter and stared at them.

The first was of six men dressed in their army gear, grinning madly with arms raised as if to wave to them. It was clear they were in the desert, John was a good artist, there were noticeable grains of sand in the creases of their clothes. He passed that around and looked at the second, trying to hold back his laughter. The drawing was of a sopping wet Sherlock, standing the middle of a fountain with an exasperated smile clear on his face as he blew a jet of water out in a high arc. His curls were dripping water down his face and torso, and it was clear that he was soaked as John had drawn in the outline of what was beneath the rather flimsy shirt. Feeling Sherlock's eyes on him he turned to find the man looking over his shoulder with a smirk on his face. "Continue." he drawled and Greg handed the second drawing around, waiting till everyone got over their giggles before looking at the next letter. Sherlock sighed when he scanned it. "They become more sporadic from now on. John gets moved to Helmand, four of the men in that drawing die, two of them on his table. I take on more and more cases. He gets another leave and comes to Sussex with me to work on a private case... And again the next time to meet my parents, and I meet his sister. Then they all meet each other. When he goes back we write only infrequently for a year, but he always responds. In September he still hasn't replied to my letter from July and I know something is up when I get the next letter." Lestrade looks down at the letter in his hands, the RAMC insignia printed across the top of it, the formal language used.

"Oh." he says, although that doesn't quite convey what he is imaging. That Sherlock had a friend at all was a miracle, but to receive a letter like this would have been destroying for anyone. "Go ahead." Sherlock nudged him and he coughed. "6th September 2013. Dear Mr Holmes, It is with great displeasure that we must inform you of the fact that Captain John H. Watson has been wounded in action and is currently in critical condition, but has stabilized after surgery to remove a bullet and shrapnel from his shoulder. His wounding came as a direct result of his diligence in his work and his attempts to save the lives of his men. He has served his Queen and country with integrity and heart and for that we are eternally grateful. Therefore it is with regret we must also inform you that due to his injury it is unlikely he shall return to service after he recovers. Once the initial recovery is completed he will be sent back to England, on approximately the 14th of November. Kind regards, Marcella Price (Liaison officer). The 14th... That's today- Ohhhh. That's what this is all about? Well you could have said that you were meeting your friend to welcome him back from Afghanistan" he chided, but still looked rather serious. All the officers were silent, some teary eyed as they looked at the smiling faces John had drawn, other's at the cruel reality of his story: even heroes get left in the dirt.

Sherlock however chuckled as the train was announced over the tannoy. "As ever Lestrade, you see but you do not observe." and he was dashing off to the back of the train, hopping from one foot to the other excitedly. The doors opened and out came a short blonde man wearing a wooly jumper and a crooked smile. Sherlock pounced on him, wrapping his arms around the man who did the same in return. "I thought I told you to be careful?" Sherlock hissed, voice muffled by the wool but still audible to the astounded

crowd of officers. "I thought I told you that I'd be coming home for you one way or another?" John smiled brightly up at Sherlock who was grinning madly. "I missed you John" he smiled, inches away from the other man's face. "I missed you too love, but I'm home now." John added and closed the distance between them, holding Sherlock to him by the lapels of his coat and kissing him hard. Lestrade turned to look at the others but they were as shocked as he was. What the hell was going on?! Sherlock was beaming as John broke away from him and soothed the wrinkles in his coat "That coat was my best present idea ever. You always look fantastic in it" he smiled wryly, carding his fingers through Sherlock's hair. It seemed only then did Sherlock remember that he had thirteen very confused officers standing a little way off. "Oh right. John, these are London's finest. The grey haired one is Detective Inspector Lestrade, the one with the curls is Donovan, next to her is Anderson, then there's Dimmock, Henley, Strauss, Fitzgerald, Cooper, Dayman, Bennett, Heckmann, Nelson, and O'Connell." he pointed to each of them in turn and John waved politely. "This" he looked at John "is John Watson. Or rather John Holmes Watson. My husband."

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Prompt 29: Rank

The night of Molly Hooper's batchelorette party was an odd night. Perhaps, one could argue, that there was just something in the air that made everything a little bit more... Fun. The smallest of jokes and wise cracks were suddenly hilarious, everyone was in a great mood and just happy in general for the girl who had once said that she didn't count was getting married within the week, to a Detective Inspector of Scotland yard no less. Dimmock was a good man, and would treat Molly as if she were a million pounds (a proclamation Sherlock had gotten out of him after cornering him in an alley and threatening to break him if he hurt her. (Sometimes John wondered if he'd pushed the whole 'showing emotions for people you cared about' lark too far.) and she was truly in love with him. It had taken Sherlock's Fall and his subsequent dependence on her to get over her crush on Sherlock. How could she love someone who was empty because they had to leave the one they actually loved? It wasn't fair to anyone, and then she'd met Michael.

The group that had gathered for the party was eclectic to put it mildly. Obviously Lily, Molly's twin sister had come, travelling back from her new home in Tokyo specially for the occasion she was certain would never happen. Then there was Tina and Mary from Bart's, her constant companions and closest friends, Mycroft's assistant Anthea who'd become her friend mainly because of the Reichenbach situation, Sally Donovan, a surprisingly kind

woman after she had dumped her boyfriend and realised her issues with Sherlock were really issues with herself, Mrs Hudson and her best friend comme neighbour Mrs Turner, and Michael's two sisters Kate and Lucy. While Michael was off in the town with his police mates, doing God knows what, the girls had free run of their house and were having a cocktail party simply because Sally had taken a course that month in bartending and wanted to put the skill to use. Mrs Hudson grinned at Molly and patted her hand, making Molly want to cry a bit. The old lady had become something of a mother figure to her and reminded her that her own parents would not have the chance to see her happy. "Thank you for keeping the party at home dear, my hip you know, can't handle the clubs like it used to" and Molly was laughing once again, revelling in the joy of her life and the company of good friends. The kitchen was abuzz with voices, and try though she may, Molly couldn't be everywhere at once. Eventually, having watched the girl fret at where she should go next, Sally took her arm and sat her down at the counter in between Anthea and Mrs Hudson. Pouring them all another drink ('None for me dear, Mrs Turner and I are going to head home now, want to look fresh in the morning') as the tamer guests began to take their leave and the clock chimed swiftly from two to three.

Soon only four were left. Molly, Lily, Anthea and Sally herself, all in various states of sobriety ranging from vaguely to very much not. The group had moved to the bedroom, Lily and Molly draped across the bed while Sally was on Anthea's lap in the armchair, deeming it "A damn sight warmer than either of you sticks." Anthea had smirked at that. "We should do something!" Lily cried, vaulting her body into a sitting position, still crackling with energy. Sally raised an eyebrow "like what? I don't know about you but I'm not getting up for anything except maybe food, Annie here doesn't really have the option if I'm not and Molly should stay off her feet because come the wedding she'll not want to walk ever again." Lily stuck out her tongue "So as long as no one has to move we're all good? Brilliant! How about we play 'Who's The?' God remember in school when Jack said you were the prettiest Mols ,and then when they asked him for his explanation he said it was because you never made scrunched up kissy faces?!" Lily clutched her sides laughing and even Molly had to admit that it was quite funny.

Anthea cleared her throat and popped her head out from behind Sally "You'll have to explain better because that is not a game I've ever come across." Molly grinned. "It's simple, one person asks a question - for example who's the prettiest girl - then you outline parameters - out of Lily, Sally and eh... Mrs Hudson say - and then the rest of you have to answer, then give the reason behind your answer and the questioner has to decide who they agree with based on that. It's silly, but we used to play alllllll the time." Sally nodded slowly and then sat back against Anthea so the other woman could see properly. "Right then, who'll start?" "I will! I actually have a question in mind already so you know, might as well" Lily chirped and smiled. "Who's the cutest couple out of Sherlock and John, Your" she pointed at the women on the couch "bosses and Mrs Hudson and that restaurant owner, ranked in order of cutest." Lily sat back smugly as the others contemplated and she giggled, Anthea was clearly surprised that Lily knew about Mycroft and Greg, Sally slowly going over every interaction the two had and realising that Lily was right, and Molly was simply trying to rank all of her friends.

"Ok Sally you can go first, just your ranks and when everyone has said theirs you can give your reasoning behind your number one choice." Sally thought about it for a while longer and then smiled. "Right! First place is Mrs Hudson and Angelo, second Johnlock and third Lestrade and Holmes senior." Anthea cocked a brow "Johnlock?" Sally shrugged "Some of the girls down the yard have taken to abbreviating couples names into one by you know, mashing them together. If you really want to know we do it for everyone, even after just a few dates. Dimolly was one of the first that actually came to anything." She winked at Molly who chucked a pillow at her. "I like it... Sherlock is a long name already and seeing as John is always with him... So many shorter reports if we just abbreviated it!" Anthea chided herself and reached for her phone reflexively to send the idea on. "Annie! No phone, we agreed! Your turn." Lily pouted until the other woman relinquished the phone to her. "Taking Sally's idea on, Mystrade first, Johnlock second and Angelson third." Lily nodded and turned to Molly who blushed a little. "Johnlock, Mystrade, Angelson."

Lily beamed and made a gesture like a judge banging a gavel "The floor is now open for your reasoning. Sally?" The curly haired woman shrugged a little. Molly frowned "Actually Sally, come to think of it, you don't really know Mrs Hudson or Angelo that well at all. Why them?" Struggling to find the words to explain adequately Sally sighed "They're hopeful, I mean, Mrs Hudson had a husband once who treated her really badly and Angelo was so distraught after his wife died... They're old. They just kind of prove that you can find love again, and that there's no limit as to when you do. Neither of them has to be alone and I think that is sweet. I've only seen them together once but they might as well be an old married couple, they have each other sussed and it's really cute to watch the familiarity that they share you know, they just know the other even though they'very not been together long at all." Lily gave a solemn nod to Sally as she finished. That was a good reason.

"Well Annie, what about you? Why pick the justice league?" Anthea smiled wistfully at nothing, remembering. "When I first went to work with Mycroft... Scratch that, too long a tale to tell. Mycroft has always been a genius,
politics, tactics, war, peace. You name it and he knows how to play it to his advantage. He convinced everyone that he didn't want anything more than to run the country behind the curtains. I wasn't so easily fooled. A man who puts 24 hour surveillance on his brother cannot convince me that he cares for nothing, that he has no heart. For some reason he had it in his head that he didn't deserve love like other people did, that he wasn't worth it because he was too fat and secretive and emotionless. When he first met Greg... No one but me and perhaps Sherlock, had he been conscious, would have noticed the slight flush that crossed his cheeks when Greg wrapped his arms around him at Sherlock's bedside. The inspector was just offering comfort to a man who was probably about to lose his baby brother, but how often do people hug Mycroft Holmes? Then when Greg asked for his number God I thought he'd have a heart attack! But it took years for him to admit that he liked Greg, they were friends by that time and suddenly Greg's marriage was breaking down and the CIA needed help tracking BinLaden down for good... So he got to run away for a while, telling himself and by extension me that he shouldn't have gotten his hopes up because no one would want him, especially not Greg. It was... Painful to see him so full of loathing for himself. When we got back after a good three months Greg called over to his London apartment to welcome him home and as he was leaving he just spun on his heel and goes "Mycroft you don't have some secret American version of you that you're married to now and just had a honeymoon with or something do you?" and Mycroft splutters and blushes and shakes his head and he says "The last man I had in my life was a long time ago Gregory, I had to have been thirty years younger then, although why that concerns you I don't understand." so you can imagine the look on his face when that pours out of his mouth, eyes wide and all that. Greg just smiles cheerily and moves to go, he just about turns the latch when he turns around saying "That's good. Uh... Screw it! Mycroft I've been dancing around this for a good seven years now and it's time you knew that I like you and if you would want to, I'd like to take you on a date." and when Mycroft asked him why, genuinely shocked, Greg said "Well for one you're probably the most handsome bloke I've ever met, you're smart and witty and more sarcastic than even your brother, I don't know. There's just something about you that I want Mycroft, and I think that something is just... You."Greg kind of proved that Mycroft was good enough to deserve love and kindness to him and I'm forever grateful." Again Lily was solemn when she looked to Molly for her answer.

"I never met John without Sherlock until after the fall. They were inseparable, always working and dashing about together and it was clear that they were the closest two friends could be without crossing the boundary into being lovers. The best thing about being invisible is that you get to see everything. Every time John's eyes would linger when Sherlock turned away from him, how they orbited each other all the time, the way Sherlock would stare at John for hours on end, especially if he'd drifted off and he thought no one was watching. Then when Moriarty set him up he looked... As if his whole world were crumbling around him, which it was, but only when John looked away, because when he was there, Sherlock could pretend he would be coming out the other side. He died for John, and John would have died defending him, nearly did the way he worked to get Sherlock aqquited of all crimes. Sherlock lived with me for a while and he'd wake up and call for John in the night, beg for John when he was ill or injured, I even saw him crying a few times and when I asked him what was wrong he'd just show me blurry cctv footage of John doing something heartbreaking like taking one of Sherlock's pillows to bed with him or noting down the results of the experiments he'd left behind or just staring at the sofa with a wry smile. When he realised that John needed the cane again he was inconsolable for days. Sure he worked every day and most nights to stop Moriarty's web but John was all he thought of. When he was finally able to go home he thought John would hate him, that he'd be left loving this man who couldn't stand him and he was dejected before he even set foot outside the door. I was on the stairs when he knocked and John opened up. He blinked a

lot, then pinched himself, then stepped back a bit, all the while Sherlock just stood there, trembling a little bit. When John pulled back his fist God he expected to be punched in the face and told to get the hell out, but John's fist uncurled as it reached his face and he brushed his curls away from his eyes carefully and he just breathed Sherlock's name before he kissed him and I swear the noise Sherlock made was something I didn't actually know was possible, it was like a groan and a sigh and a yelp all mixed together when he just melted into him... I could have cried when John said "I meant to tell you on the phone that I loved you but I can do it now." They saved each other's lives both literally and figuratively over and over. Sherlock smiles now, real smiles. Some people don't even notice it but I do, the way their hands are always touching now, and they're happy just to see the other. They don't come much cuter than those two." Molly concluded and Lily yawned.

Over the course of the game everyone had snuggled into the bed and were lying down drowsily. "I disagree with all of you. Mols and Dimmock are the cutest" she yawned out from behind her hand. "We weren't an option Lil you can't just-" "Shhh. Yes I can. I'm Lily Hooper and I do what I want. Now go to sleep before I put my new karate skills into practice on you, we've a wedding to go to in twenty six hours."

"Night guys" Molly whispered into the air, the sun's first rays just beginning to brighten the horizon. A chorus of "Night Molly" was the last thing she heard before drifting off into a sleep filled with dreams of white dresses and bouquets.

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Prompt 30: Diary 'John. This exercise seems to be as useless to me as it was to you, writing a diary of one's experiences is something best left to adolescent girls and the forgetful. I can not forget, will not forget. Would you forgive me if you knew that I have attempted to delete all recollection of you from my mind palace? Based on our previous interactions I don't doubt that you would. Still, I yearn to ask you, to hear your voice assuage my fears beyond all doubt. It was a pointless exercise because you, my dearest John, have become so much a part of me that to separate us would be the cruelest form of torture, like tearing one's very being apart. I suffer this pain and worse, the knowledge that you suffer it too in my absence, though at times, when I truly lose my grip on what is real and what is just the palace in my mind playing memories and fantasies before me, I get to see you one more, hear your voice as though you are whispering in my ear. It's probably not good that I get such relief when you do not, but I would not stop these imaginary yous from tormenting me so sweetly even if I could. You have ruined me John Watson, without even trying you have ruined me and I should by all rights detest you for it, this vulnerability that you have created in me, that has caused me to have to leave you, but I cannot.

Strange, isn't it? How the mind is almost constantly at work without us ever realising? I for one do not recall saving the fifty seven various inflections you use when saying my name and their various meanings, nor do I remember inventing a subsequent twelve for how you might say my name if we were to allow what was growing between us to consummate, or was it just me staring at your mouth for hours on end, wondering if it could possibly be a soft as it looked. You have a habit of licking your lips, did you know? I doubt it for if you did you would surely stop and that would be a crime, I could never tear my eyes away from that tiny flicker of tongue pulling across your lips. A very welcome distraction. Some nights, after a very hard chase or a quiet dinner at Angelo's, there would be a moment, a pause so pregnant that even the slightest of movements would break the spell but in those moments, staring at each other in the dark, I could truly believe that you wanted me, in every possible sense of the word. If that is the case then I hope that some day you will forgive me for this, for leaving you so coldly.

Even now, a full year later I can still see your face when you visited my grave. So many things left unsaid between us, even now in death we can't seem to find the courage to confess. I have been gone a long time, and will be gone for so much longer still, and I wonder often if you will have found someone else to take care of and hold close while I'm away, a girlfriend that won't be disturbed by The Work or rather just me so she'll stay, and you'll get your normal life and a beautiful wife and the 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. I was always selfish, but in this I find myself to be more so than even I thought I would be. I would begrudge you that comfort, the normality and stability she would provide just so I could make sure you stayed mine, even if we were simply flatmates once more, although simple was never a word that I would have used to describe our relationship.

I can't share you John, I was the youngest child in a ridiculously upper class family, I was never taught to share what belongs to me, and surely you know that you are mine? It goes without saying that I am yours also, for what else could I be when you would kill for me, die for me, over and over again you would do it just to be sure that I was safe. I have been yours since the first moment. I know that to have you with me, or to tell you that I am alive would be the death of you, and here I am selfish again because I will force you to live without me just so I don't have to live without you. I am trying desperately to make it safe for me to come home to you, but Moriarty's web was a tangled one and I must break every strand, crumble each one into dust before I can return.

It is... Harrowing. I love the mystery, the puzzle of a case, but these are generally brutal, no finesse or care taken, no genius behind the crimes. I'm sitting in one of the old hide outs I have... Cleared. If anyone were to see me (apart from expressing shock at the fact that I'm not dead) they would surely laugh at the sight. I do not look my self. By way of a disguise I am going unshaven, and wearing clothes that once would only have been good for sleeping in as my everyday attire. People avoid eye contact with a homeless man you see, and they can slip by unnoticed into the strangest places in the world. The real reason for their mirth would undoubtedly come from what I am writing in. It belonged to Molly not so long ago, but she gave the fluffy pink monstrosity to me as a parting gift and instructed me to use it as I am now. These thoughts are not going to cease simply because I have written them down, that would be ridiculous. No. But perhaps, in the future, if you see fit to forgive me for this, I will give them to you, my letters to you I suppose is what they are.

If you are going to read these then I may as well be honest. I miss you. Every fibre of my being misses you and thoughts of you are the only thing that convinces me to keep going. You are an extraordinary man John, and I thought that I was telling the truth when I said that being alone protected me because it always has before, but I was wrong. You have protected me and fought for me and been the best friend anyone could possibly ask for and I thought I didn't need you but I do, more than I need the work or relief from boredom. I need you like Mycroft's assistant needs her phone, I need you like Mrs Hudson needs to reassure us that she is not our housekeeper, I need you like Lestrade needs sleep, I need you like Mycroft needs to be in control, I need you more than I need myself. I can't help but hope that you need me too, because the point of no return has long since passed for me and I think the damage would be irreparable should you leave me. Perhaps the Greeks were right, and we were truly born with four arms, four legs, and a single heart, split into two beings and dropped to the Earth, trying to find one another again to complete ourselves. Perhaps you were given the heart and I was given the head.

I know there is something rather significant that I have not written, but you know, don't you? How could you possibly not know how much I love you? Love is a chemical defect found in the losing side, and I would happily be part of the losing side forever if it meant that you loved me too. I love you so much that my heart clenched just thinking of you, it's rather disconcerting actually and highly illogical but I think I like it, a reminder that you are the only heart I'm likely to have. I am here John, in your position exactly on the other side of the world and taking comfort in the idea that perhaps the air that I'm breathing has passed through your lungs before being carried to me. I will never stop telling you how much you have come to mean to me when I come home. Wait for me, my dearest John. I will come home for you.
Love, now and always,
SH

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Prompt 31: Umbrella

Mycroft sat with his head held in his hands at his desk. He couldn't say how long he'd been sat like that, after the initial burst of activity, identifying the body ("Who else could it possibly be?" he spat acidly at the bumbling pathologist Molly Hooper) and making arrangements for the funeral he had just collapsed into the chair and not gotten up. It was his fault of course, he'd fed Jim all of that information, hadn't managed to keep tabs on the man when he was released, not protected Sherlock at all. In fact if anything he was an accomplice in his death. That was a bitter pill to swallow. He'd spent his entire life looking out for Sherlock, from the time the younger boy could crawl he'd watched out for him, and yes, sometimes he failed, but never as grievously as he had this time. God he could still see a pudgy little three year old, sprinting in the endearing manner only children can, into his room from the garden with a stuffed parrot clasped in his little hands and a grin that would melt even the coldest of hearts on his face as he threw himself into Mycroft's arms squealing his gratitude for the treasure hunt he'd devised to keep the boy occupied. And he'd betrayed him, so flippantly, into the hands of a known psychopath and criminal mastermind. Way to go Mycroft, splendid job you did too he thought bitterly. Mummy was distraught, she had been since the whole debacle had started with the trial going south at the Old Bailey, yet another oversight on his part. Now the entire world believed that Sherlock had been a fraud, a manipulative liar who tried to lord his fake genius over everyone else and had gotten the comeupance he deserved. Well, all but a few. John, Mrs Hudson and the Hooper girl. He had... Hoped for better from Gregory Lestrade but he could not fault the man for being between two minds about it. In the mans own words "I know he was a genius, but why didn't he disprove all the damned evidence against himself then?"

That question was one that only John Watson could answer. If Mycroft had any room left to feel guilty about how this would affect others at all, John was the only person he had room for. He hadn't spoken to him since telling him that he was the leak to Jim. That conversation hadn't exactly ended well, although there was something to be said for the fact that John hadn't punched him in the face like he wanted to. His self control was admirable. Mycroft couldn't remember much of the funeral at all, except that John had been a pall bearer even though he was significantly shorter than the others, that he'd given a eulogy to the odd bunch of people that had arrived for the event - Sherlock's private clients who obviously knew he couldn't be a fraud, Lestrade, Molly, Mrs Hudson, John and the gang of homeless people that had been watching them all for days. Mycroft hadn't gone to the cemetery, Anthea had simply guided him back into one of the cars and gotten him home.

He vaguely recalled her saying
that she would handle work for a couple of weeks, and giving her condolences. That had been an interesting affair, try though she might the woman had grown rather fond of the madman they watched everyday, and she truly was sorry that he had died in disgrace. She sent him updates everyday, although they really didn't register with him at all, bar one, which had simply read "Turn on the news." He had, she never ordered him around except in exceptional circumstances, and by God this was an exceptional circumstance. He watched as Lestrade held a press conference with John Watson (tired, grief stricken, holding himself together just for this) at his side, recanting all they had said about Sherlock being a fraud. It seemed that John had worked day and night to prove that Sherlock was exactly what he said he was, a genius, a consulting detective who had saved countless lives and had been slated, insulted and hunted to death in return for his service. A chuckle actually escaped him when John cut Lestrade off as he was thanking everyone for listening. "Don't thank them, they could've listened in the first place but they didn't because once again, they see but they don't observe, so they can fuck right off. I hope you all feel really good about your role in the death of Sherlock Holmes. Now piss off so I can go home." The silence that had fallen among the press the moment John had stood up was nothing short of unheard of, and better yet it was all live streamed, because no one had  expected an outburst from the placid Doctor Watson, but they no longer had Doctor Watson, they had Captain Watson and he was furious.

Mycroft knew then that he couldn't just sit around feeling sorry for himself, he had to get back to work. But first, he owes his baby brother an apology. It was dark and raining heavily as he walked to the cemetery alone, his umbrella finally being used for its true purpose. He had called Anthea that evening to let her know that he would be returning to work and he could hear the relief in her voice. It took a certain kind of person to do the job that he did, and while Anthea was probably the closest you could get, it wasn't him. England needed Mycroft Holmes. Strolling down the winding path of the cemetery, he knew what he was looking for, obsidian marble engraved with only his name, a stipulation Sherlock had made years earlier when he had been certain he would die before getting the chance to make a will, Mycroft had scoffed at the twelve year old but went to the family lawyers none the less and had one written up. Sherlock had been right, and it seemed like the man had done it all on purpose just to have the last laugh from the grave.He smirked at the thought of that final "Fuck you" from Sherlock.

Then Mycroft saw it, the headstrong he had been looking for, but surprisingly he wasn't the only person there. John was sitting with his back against it, a bottle of whiskey in one hand and two blue orchids in the other. He looked up as he heard Mycroft approach and even though Mycroft was prepared for some form of violence none came. John was done. All the fight had gone out of him because with Sherlock exonerated he had no purpose left.

"Want to sit down Mycroft?" he asked, bringing Mycroft back to reality. John was soaked already and so was the grass but Mycroft surprised even himself by sitting next to John against the stone. Carefully he balanced his umbrella so the three of them were under it's protection. "John I am truly sorry for everything. This was my fault, and mine alone." Mycroft said into the night, hearing rather than seeing the bottle tilt into John's mouth. "Yeah, it is. You had the chance to stop Moriarty but you didn't, you gave him everything he needed instead. But, Sherlock fell of his own volition and as much as I wish I could just blame you, there's enough to share between the three of us don't you think?" John asked seriously, shivering at the burn of the whiskey in his throat. Mycroft raised an eyebrow "Three of us?" he frowned, he could see his own responsibility, Sherlock's too, but John? What had he done that had lead to this? "He thought no one cared about him Mycroft. I called him a machine, one of the last things I said to him before he died reaffirmed a life time of conditioning to hate himself, and I, I was supposed to be his friend but I let him down. That's on me." John shook his head slowly and closed his eyes "It seems mad that he could see just about everything except how I felt about him."

Mycroft turned to face him. "How did you feel about him?" he asked, puzzled slightly, he'd made jokes about a happy announcement but he had no idea why, it was just to rile Sherlock up, he never actually thought John was anything more than a friend to Sherlock. "Seriously? The two of you are so... so ignorant of some things it's unbelievable. How can you not see it? I loved him! I loved him through it all and I couldn't tell him even when he was standing on that bloody roof. Does that make me a coward Mycroft, the fact that I was happier to love him in secret and keep him than tell him and risk him leaving? He died without knowing that someone loved him, that someone could know all about him and his mad plans and experiments and still love him all the more for it, without knowing any of it! I could have said it on the phone that day, I wanted to, it was just waiting to spill out." Mycroft patted John on the back gently. "No. No it doesn't. And I think, if what you say is true, he would have known, in the end, he would have heard it. He knew John. He knew." Mycroft whispered. He could only hope that Sherlock did know.

An idea seemed to come to John suddenly as he surged forward in a split second of movement. "What are you here for actually Mycroft? I know why I'm here, feel a bit entitled to pine a little for him but why are you here in the middle of the bloody night?" Mycroft chuckled at the pining bit and then he sighed. "I came to apologise to him, to you too." John nodded briefly and stood up, holding out a hand for Mycroft to grasp as he pulled him up too, rain melting them both. "Come on, I'll make us some tea back at baker street. I think you could use someone to talk to about him, someone who cared as much as you do. I'm not saying that I'll forget, but I forgive you Mycroft. For both of us." Mycroft felt a weight lift from his chest when John said that and allowed his grief to flood him properly for the first time when John embraces him. "I'm so sorry Mycroft." he muttered into the shoulder of his suit. "I'm sorry too John." They left together, and Mycroft, in a fit of sentimentality that he had not prepared for, left his umbrella sheltering Sherlock's grave, protecting him one last time.

Chapter Text

Prompt 32: Knack
It began with a pair of shoes. "John." John looked up from his shopping and leaned out of the kitchen to find Sherlock staring intently at him from his chair. "Yeah?" Sherlock's eyes narrowed. "When did you get new shoes?" John's mouth tilted into a half smirk. "Tuesday, your brother decided to kidnap me on the way home from the gym and my shoes were… Left behind. Oddly enough he had these on hand so I took them. Didn't you notice before?" John spun back around and Sherlock frowned. This was totally unacceptable. He'd seen this happen before, his violin instructor when he was eleven, his baritsu master the following year, Latin tutor when he was fifteen. He had seen this game play out enough times to understand precisely what was going on. Mycroft was trying to seduce John out from under his very nose. Each other time he'd simply cast the offending party aside and learned independently from then on, but John was different entirely. He could neither cast him aside, nor remain in his presence if he engaged in any sort of relationship with his brother. No. That was unacceptable in the extreme. John was his and he would not let Mycroft take that away from him.
I know what you're doing Mycroft. You know I never liked to share. ~SH
I have no idea to what you are referring brother, but I don't think you get to decide if Dr Watson shares or not, You haven't before -MH
Do not challenge me Mycroft. This is one thing I will not allow to happen. He will be mine.-SH.
Not if I get there first little brother. -MH
Sherlock tossed his phone aside and began planning his attack. The pleasant thing was that at least he would not be forced to employ his acting skill this time, he did have feelings for John, past the accepted line of platonic friendship for certain. Past almost any line he had ever set for himself actually. What he really needed was a solid plan to bring the sparks that were so evidently present between them to fruition. Before Mycroft did. He had a knack for that, generally pulling rather important people from his life. Not that he was complaining, some of them had been rather unpleasant to him so when they 'dated' (A strong word for what he deduced they were 'doing') Mycroft they were soon out of his life and far away, which was perfect. "Stupid bloody brother and his stupid bloo-" John shuffled in, laden down with tea and gave Sherlock an odd look. "Are you alright?" he asked tentatively, handing a mug across. Sherlock scowled. "Of course I'm alright. Why did you accept the shoes?" John gave Sherlock and incredulous look and rubbed his temples "I needed shoes to wear, as much as I love the whole vagrant style, I am a fan of warm feet and having footwear in general. Especially when it's raining. Why does it matter? It's just shoes. Besides, I thought you liked it when we spent Mycroft's money." Sherlock scoffed. "Mycroft had a pair of shoes ready, in precisely your size, that were just so convenient. Think John! What must it be like in your mind? So empty! Come on John, you know that there's a reason. Deduce it." John took a sip of his tea and shook his head. "Sherlock we both know that my skills of deduction are next to nothing, so if you're going to explain yourself please do, but I don't know what you're looking for from me exactly." John frowned and raised a brow, waiting for an answer. "He's attempting to… seduce you" Sherlock spat with a scowl. John was silent. "Um. Right… not exactly what I was expecting… at all… eh… but it was just… shoes! I don't… Mycroft?!…" John babbled on, a dusting of cerise glowing across his cheeks. Sherlock's eyes widened. "Oh dear God tell me you don't want Mycroft!" John sputtered "NO! Jesus no, it'sMycroft for pete's sake but it just makes you think…" Sherlock smirked "That's a first" and John punched him lightly on the arm. "Alright you twat no need to be so annoying. What I was trying to say was that I thought the Holmes brothers didn't do relationships, affection, seduction without the motive of a case or for Mycroft I would have thought a political coup." Sherlock ran a hand through his curls and shook his head "We're Holmes' we can go after whatever and whomever we please, just generally we don't find anyone who is worth the effort, or more likely, going to return the sentiment without some form of deception. I personally have never been a party to sentiment but I could be, if I found someone who fit my criteria." John smiled "Ah yes, Caring is not an advantage. I would say your criteria are a bit impossible to meet, after all you're… you." Rolling his eyes Sherlock flopped back onto the couch. "Eloquent as always John. I am indeed, me. What an observation. It is not impossible to meet my criteria, just difficult. Unlikely even. It has only happened once in my life."
John was shocked into silence, running over every person he knew that was acquainted with Sherlock and trying to guess who the person he liked was. Irene? John shook his head and downed his tea, "I'll see you later, I'm done in the surgery at five. Do… yeah I'll see you later." John grabbed his jacket and strolled outside, feeling the biting chill in the air that usually meant frost and hurried to the clinic, paying little attention to his surroundings. In fact, he was distracted all day, not that his patients were treated to a lower standard of care, because they weren't, but there are some things a girl will always notice, and preoccupation was usually one of them. That was the reason, though she was pretty certain of what was going on, Sarah arrived and plonked herself across the desk from John at lunch. "Right." she began, popping a fork of salad into her mouth. "Spill." Their friendship was a strong one these days, there were just some things (like being kidnapped and nearly murdered by Chinese smugglers) that solidify a friendship. John sighed and rubbed a hand across his face. "I'm trying to figure a few things out. You know Sherlock's older brother Mycroft?" Sarah nodded slowly. Not where she thought this was going. "well apparently," John lifted a foot onto his desk, and Sarah had to admire the high quality leather that was made to look average. "apparently he's trying to seduce me! And that would be confusing enough if it were, you know, a regular person, but it's a Holmes and they have spent half of the time I've known them spouting their whole "Caring is not an advantage" spiel at me, And now Mycroft is trying to get with me! And then Sherlock admits that he's not been unaffected his whole life and that there has been one person that passed his criteria and between trying to figure out who it might have been and looking back over my interactions with Mycroft I'm just a bit out of it." Sarah smiled. That was more like what she had thought was happening.
"I think I know what's going on" she grinned broadly. "Mycroft doesn't like you. What he did, rather impressively, was force you two to talk about relationships." She looked at John as if that explained everything. He stared back blankly. "Sherlock only had feelings for one person in his life right?" John nodded. "So if he only had those feelings for one person, he'd be very sure that they didn't attach themselves to someone who could, I don't know, ship them off to Antarctica right?" John stared at her, jaw dropped. "Me? He likes… me?" Sarah rolled her eyes "No John" she said sarcastically "he likesme. Of course he likes you! The two of you have been inseparable since the day you met and if his winning personality is anything to go by that's a first. Combine that with the obvious chemistry between you two… have you seen the way you two look at each other? It's so obvious! You mightn't be gay, but you're most certainly not 100% straight. Seriously though John, how can you not see that he wants you… If I knew someone who looked at me like that…" Sarah shook her head and looked at her watch. John was clearly thinking hard about this and she wasn't going to get any useful work out of him now. "Go home John. You're distracted, and I know you have some thinking to do." John nodded with a half smile. "Yeah… thanks for this by the way I wouldn't have gotten that at all." She smiled and patted his back as he walked past "Don't mess this up John." John strode out into the rain, realising about ten minutes into his walk that he'd left his coat behind and that it was hailing just a bit. It didn't seem to matter though.
He'd always known Mycroft was a meddler but this was another level, and Sherlock… Sherlock supposedly had only ever wanted John?! There was only really two things to figure out, and he intended to do so today. He jogged home and knocked on the door, his keys were in his coat pocket, completely sopping wet and shivering slightly. Sherlock opened the door and recoiled in surprise. John never forgot his coat. "Sherlock. Is it me?" John asked through blue tinged quaking lips, still standing in the hail. Sherlock nodded silently, staring at the trickling rivers of water that travelled down John's face instead of looking at him. This was a rejection he didn't really want to watch. A calloused hand found it's way beneath his chin, freezing cold and shivering, tilted his head up to meet John's eyes, and then his lips. It was cold, John's lips were like ice but neither of them cared, because this new thing between them was warm enough to cure that. Sherlock did pull him inside of course, it wouldn't do for him to fall ill, not when they had so much time to make up for. Later, when John had been sufficiently dried, dressed in pyjamas and tucked into Sherlock's side on the sofa, he made a low snorting noise. "What?" Sherlock murmured into his hair. "We owe this" John gestured to their cocoon position on the couch "to Mycroft and a pair of shoes." Sherlock rolled his eyes and flopped his head back into the cushions as John laughed.

Chapter Text

Prompt 33: Tea

Sherlock cracked open an eye and groaned at the brightness that blinded him. It was not the familiar light of home, nor that familiar sky. He remembered crouching at the edge of the bifrost, collecting samples of various particles and then a pressure at his back and falling, falling, falling, into an abyss of stars, eventually crash landing here, and he hoped he would be able to escape in due course. Mycroft would be insufferable when he discovered that this had happened. Again. Sherlock chuckled at the memory of his first foray over the edge of the rainbow bridge, of one Martha Hudson and her kindness that he repaid in kind by dealing with her abusive, criminal husband. The chuckle soon made him groan in pain, and he cursed whoever had sent him here for his response would be swift and unforgiving when he returned home. First things first however, A quick scan of his transport to see the damage. Ribs bruised, lacerations to the arms and torso in general, and it appeared that his ankle was broken. Joy. Apparently godly powers weren't extended to him yet again, this was what one got when one was merely the God of knowledge. Enemies and mortality.

"Hey, Are you alright?" a warm voice laced with caution intruded on his ramblings and Sherlock opened his eyes to find his face was in the shade of another's. The worry lines marred what was otherwise a very handsome face, all golden tones and bright blue eyes. "I am fine. How's your shoulder?" The man flew back with a startled gasp that bled into a long and hearty laugh. The man wiped tears of mirth from his eyes and Sherlock lay, still flat on his back in the dirt, staring up at him. Sherlock sighed in relief when he realised where he was, finally. He was getting slow. "Alright, I'll bite. How did you know about my shoulder then?" Sherlock smirked broadly "I deduced it. Just as I deduced that you were in the army, probably a doctor but most likely a surgeon and were just invalided out by the very wound of which I speak, or that your older brother recently came out of a longterm relationship and is an alcoholic." He watched as the man's eyebrows clambered steadily higher up his face with a sense of satisfied resignation to the oncoming insults. "That… is bloody brilliant! How did you know all that!? We've just met, I have no idea who you are, and you just… wow!" He was quite vocally awestruck and Sherlock wondered why that made his heart flutter so in his chest. Determined not to show just how surprised and gratified he truly was, Sherlock launched into explanations of his deductions for the man who had laughed not at him but more… he couldn't express it. "I read your military service in your hair cut and your posture, you clearly have medical knowledge as I could see you performing a visual triage on me right away, and your hands are calloused in the precise way anyone who frequently uses medical equipment's hands are. Your left hand was shaking slightly before I fully regained consciousness so wounded in action then, can't have a surgeon with quivering hands - invalided home. The brother is obvious from your phone, an expensive model that someone supported by only an army pension would never buy, a gift then, "To Harry love Clara" with what I assume are three x's because I can't quite see it all is the engraving on the back, evidently given to your brother by his lover and yet you have it now, this particular model is only six months old so clearly he left her, and recently too, he'd have kept it if it had been the other way around, and gave the phone to you in the hopes you'd keep in touch but you're not happy with him, you've never really gotten on, maybe you liked his wife,more likely you dislike his drinking, which is abundantly clear to see in the scratch marks by the charging dock. Shaky hands. Never see a sober man's phone with them, never see a drunk's without them. Did I get it right?" Sherlock finally stopped for breath and the man just stared at him for a moment.

"Yes, I was an army surgeon and I did get shot in the left shoulder meaning I had to come home, and Harry and I don't get along, Harry and Clara separated three months ago, and Harry is a drinker." Sherlock's smug grin was something even the cheshire cat would have been envious of. "And Harry is short for Harriet." Sherlock cursed "There's always something! Sister of course!" and the man chuckled lowly again. "Are you going to lay on the ground all day or would you be up to coming back to my place so I can patch you up a bit? Oh, and I'm John by the way. John Watson." Sherlock rolled the name about in his mouth. John Watson. Huh. "Sherlock Holmes-" He cut himself off from saying Holmeson, because he was going to have enough trouble remembering the backstory he'd invented for Mrs Hudson that he'd labelled unimportant after the event (foolish, Sherlock a voice in his head that sounded irritatingly similar to Mycroft admonished) without adding a last name that had only been in use back when Earth had been over run with barbarians they called vikings.

John smiled down at him and held out a hand. "Well then Sherlock Holmes. Let's go" John grinned, his teeth a pearl white against the backdrop of tanned skin. Sherlock grasped the hand offered to him and struggled to get up, though not for long. Soon he was upright, albeit on one leg, with John's reassuringly steady hand resting on his lower back. Oddly enough he didn't find the touch repugnant, then again, he sniffed, it wasn't very often that he found himself in the company of someone who could stand him enough to stay longer than it took to either beat or berate him. John's head tilted to the side and Sherlock observed the only possible reason for having to think (well, in a broad sense) and groaned inwardly. Too far from the forest trail they were currently standing in to the road for him to hop there. Perhaps John would just leave him to his own devices now, he could still feel the raw tingle of the barest film of magic in himself, so he would heal faster than most of the mewling quims he had come across, five days at most.

He was so lost in his mind palace that he didn't register John's hand reaching across the back of his knees until he was already ascending into a comfortable (He'd deny that he had thought it cozy until the day he died) position resting against John's chest. John smiled cheerily down at him "Sorry about this Sherlock but it's the best way to get you home and fixed up quickly. I don't like the look of that cut on your chest at all." The doctor walked down the winding path with Sherlock firmly ensconced in his arms, his strength and stamina astounding the God. He was reminded of the human tale of Hercules, and wondered if by some freak chance was John in a similar sort of situation, because right now he knew (being the God of knowledge was a double edged blade, he often knew things he didn't want to) that he had to have John, or live the rest of his immortal life in utter despondent loneliness and spite. Though the sun was shining, he shivered, and was more pleased than he could say when John held him closer. His mind had registered that (finally!) his mind had cut the pain of his transport out of his consciousness and stuffed it away to deal with later.

The road was deserted when they arrived, and John's car was the only one in the lot. With more tenderness than anyone had shown him, John gently settled him into the passenger seat of the car and was in the driver seat moments later. "Did you enjoy your run, Mr Watson?" a disembodied voice chimed as John turned the keys in the ignition. Sherlock whipped round before hissing in pain and moving much more slowly back into the correct sitting position. "What is this voice that knows your name?" he asked curiously, examining the interior of the car for anything he didn't recognise. Chuckling, John soothed a hand across his battered ribs "That would be Jarvis. He's an AI Tony built ages back, the whole tower and all of our cars and phones are Jarvis wired. It was lovely thanks Jarvis, This is Sherlock Holmes by the way, I'm bringing him back to the tower so I can fix him up." This time when the voice sounded Sherlock strained his ears instead of his body."A pleasure to meet you Mr. Holmes. Traffic is minimal, ETA twenty minutes. Shall I inform the team of your impending arrival?" A small crease appeared on Sherlock's face and if John did that kind of thing without getting to know a person first he'd have kissed that line away. "The team?" he ventured,waiting for John's reply. "Yeah" he chuckled again "The Avengers they're called when they're working, really it's just Tony Stark aka owner and builder of Stark tower. Billionaire, Genius, Philanthropist… also known as Iron man. Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, Natasha Romanoff aka The Spider, Clint Barton aka Hawkeye and finally Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Oh! and Director Fury but the chances of him being there are pretty slim." Sherlock wrinkled his nose up. Just what he needed, an abundance of stupidity in one building that he would have to remain in for the time being, at least until he could find a better offer. "… but that's Happy for you, and then there's Mrs. H, she's the housekeeper but really she's more like a mum to everyone." John finished with a nostalgic smile as they sailed through the mid morning traffic. Sherlock remained silent, he could feel the low throb of pain all over his body and quite frankly it seemed better to grit his teeth than lash out at the one potential ally he had on this planet.

They were stationary before he knew it and John was out of the car, opening his door with a slight blush and stood there fidgeting. "Ah, I see. I am not so egotistical as to reject your help when I am in need of it John. Well, not all the time anyway." The audible relieved exhale went unmentioned by both men, and if Sherlock had gasped when John unbelted him before lifting him up and out of the vehicle, that went unmentioned also. Jarvis' voice rang out not long after they had passed through the front door. "I was asked to deliver this message upon your arrival Mr. Watson." John chortled "Go ahead Jarvis I'm listening." he closed the door and walked into a large open plan sitting room and gently placed his charge on the 's distinctiv drawl rang out through the room. "Hey doc, We're off on the job, probably won't be there when you get back *muffled voices* Oh yeah Spangles here says I should mention that it'll be dangerous and injuries are likely, but not that likely I mean we're Earh's mightiest heroes so — Sorry about that John, Stark doesn't know when to shut up. We'll see you later ok?" the message ended with the woman's voice (Natasha, obviously) and John frowned.

"What?" Sherlock asked, puzzled. "I don't have to like the fact that they're throwing themselves in harms way" John replied as he swanned into the next room. "You wish you were with them don't you?" The clatter of a small box hitting the floor was all the answer Sherlock needed. "That's a yes then. Well. Don't fret, Once I am back on my feet we will be in plenty of trouble of our own." John came back carrying his first aid supplies and gave an affectionate eye roll. "Somehow I don't doubt that we'll get into all sorts of trouble. But not before you're fully healed. So… What do you do, Sherlock?" John asked from his kneeling position on the floor. Sherlock desperately ignored the light caress of his fingers running bandage across his ankle. "hrsgyckkvnlmnnm I'm a consulting detective. When people have a crime that needs solving or the police are out of their depths, which is always, they call me." John chuckled. "Of course they do, you bloody genius. What about family?"

Sherlock gave a groan, not from the slight pain of the local anesthetic he was getting but of annoyance at the thoughts of his family. "My brother Mycroft considers himself to be the government and secret service all piled into one. He is, of course." Sherlock scowled and John continued his stitching of a cut on Sherlock's wrist. "As the eldest he always said he was the smarter one but I don't believe that for a minute. He's fat and ginger and watches every move I make." A sticky bandage pressed over neat sutures. "Can you just take off your shirt? The cut on your chest is and your ribs are all that's left." Sherlock nodded and began unbuttoning, and he couldn't help but notice the azure orbs that tracked every centimeter of skin as it was exposed. The blood soaked garment fell to the floor and Sherlock was bare chested. John rifled through his supplies for one last antiseptic wipe and a reel of gauze. Steadying himself by wrapping one hand around Sherlock's waist, John dabbed at the long but relatively shallow cut with soft, soothing strokes and a hand at the small of his back was all Sherlock needed to make him move forwards, allowing John to stand and then insinuate himself behind him until he was sitting back to chest between John's thighs.

Carefully, John began to wrap his ribs up. "What about" the mellifluous voice almost whispered in his ear "girlfriends?" Shudders rushed from his neck to his legs. "Not really my area" quite possibly the largest understatement he'd ever uttered. "What about a boyfriend then?" "No." John's chest rumbled pleasantly against Sherlock's skin through his shirt. "Good, you're unattached, like me." The bandaging was finished, text book work, but tentative hands remained resting carefully along hip bones and Sherlock was damned if he was going to be the one to break that connection. This was absurd, his logical mind knew. He was a God for crying out loud, an extraterrestrial stranger that had been dumped at random and by pure chance John had been the one to come across him. And John… well. That was just the strangest part of all because who in their right mind took such care of a stranger, accepted their odd quirks, called them brilliant even, and then to top it all off had a romantic interest in Sherlock that was far from repulsive? Though he didn't believe in this sort of thing, it was abundantly apparent that John was the only person, in the entire universe it seemed, that was as suited to Sherlock as Sherlock was to him. Sherlock let out a noncommital hum and leaned into the embrace when the door flew open.

"Yoohoo John dear I've brought some tea up!" Sherlock's ears pricked up like a cat's and he stared open mouthed at the elderly woman walking through the door. "Mrs Hudson?!" he exclaimed as John moved out from behind him (He felt the loss rather keenly.) Mrs Hudson nearly dropped her tray when she saw him and had to sit down before she could say anything. "Sherlock what on Earth are you doing here? Dear me you look like you've been through the wars…" John began pouring tea when Mrs Hudson gasped. "We'll need a third cup won't we, I'll just fetch it now" Sherlock made to interrupt the poor woman but before he could get a word in edge ways John had grasped her hand fondly and pressed her back into her seat. "No, I'll get it. I don't want either of you to strain yourselves. Make sure he doesn't try fiddle with those bandages will you?" John requested with an exasperated smile, tilting his head in the direction of Sherlock's stray hand fraying the edges of his bandages. "Why do I get the feeling that I'll have to watch you 24/7?" The statement was laced with such genuine wonder that Sherlock couldn't help but stare at the retreating back of the human who had suddenly forced him to feel, and evidently felt in return. Mrs Hudson gave him a look "I can get the upstairs room ready, that is, if you'll be needing two." She remarked with a coy smile. Rose dusted his cheeks as he realised that he really, really hoped they didn't.

Chapter Text

Prompt 34: "Don't make people into heroes"

He had not been himself. Or, to clarify, he had not been the self he had tried for all these years to be. He was, at moment, returning his mind to normalcy and waiting for the information about what had happened to arrive. For about a week now, he'd been more like his university self. Twisted, coniving, self obsessed and above all an empath, for that alone was the way to survive the hellish eternity that was third level education. As with each occasion he attempted to stave it off, or at least be alone. These episodes fell on him in fits and spurts, and had been a recurring theme of his existence since his drug days, locking the man he'd grown to be away in his mind palace to watch any number of horrors unleashed by his own, personal brand of demon. He'd known, it had been too easy, too long he'd managed to keep all of that under lock and key, hiding his ultimate derangement from John, but now, now Moriarty was back, now Mary Morstan had fallen to the wayside and John had returned to him, the carefully oiled machine of his mind was taking over, for what purpose he couldn't say, but he knew one thing was certain. Lying on his bed with no memory as of yet, Sherlock Holmes knew he needed to remaster his transport.

Two days. That was the extent of time in which Not-Sherlock had stewed in their bedroom, brooding constantly over plans that were without fail obscured from Sherlock's view in the palace. The dungeon he'd erected at the age of six at the behest of his father were at least above ground level. It had still been soul crushingly dull, very much the epitome of his biggest fear at the time - that being confinement in a mental institution- the soft white walls and otherwise barren room were a torture, but only knowing what Not-Him had done after the events were long over was even more so. Sherlock shook his head and refocused, stretching his limbs as he headed down to the bottom floor of his palace. Designed much like a drug den he'd once frequented, the room was empty but for a solitary pair of shoes. Once, a long time ago, they'd belonged to a boy, Carl Powers, but here they housed Not-Sherlock's memories. All he had to do was put them on and he would know the damage. So he did.

Not-Sherlock opened his eyes, looked around the bedroom and smirked at it, but the smirk fell away when he heard John's call of "see you later" as he went to work. The lecherous grin that replaced it was terrifying to say the least, and cold eels of doubt seated themselves firmly in Sherlock's stomach as he watched two days of silence pass. Not good. In fairness, it had been so long since Not-Sherlock had been allowed to take the reigns and the data Sherlock now had would require an amount of reading. Still, two days was far too long for someone of their intelligence to explore the main body of the palace. Only if you went upstairs, to the very top, would you take so long, and then what up there- and the penny dropped.

Carefully stacked away were lists of "Things I know but will never say" and Not-Him had gone through them, probably all, which meant that aside from knowing that at one stage Mycroft had wondered what it would be like if they'd seen each other naked, and that Molly had once told him that his face was one she often thought of during sex while he'd drugged her (for science!), or that Lestrade had, back in his youth, been a male stripper. No, worse than all of that combined, Not-Sherlock knew that John harboured a deep affection for Sherlock, and was going to do something about that. Probably (statistically speaking) something horrifically unpleasant and potentially friendship destroying. Definitely he'd ruin any hopes that Sherlock had for John to show his cards and allow them to enter an intimate relationship, and finally be together properly. The eels slithered to make their displeasure known and Sherlock carried on past that, waiting to see what Not-Him had done.

Not-Sherlock crept to the kitchen and reached into the recesses of the drawer of supplies he had for experiments, pulling out a little blue powder and pouring it into the only jam they had - ensuring John would ingest it. Sherlock was starting to get a picture of where this was going, and the drugs that would make John a bit slow and easy to manipulate were giving him a picture he didn't want to see. Still, he had to know. John jogged up the stairs from work, and his eyes wrinkled with the sincerity of the smile he offered at seeing Sherlock out of his room. "You hungry?" John asked brightly and Sherlock watched as Not-Him snickered to himself before turning to John with a bored expression. "No." and then flew to the box of fingers on the table. As he'd predicted, John popped some bread in the toaster, and the kettle on before heading upstairs to take off his shoes and put on some more appropriate clothes to lounge about in. He arrived back downstairs with the precise timing of someone who had repeated this ritual many times before, and the toast was ready when he was. God, this was too easy. Sherlock had gotten too close to John clearly, because now Not-Him could (and had) access to all the vast stores of information he had on John and was using it to play him like a violin. Within a matter of seconds the contaminated jam was in John's mouth and Sherlock was frozen in anticipation of what was to come.

Twelve minutes and twenty four seconds. That was all the time it took for the drug to take effect, and once it did the affect it had on John was so blatantly obvious. He flinched when John had blurrily asked if Sherlock had drugged him, his eyes well on their way to being rather unfocused as he stumbled across the room to his chair, a destination he didn't quite reach. Not-Sherlock was jubilant, but coldly so, and the hunger splashed across his features was something that terrified Sherlock, that look had turned him off of people and relationships for fear of what he might do, no matter how much he might want them. Not-Sherlock slunk towards John, who (God don't) looked up at him as if he thought he would help him to get off the ground. Trusting. Has trust issues. Trusts (Potential alteration: Trusted.) Sherlock even when vulnerable. Save to hard drive. Too many seconds passed for that look to remain, and still Not-Sherlock loomed over John's pyjama clad form like a hunter over his prize.

"Sh'lck... what..." John blinked dopily and Not-Sherlock grinned, beginning to unbutton his shirt. Barechested and snarling he pushed John to the ground, popping the buttons of his pyjama top with one hand and holding him down with the other. The dawning realisation in John's body of what was happening was something awful, and when he desperately tried to fight, struggling for all his doped up body was worth, Sherlock almost couldn't bear to see what was coming next. Thud - John's head hitting the ground after a brutal left hook, Pop- his shoulder (the right one, small though that mercy seemed) being torn from the socket with a smile, Slap - the hand that crossed his face and then shoved a shirt into his mouth, quieting his yelps of pain. Again and again, the sound of John's beating went on until he lay limp yet awake on the ground and then, only then, did Not-Sherlock take off his trousers to display just how much of an effect the display had made on him.

John's hands did not even twitch when his bottoms came off and only groaned in muffled agony when he was rolled gracelessly onto his stomach. With only spit as a barrier to soften the experience, John cried out around his gag as two long fingers breached him and invaded him mercilessly. Jesus he's physically salivating, Sherlock thought to himself as he watched this caveman style preparation from the gaps between his fingers. Too soon for John to be fully ready (But there was never going to be a perfect moment to rape your friend) Not-Sherlock sheathed himself in John and God the whimper that came from John's mouth was the worst noise Sherlock had ever heard, and he'd heard some terrible things. The pace was punishing, and what could have been (should have been, would have been?) a symphony of skin on skin that Sherlock would have treasured, was like every slap of their bodies was a punch to the gut. He could only imagine (block thought) what this was like for John. The stimulation was causing the obvious physiological reaction, but whatever John was saying sounded vaguely like a mix of desire, pain and disgust, there was no way to hear it around the shirt and Sherlock was glad. He was tentatively thankful that John was on his stomach so at least a shred of his dignity remained his own, but that changed very little when he rather unwillingly came, going limper still and making Not-Sherlock even wilder, grasping his waist with both hands and grinding down so John was smeared in his own come while getting fucked like a dog takes a bitch.

Sherlock carefully stepped out of the trainers and opened his eyes, finding himself back in the now. He hadn't really needed to see more, "I said don't make people into heroes didn't I?" the low croon of it into John's ear was enough to make him want to tear the shoes off, his ears off. The only real question was just how long it had been since he'd (not you Sherlock not you) done this unforgivable thing. Could he leave the flat without John knowing? Was he even still here? The contrast between Sherlock now and this other man was so great it was hard for him to believe they could coexist in his one body, especially now that the acts of violence he committed while locked in his own mind were so devastating in their affects. Perhaps mother had been right in thinking a mental institution was the place for him. He didn't want to hurt anyone.

As silently as he could, Sherlock opened his bedroom door and crept out, stealing glances around the flat as he tiptoed towards the front door. Unfortunately, lying in his path was a very familiar man. Bruised and battered beyond belief, John was laying fully nude on his back, displaying the destruction of his body that Sherlock had carried out. Eyes shut, it wasn't unfeasible to think him dead, but for the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest. Bile rose in Sherlock's throat as he saw a little river of blood dryed on the skin of John's thighs, and he turned quickly, flying to the bin to empty his stomach into it.

"Sherlock" three knocks and the clack of an umbrella. Mycroft. "Sherlock I am here, I can help you brother." The man sobbed "I'm not safe to be around them." "Who?"Mycroft asked, still outside the door he could have opened. "People Mycroft. I'm begging you. Put me away, please, I don't... I don't want to hurt them. I'm not safe for them. For him. God look at... Please." The door opened and the ragged intake if breath was almost as shocking as seeing Mycroft smile would have been. "Ok little brother, ok." Mycroft's fingers flew across the face if his phone and then through Sherlock's curls as he sobbed,

and sobbed

and sobbed.

Chapter Text

Prompt 35: Fuse

"You COCK Sherlock Holmes!" John yelled from the other side of the carriage. Sherlock chuckled from his place on the floor "You say such sweet things to me John, tell me, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" He knew he was off the hook when John's furious face gave way to relentless laughter. He blinked up at him, and John squirmed internally at the look he was giving him, as if he'd just seen him for the first time, as if he wanted to be ravished presently, across the seats John if you please. John blushed at the thought and turned to see torch beams heading in their direction. "And you called the police." He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Sherlock Holmes was alive and as annoying as ever and John couldn't have been more pleased to have the arsehole back.

Sherlock couldn't believe it. John's fuse was unlimited it seemed, and the fondness in his smile... he was too good and Sherlock had been blind, he'd observed but not seen and now he looked, it was more obvious than a slice of cake on Mycroft's waist. He could never have done anything to deserve this man, but by some twist of fate they'd been thrust together and slowly, like a diamond forming, he'd fallen for him with every part of himself. Sure, he'd known objectively that John must be attractive, the constant stream of women on his tail seemed to suggest that, but staring up at him now from the floor of the tube, Sherlock could see him, and his strong thighs made for the chase, and his hands that had saved and taken lives, for himself and Sherlock too, and his ruggedly handsome face, and the blonde hair that he wanted to see rumpled by his hand, and he wanted him. He flicked his eyes to the side at the line of seats... no Sherlock he admonished himself. John doesn't even know. The arrival of the police was a damper to that train of thought anyway, but he couldn't stop his mind from wondering what John looked like, truly looked like, beneath all those layers of hideously baggy (wonderfully John) jumpers. As it happened, he would find out sooner than he thought.

The next day, sitting writing a backlog of reports up in Lestrade's office on pain of having his scarf burned as John shoved him out the door (an empty threat but still) Sherlock could feel the tension in the room behind him rise quite suddenly, making the air thick and heavy, and he felt eyes shooting back to look at him. Ready for whatever sort of verbal barbs would be thrown at him he strode out into the office proper and over to the gang of officers gathered around Sally's desk. Pushing his way to the front, it was impossible to ignore the giggles and whispers that were directed towards him. He made it to the front of the crowd and very quickly understood all the giggles and blushed faces. In her hands, Donovan held a seven year old Men of the armed forces calendar, open for all to see at June. And, photographed with the heading "Mr June' was John. His eyes widened as he took in the full image, showing a youthful, golden John leaning across the bonnet of a humvee truck in only two items: his dogtags and a pair of skin tight camouflage underpants, surrounded by a thin backdrop of white sand, his body and the car the only colour breaking through. Sherlock nearly choked on his tongue when he focused on any one part, the cerulean pop of his eyes and casual smirk looked as if John was staring at you through the pages, his torso was a dream of washboard abs, and his single bent leg splayed open for emphasis of the crowning glory of the entire thing, the camouflage outline of an impressive cock that appeared to not even have reached it's full length. "Christ." he exhaled and for once Donovan had nothing to say, she simply nodded in agreement and stared at the photo in her arms.

"I can't believe he's hiding all that from the world, I mean, I'd give him a go and I don't swing that way!" Dimmock said in awe from his left and Sherlock felt his stomach clench. There was a chorus of agreements, "I mean I love my husband but... he's no Watson." "He was in the army too... dya think he likes to like, give orders in bed? because I am so up for that" "I wonder if he still has those pants? Maybe he wears them sometimes, underneath his clothes, and none of us would know!" Sherlock's head was buzzing with all of these new (intriguing) hypotheticals. He had never been in John's underwear drawer and John did their laundry so the pants could truly be in their flat, and as for any predilection for taking charge of a sexual partner... well didn't that just make his blood effervese.

Lestrade strolled in and did a double take, foregoing his customary greeting in favour of gaping at Mr June. "Bloody hell is that John?" he asked as the crowd parted to let him through. "It would appear so." Sherlock managed to speak without really thinking about it. He turned to Lestrade and frowned as the man licked his lips and stared at the seething mass of dilated pupils surrounding him. "We should... eh... we should probably not keep looking at this. John would be upset... probably." Sherlock said, but no one tore their attention away, if anything that was like turning up the heating and it felt as though some sort of orgy was likely to break out in the middle of the room. Eventually, however, a lightly flushed Lestrade dispersed the crowd and herded Sherlock back to the reports in his office.

Only a couple of minutes passed in relative quiet before Lestrade looked up at him. "Sorry but I don't get it." Sherlock smirked "That's not much of a change." Lestrade rolled his eyes and put the back of his pen between his teeth. "I mean, I know you say that you're married to your work or whatever, but I always kind of assumed... you and John... you know... because you look at him... and he kinda seems... but... no?" A beat of silence. Sherlock sighed through his teeth."Unfortunately not. I was just as... surprised as the rest by that calendar. He's very conservative at home, I've never even seen him shirtless, say nothing of trouserless." Sherlock frowned and continued writing.

Once he'd returned from his... time away... He'd become rather close to Lestrade as a friend - probably because he'd realised that loath though he'd been to admit it, the DI was rather important to him, and quite understanding of things that didn't involve the work. When it came to that he was still a bit of an imbecile. Still, it was... good... to have a confidant outside of John to talk to about topics that he couldn't with his best friend. Like, for example the fact that he wanted to shag him senseless. The fact that Lestrade had always had an inkling that that was the case helped too."Cor, I'd not turn my nose up myself. Those pants. I bloody hope they're some sort of magic ones because if not he'd just make the rest of us look bad!" Sherlock clicked his tongue and grinned "Speak for yourself Lestrade." They chuckled and Sherlock dodged the pen the pen that flew towards him. "Cheeky Git. I won't be able to get that out of my head for a while now, I tell you that for free." Sherlock hummed in agreement and checked his watch. If he hurried, he'd finish before dinner. A few hours later both men's ears pricked up at a stage whisper from sergeant Clarke informing her colleagues that John was on his way up, and saying something that sounded awfully similar to "wait till he sees." Oh dear. Sherlock scrambled to catch him before he made it to them.

John had been more than happy to oust Sherlock from the flat that morning because he needed time to get his head together again and to be honest the detective's presence wasn't exactly conducive to rational thought at the moment. Aside from anything else, Sherlock would have seen through him instantly had he tried to sort through all of this with him around, so it seemed like a stroke of luck that Lestrade needed him to fill in a stack of reports. Before he did any soul searching he made himself a cup of tea, because tea, it's widely known, cures all ills.

Last night. That was really the place to start seeing as he'd been thinking about it ever since. He'd actually considered stepping into Sherlock's space and kissing the arrogant sod speechless, and while he'd been pretty sure about his sexuality until now, his mind, contrary to what he'd have expected, was totally on board with that plan. Still was in truth. He didn't have a problem with being gay or anything, but he really wasn't sure if that was what this was. It could have been the culmination of a stressful situation, an explosion of tension between the only two people there? He looked back over the past three years he'd known Sherlock, and the two he'd spent mourning him (he'd grown a mourn-stache for Let's sake) and quickly came to the realisation that perhaps his feelings for Sherlock had been growing all the time, he'd just kind of ignored them, and then of course there was the whole dead thing, so really, it wasn't exactly his fault that he'd not discovered them before.

Now that he knew though he had to do something. He was Captain John Watson, a man of action, and if the looks Sherlock gave him and had been giving him were any indication he definitely had a shot. "I'll tell him then. Best suit up for that." John said to himself and he hopped into the shower. Stepping into his bedroom wrapped in a towel he rifled through his drawers for his "Yes you fucking want me, lucky you" underwear and pulled them on, before giving himself a proud once over in the mirror. Despite what his attire suggested, he wasn't sagging or anything like that, quite the opposite. He was just as lean and toned as he had been when he'd been handed the camo-pants all those years ago, the only real differences from then were his bullet wound; a bright starburst of rose skin on his shoulder, and the number of tattoos he'd amassed. Sherlock wouldn't stand a chance.

Sherlock cursed as he ran straight into an intern, and watched as John walked purposefully in from the night, Sherlock tried to meet him half way and hope he didn't notice anything amiss but unfortunately for him John had improved his observational skills. "Er... Sherlock, why does half the Yard look like they want to eat me?" There was a wolf whistle from somewhere to the back and a scattering of laughter. Sherlock flushed as he imagined the reason and John turned to look at the officers and his eyebrows rose. Plastered across every computer screen was the photograph of Mr. June. John turned back to Sherlock with a teasing grin. "You've seen that then I take it?" Sherlock cleared his throat and nodded, not trusting his voice. John grinned lazily. "If that blush is anything to go by you liked what you saw... as did everyone else which is quite nice." He gestured to the room in general and there was a little cheer. Lestrade stepped out of his office and froze when he saw John, who shook his head, amused. "Right. I think the best way to clear the air so to speak is to- you won't arrest me will you?" John asked and Lestrade frowned slightly but shook his head apprehensively, and everyone looked confused. John toed off his shoes and socks in one go and pulled his shirt up and over his head, and stepped out of his trousers to reveal the pants and the room exploded with appreciative cheers and whistles.

"So." John addressed the room. "As you can see, that's not exactly an inaccurate representation of me, and it's just a coincidence that I picked these underpants tonight, but I'll just clarify that for you all." John inclined his head to the photo, not noticing the way Sherlock was shifting in his trousers, or Lestrade doing something similar. "The calendar was for charity so we could make sure the children who'd become orphans in Afghanistan could have a home after theirs were destroyed. I don't regret it, but I would appreciate it if you'd not keep it as your screensavers, because I was just doing my job - protecting those people who needed me in any way I could. I'm proud of how I look, but I don't want people to only see that, I want relationships that mean something. Which" he finally turned to Sherlock "was what I was here to talk about in the first place. So I'm going to get dressed now... thanks for uh... listening?" In the blink of an eye he was dressed (a seldom needed skill also left from his army days) and smiling softly at Sherlock who was still frozen on the spot.

"Basically Sherlock the thing is that I think I like you, in a "Let's go home and see what's under your clothes" way but also in a "I might be in love with you and it's making me a bit reckless to be honest"way too. Sorry I get rambley when I'm nervous, and it's dawning on me how odd that statement sounds because I just stripped off in front of an office full of people we know without batting an eye and now you're still just kind of standing there, so I'm going to go home but if you can move in the next ten seconds we could go together because I really would like to see what your skin tastes like, and I could explain the whole 'tattoo of your name across a skull on my arm' thing away from all of them. There are some things they don't get to see. Besides" John moved in, breathing hotly onto Sherlock's neck "You're the only one I want to see under the camouflage." Sherlock took a ragged breath and the look in his eyes was fire hot as he grabbed John's hand and yelled for a cab.

Chapter Text

Prompt 36: Torture

Yes. Anything for you John. Of course he'd said yes, for what else could he have said? "I can't come to your wedding and I can't be your best man because it makes every cell of my being wither to think of you not being mine?" That would have been unfair on John, and Sherlock, for all the depth of his emotions towards the unassuming doctor, just wanted him to be happy. He deserved so much more than Sherlock could give. All he could offer was everything he was, and that, he knew, could never be enough. For anyone. Mary, well she was wonderful, perfect, exactly the type of woman he'd had nightmares about for a long time when thinking of how he could lose John, and the nightmares had manifested perfectly in her. She was funny and of above average intelligence, and to top it off she liked Sherlock. She was exactly what John wanted, and Sherlock couldn't fault him for that.

He couldn't sleep, couldn't even think about eating, even lying on the couch was a dagger to the throat, so much so that Sherlock had actually had to move John's armchair just so he wouldn't have to look at it, think of it, him, them. At night his brain presented him with vivid imaginings of exactly what John was doing, sometimes it was something so simple, like reading the paper, and other times it was much more destructive, like John getting ready for bed and wrapping himself around Mary. He'd loved John for so long, he'd forgotten what life was like without him in it and it hurt. It hurt more than anything he'd experienced, just breathing in and knowing that John's scent was fading away, that every moment Sherlock spent thinking of John was probably not even a concern to him... he could taste it in his mouth, burning his throat. It'd been a month. One month without so much as a text and he knew, he did, just how pathetic that made him seem, but God every single time that phone buzzed he hoped with every cell of his body that it was John on the line. It never was.

He'd called Lestrade that first day under the pretence of needing help to write a speech. What he really needed was a reason, any reason at all not to pick up a needle again, and a witness was as good as any. John would have been disappointed if he had relapsed, but the void he had left in his wake was vast and all consuming, and anything that could numb everything for just a second would be a mercy. Could his feelings really have been hidden so well from John, or did he truly just not care at all for Sherlock? The way he felt, that he had allowed himself to feel, had meant going back on decades of conditioning and while a big part of him regretted that decision, he was so grateful for how it had made him appreciate every nuance of John, and finally shown him that love, while a dark and twisted vicious motivator that was slowly killing him, could also be a quiet light in the window of the flat at 3am, or a cup of tea gently nudged into his hand with a smile, a shared blanket while watching a movie, the comfortable points of contact between their thighs on the taxi journey home. He hadn't known that love could be a warm thing, a smile on his face as he went to bed each night and still there when he woke. He loved with as much focus and diligence as he worked, and he would love John until his wasted heart shriveled away, unwanted and unused in his own hand, waiting for John to look back and see it being given to him. Yes John, anything for you.

The day of the wedding crept up on Sherlock like a vine until it was noosed around his neck and the car was pulling up to the drive of the church. John hadn't told him where they were to meet, but he assumed the altar was the place, and strode straight through the church to stand there, still as any statue you could see, waiting for John (Always, always waiting for John). The doctor arrived next to him with a massive smile on his face, and an excited flush spreading across his cheeks. "Sherlock! I feel like I haven't seen you in an age." You haven't. "You've been busy." Sherlock turned away from the blue eyes that he'd so missed and looked at the gathered congregation. "So have you, Greg told me about all those cases you're solving just from the photos. God I'm starting to shake a bit now, it's almost time. How do I look?" Sherlock looked the man he would die for up and down and smiled a cracked smile "Like a man about to live the happiest moment of his life." He did, he did. The organ started to play a song that sounded like a death march to Sherlock and Mary began her procession. It hurts, when they say I do.

The reception begins and he is jittery, the speech he'd written was borderline, it had taken so long to find the right words to say everything without giving himself away, and the fine line had been carefully crossed to have the least effect, still when he stood to begin with everyone staring up at him, he was scared. Scared that they'd see through him, scared that John would reject it all quietly with a dismissive "Oh Sherlock" laugh. When he got to the final paragraph he wondered if John could hear him. "Know that you are sitting between the two people who love you most in all the world, and we have a lifetime to prove that to you." People were dabbing their eyes and he frowned, not quite the reaction he'd expected. "Did I do it wrong?" he asked himself aloud, but to his utter surprise John replied "You did it exactly right" and stood up, wrapping Sherlock in his arms. Sherlock froze, taking in everything from the familiar scent of his hair that he'd missed to the feel of having their bodies together finally. It was over too soon. For John, Sherlock put on his happiest face, and interacted with everyone as if he was happy for the newlyweds.

Molly though, sweet, intelligent little Molly knew better. "I wore yellow for luck, apparently it's nice for weddings because of that but I wore it for you because... because you look sad when he can't see you and you're thinner now than I've ever seen you, and I know heart ache when I see it. You can do this Sherlock Holmes." For her, just because she knew him almost as well as John (not really, there was no comparison) he dropped the façade, showing how tired he was, the bags under his eyes, his gaunt cheeks, his dead eyes. "Does it go away? This... I don't think I can live like this." he asked, staring at John's retreating back as the tables began to be cleared away. She gave him a weak smile. "Usually? Yes. For you... I don't know Sherlock but I get the feeling it's going to be a while..." Sherlock nodded, grateful for the absence of platitudes. "I composed a piece to perform for hi-them. I don't think he'll even hear it. Look" Sherlock pointed to John, standing with Mary's hand in his "See how he looks at her, like she's all he wants to see for the rest of his life. He won't hear a note, not anymore." Molly's hand slipped into his and she gave a watery smile. "If nothing else, I'll hear. I'll hear every word you play for him." He squeezed the soft hand in his and walked up to take his spot behind the music stand. The floor cleared until it was only the Watson's standing in each others embrace, waiting for him to start.

Every second of silence was torture, another coin in his fountain of melancholy, and then he began to play, squeezing those first notes out, weaving the story of himself, alone and unsure of what his life would be, and then changing as a second set of notes came along and changed the pace, not quite on the same page at first, but suddenly they were and the music swelled, sweet and warm and hopeful, flowing to passionate and full, finally he'd seen everything his future could be with John by his side, and it was beautiful, but a note of discord slithered into the music and it became darker, and two suddenly became one, lonely and aching and raw, desperate for the other half of the tune to return, but knowing it wouldn't. The final note rang through the hall and the crowd that had watched a young couple's first dance applauded and smiled and laughed.

Had he looked, Sherlock would have seen the shaking hand Molly held over her mouth as tears ran down her face, and the pitying look Mrs Hudson was shooting his way, but he had eyes for only one, and that one had heard nothing, for every note was an I love you, and every rest a call to come home.

Sherlock sealed the melody into an envelope and left it on the stand, a gift, a goodbye. Leaving, he spared John one last look, drinking him in. Yes, anything for you John, anything at all.

Chapter Text

Prompt 37: Exhausted

John was, he was certain, exhausted. Three cases back to back, barely four meals over the past two and half weeks, next to no sleep, he was genuinely astounded that he was still able to stand let alone apprehend criminals. Sherlock of course showed no signs of even being ruffled, and he'd only been eating what John had time to put in his hands. John was growing a beard at this stage, and as soon as the third case wrapped, he made a decision.
"That's it. We're taking a holiday. Tomorrow, wherever you want to go, but we're taking a bloody break." Sherlock nearly collapsed on the couch when they closed the door of the flat "Ok John. I'm feeling run down myself, perhaps a holiday is what we need. Nowhere too out of the way, preferably foreign. Pick, pack, we'll go." Clearly Sherlock was more affected than he let on, and while it was good that he felt he could show John he was vulnerable, fallible, if he'd known then John would have protested that last call out more. The lack of argument would have been cause to go in and of itself so John, after a shower, shave, tea and dinner, sat down and texted Mycroft who sent a courier with two tickets to some place he couldn't name and fully stocked suitcases. He'd flopped into bed shortly after closing the door.

Sherlock had risen to eat last night and that was it, he slept like the dead until John woke him the next morning to get the taxi to the airport. Boarding the plane, Sherlock was like a sleepy toddler, shepherded by John through the airport and into their seats on a private plane, where, like a child, he curled up and slept, taking John's hand in his own while unconscious. John's thumb ran across his knuckles, soothing, as the plane brought them ever closer to respite.

Sherlock was his best friend, the best he'd ever had, and their relationship was something most people mistook for something more than platonic daily. If John were honest, which he was now, he'd say that he could see why. He loved Sherlock, wanted to spend the rest of his life with him, would do anything for him, and at this stage he could definitely see them in a romantic, intimate relationship. If Sherlock wanted that, John would be more than eager to provide, but if he didn't, that would be ok too, as long as they were together. The flight was long, and John too took the opportunity to sleep for a while, waking at hourly intervals to make sure Sherlock was still ok, a habit he'd acquired in the army during action that had translated right across to dangerous cases. The plane landed, and loathe though he was to do it, John shook Sherlock awake gently and smiled at the bleary look he gave him.

"Come on, we've landed." he said softly, picking up their hand luggage and standing as the stairs were lowered. Sherlock yawned and rubbed his eyes, following John so closely John could feel his breath warm against his neck.

"We hope you enjoy your stay on the island sirs, and we'll be back in two weeks time to pick you up at the request of the elder Mr Holmes. The house is fully stocked and their will be no interruptions as this island is entirely private." The flight attendant grinned at the drop of John's jaw and escorted them outside, into a beautiful rainforest setting with tiny hummingbirds darting around and bright sunlight shining overhead. "Accommodation is on the south side of the island and the keys to the safari car" she pointed to a dark green, open topped land rover a little way down the runway "are in the glove box. There's only one road so there should be no trouble getting around, and a detailed map of the island is available at the house." Sherlock was already slumping against him, so John quickly thanked the woman (Jessica) and lay him across the backseat to rest before zipping off into the undergrowth.

The road was unbelievably flat, and driving the car was a dream, the warm sun at his back, breeze drifting through the air, a proper rest was sure to follow. If John had thought for a moment that Sherlock was this tired he'd never have allowed the third case, he couldn't believe that Sherlock was passing out pretty much any time his head could be supported. Pulling up to the house, John shook his head with an exasperated smile. It was beautiful of course, a stylish villa complete with columns and what looked like an indoor garden. Looking back at Sherlock's sleeping form John decided the best thing to do would be to carry him in and just get him to bed. John lifted him like he weighed nothing, and carried him as if he was a priceless piece of pottery inside and into the first bedroom he came across (which looked suspiciously like it had been prepared for them) and lowered him fluidly onto one of two double beds. He was gorgeous of course, and John took the opportunity to simply push some stray curls off his forehead, a caress the unconscious Sherlock leaned into. "I am so done for" John groaned, leaning back against the bedroom door after he'd closed it "Completely and utterly buggered." He shook his head clear of both tiredness and the fuzz left across it from having Sherlock curled against him and went downstairs to make dinner and tea.

Two steaks cooked to perfection and a side of garlic potatoes with green beans had John salivating as he worked. The table was set and everything complete before he went to get Sherlock up. Time difference being what it was they were technically only having lunch now and Sherlock was sleeping away hours they'd already had. John walked in and called Sherlock's name to no avail, so he went to his bedside and clasped his shoulder, rocking him gently and marvelling as verdigris eyes fluttered opened at his touch and a smile etched it's way across a sleep eased face. "It's lunchtime and you haven't eaten in a while so, there's a plate for you on the table anyway if you feel up to it." Sherlock blinked and looked around, settling up on his elbows to get a better look at his surroundings. "I'd ask how I got here, but based on the fibre that matches your jumper that I left on the pillow I'd say you...carried me in. That's sufficiently embarrassing to start this holiday off. Sorry about that." John couldn't help but smile at the little blush on his cheeks. "It was my pleasure, and this steak will be too if you come out and eat it with me. I'll see you in there." He slipped out as Sherlock stretched long and lean across the bed.

Can't believe I just said that he thought to himself as he sat down at the table and began to eat. Sleep could wait until the sun had gone down, he was used to little rest and last night had refreshed him enough to make it through the day, if somewhat drowsily. Sherlock arrived and plonked himself into the chair across from John's with a sleepy smile and began to eat. It was these easy domestic moments where neither had to say a word, and both would be assured of the other's contentment that made their relationship so remarkable. It was nice to feel well fed again, he had to admit. Sherlock sat and watched as John began to clear up the kitchen, staring at him like he was the only interesting thing on the island. John was sure he was just thinking and looking at nothing, or perhaps he kept walking into the line of sight Sherlock was on.

The light began to turn rose, and John smiled out at the view of beams of sunlight through the trees and bushes. A glimmer of blue twinkled in the gaps between trees and John knew what he wanted to do tonight. "I
think I'll head to the seafront, watch the sun go down, stargaze. Feel free to join me if you feel up to it." Sherlock didn't respond and John simply walked outside, breathing in the balmy citrus air and following the dust trail to the shore.

When he broke the treeline a vast expanse of white sand with water lapping quietly greeted him and he stripped off socks and shoes, leaving himself in shorts and a top to stand at the point where the waves (blissfully warm) would break with a whisper against the skin of his feet. It was wondrous, and as the sun lit diamonds across the water John closed his eyes and took everything in, this moment being one he would recall for years afterwards when life became too stressful. He sat crosslegged on the sand next to his shoes and watched the egg yolk sun sinking to meet the horizon and painting the sky in the exact shades of pink and orange that reminded him of those old fruit salad sweets his dad used to sneak him.

There was a muffled thump and an unmistakable presence at his side. Sherlock was on his left, barely more than a couple of inches between them though he could have sat anywhere. "I... hm. You take an awful lot of care of me even though I'm apparently insufferable." Sherlock was watching the sun too, avoiding John's eye studiously. "Yeah well, I happen to be a fan of insufferable. You're my best friend, of course I take care of you, and you take care of me too - in your own way." John replied fondly, weaving ring patterns in the patch of sand between them. Sherlock froze and then turned to gape at John. "I'm your best friend?" John snorted at that. "Of course you are Sherlock, who else could possibly compete with you?" It might have just been the light but John could have sworn he saw the tips of Sherlock's ears flush as he dipped his head with a shy grin. "I've never been someone's best friend before." John shook his head and rolled his eyes "At this stage we might as well be married Sherlock, honestly, you've been my best friend for ages now." They fell silent then, Sherlock staring holes in the side of John's face as he watched the sky beginning to steal the diamonds from the sea.
"Do you mean that John?"
"Which bit?"
"All of it."
"Of course I do, I care about you over everyone else including myself,have done since that first case, and I can't envision a life for me that doesn't end exactly like this, the two of us together in some secluded place going grey - or in my case greyer."
"Oh."
Quiet again aside from the sounds of the sea and the cicada's song. "I'm not... good... at this sort of thing. I don't eh... don't usually see it until it's shoved under my nose... but you... you really do care about me that deeply. I... I don't know... I should say something right?" Sherlock babbled and John turned to him for just a moment, placing a finger over his lips, inwardly revelling at the small inhalation the move elicited.

He put his hand back in the sand and slowly Sherlock's own hand was moving to touch John's, bit by bit until nervous fingers were slotted between his own, pale white in dusky gold. They sat like that, hand in hand and silent staring up at the sky until it was fully dark. They'd have to talk this through, both men knew that obviously, but right now, the gentle pressure between their hands and the sky full of stars was enough. It seemed as if they had both been tired in more ways than one.

A/n Yeah I know it's not my best work but it's kinda all that was happening so whatevs

Chapter Text

Prompt 38: Rhythm

The low hum of buzzing had become so normal to them both that they had all but tuned it out at this stage. Then again, it might have been an indication that they were getting old and deaf in their later years. Of course the great Sherlock Holmes would never age in his mind, but his transport had betrayed him once more, showing the marks of his near eight decades of life in his still full head of suave silver curls and little trenches etched across his face. The detective was whirling about the sitting room with his violin the same way he had been when John had first gotten to know him. John himself was in the kitchen puttering about making tea, the familiar rhythm of what John had come to call 'Breakfast time sonata 4' serenading him as he worked.

Sometimes, even after all the years they'd lived together in Sussex, John would wake up ready to rip through the streets of London on the tail of a vicious killer, wondering if Mrs Hudson would like to join them for lunch though her death had been the a major catalyst in their moving plans years earlier, and Sherlock often felt the same way. Not that they had retired completely, after all that would have been impossible for both of them but these days it really was more of a consulting position than an active participant in the crime scene shenanigans. Inside they would be young forever, but when your lungs begin to give out after a few miles of walking it tends to indicate that maybe retirement was the best way to go.

Truly it was for the best, they were constantly teetering on the fine line between life and death, and it was better to take the next exit off that particular road to ruin before they reached a dead end - quite literally. Their apiary had been Sherlock's idea, a countryside haven of lavender, lilac, heather, and honey. John had discovered unprecedented green fingers when they'd arrived to the cottage and took great pleasure in tending the flowers and trees while Sherlock worked with the bees. A day never truly felt the same if he hadn't spent time in the flowerbeds or among the trees, glimpses of Sherlock flashing past him dressed all in white and net, the two of them coexisting with nature and each other, even after all this time.

At many points in their friendship John had tried contemplating why he hadn't moved on, found that one special someone, built up a life with them and all that stuff, but everything wound back down to the simple fact that as long as he had Sherlock at his side he didn't need anything or anyone else. He loved him, of course he did. That was fine. It was all fine. Sherlock didn't know or if he did he didn't reciprocate, hadn't made their friendship any different because of it which was a mercy. John didn't know what he'd have done if he lost Sherlock again. After breakfast John was straight up and out in the garden, the summer afternoon sun gave the fields of flowers a purple hazy glow that he couldn't get enough of, not to mention this was one of the best days for pollinating them which meant bees, which meant Sherlock would be coming outside to see what variety of bees were there, take data about all sorts of things, and talk to John the entire time. It was exactly as he'd imagined their lives would be, two old men content together for the rest of their days. The afternoon rolled around with the sun high in the sky and John opened the window to let Sherlock get some air since he wasn't coming outside. John was not quite prepared for the voice that interrupted his work. He hadn't known the dream rest of their days would be ending soon.

"John?" Sherlock called softly to him through the open window of the cottage, sitting now in his chair with his violin strings being plucked between his fingers. "John I'm not going to wake up in the morning." John frowned and looked up from his weeding. "What are you on about Sherlock?" Sherlock held his gaze with a sombre expression. "I am not going to wake up tomorrow John, nor any morning after that." John sputtered and stood up, eyes wide and terrified. "Of course you are! We have so much.. You have so much time left yet! You're Sherlock Holmes, young forever!" Sherlock's lip wavered just a fraction. "John." He was up and inside in moments, sliding to his knees on the ground in front of his best friend's chair. "You can't know that, tell me you're kidding Sherlock. Tell me it's just a trick. Please."

His lip quivered again. "I know the signs when I see them, and now I know them in myself. Its been coming on for a while now. I feel weak John, and I don't... I couldn't find a way to tell you until now." John was silent. Utterly and completely silent on the floor, Sherlock wouldn't have known if John had been breathing if he couldn't physically feel the chest expanding against his knees. "John I..." A gnarled hand rose to silence him. "How do you... how do you want to spend the rest of the day?" Sherlock hadn't expected that at all, he'd thought there'd be a lot more shouting at least. But that was John, still surprising even now, him half a century later. "I want to be alone I think..." John froze for half a second and Sherlock watched the strife cross his face before it disappeared into soldier John's stoic mask. He began to stand up and suddenly Sherlock understood. "No!" He reached out and grabbed John's wrist "I meant alone... together. I always mean you and I when I say alone." John sank back to the ground, and, just for a moment, they didn't have to pretend (as they were going to for the rest of the too short hours they had left ) that everything was going to be ok. The moment passed as all moments do and John was a soldier again. "What do you want to start with?"

As it turned out Sherlock wanted only two things: Baker street, and John at his side. So John, ever the faithful companion, whirled about the cottage preparing various bits and pieces for the journey and for thei- his, return. Sherlock whirled about too, pulling on his customary suit and disappearing for a devasatating ten minutes only to return with a beautiful wooden chest in hand. He placed that gingerly in the centre of the kitchen table and then stood by the door, waiting for John to catch up.

The train journey was a quiet one, by some miracle they had a carriage to themselves, and they entertained each other with shared memories of their adventures, Sherlock quick to correct if anything was even slightly off, John content to listen to every tangent the detective went on no matter the relevance. The train (their second of the day) pulled to a stop at the Baker Street station and the two men disembarked, John pulling his coat tighter as the evening was markedly colder than he had thought it would be. Perhaps it was just his imagination.

Looking around the familiar spot, very little had changed since the last time they had been in London, the only thing that had changed had been them. "Sherlock I-" John was quaking, his leg paining him more than it had in almost fifty years and suddenly everything was too much. Sherlock finally looked round and his hand shot out to steady the older man, the warmth of it penetrating through layers of coat and jumper until it felt as if they were skin to skin. "Not yet John, we're almost there." John steeled himself and nodded, and they stepped out into fading sunlight side by side, partners to the last.

221 Baker Street stood towering above them, it's shadow sprawling across half the street, the emptiness of it quite obvious. "How do we plan on getting in? I don't have my key and I'm sure the locks have been changed by now- Sherlock! We're in broad daylight you can't just-" Sherlock glared and shushed back at him while his hands continued to pick the lock. "I'm surprised at you John, Where's your sense of adventure gone to?" John rolled his eyes and smiled exasperatedly. "Just hurry up and get us inside will you? Prat" he added fondly, and even from behind he could see Sherlock's face wrinkle up into a smile. His own smile was faltering,faltering, faltering, because each little thing they did would be the last time they did anything at all together, each stupid joke that made both of them laugh might be (would be John, do you doubt me? a voice that sounded uncannily like Sherlock asked in his head) the last, The last time he'd get to look at those wonderous curls, The last time he'd see that crooked grin... the last chance he had to say-. The lock clicked and the door swung open, Sherlock grinning triumphantly as he swooped inside and John raced after him.

They stopped on the landing of 221B and stared at the door in silence for a while before Sherlock opened that too and they walked somberly inside. A layer of dust covered the mostly empty apartment, obscuring a few of the shallower bullet holes and burn marks. John was still in the foyer, zoned out, while Sherlock paced the living room, what had been the living room, his hands reaching up to touch the faded yellow of a graffiti smily face. It was dark already, and they hadn't had the foresight to bring candles or torches or really anything much useful seeing as the electricity was obviously not going to still be running. Still, hindsight wasn't much use to them. Eventually they simply lay down on the floor.

"What am I going to do without you?" John asked, his voice cracking. "We were supposed to have so much more time! I don't... Christ I miss you already Sherlock and you're right next to me." Sherlock swallowed the lump in his throat and said nothing, but his long hand reached out and fell on top of John's. The message was clear- I'm still here."Sherlock..." Some movement then and Sherlock's eyes could pick out the pinpricks of light in John's as he turned to face him. "Why are we here?" He was thankful John had, for once, asked the right question.

"Because" Sherlock smiled wetly, "This is where it all started, you and I. I was so alone John, and then, there you were, and I couldn't have even imagined someone better suited to be my first friend. We have been through so much together, Moriarty, Magnussen, the list goes on, all of it from right here. I couldn't have done it without you, and I wouldn't change a moment of it for all the cases in the world. John I... I know I said I was married to my work, but that isn't quite true anymore. You must know, surely you must know." John's hand curled tightly around Sherlock's, little drops of warm tears trickling down their joined thumbs. "I know. I have loved you and will love you for as long as you let me."

Slowly, the pace seemed so utterly glacial, their faces moved closer and closer together until both could taste the salty brine of tears in the air, and John's lips were on Sherlock's, warm and supple and inviting, as if they'd been waiting for this all this time. He tasted of tea and toast and all the comforts of home and Sherlock was so grateful that he had gotten to experience a first kiss, and a last kiss with John before he'd missed his chance. They broke apart and John's thumb, solid and steady, brushed across his cheek. "I think, love, it's time to go to sleep." Tears streamed steadily down Sherlock's cheeks. "I don't want to go." John's head fell to rest against Sherlock's chest, listening to the steady beat of his heart. "I know, I don't want you to go either, don't worry, I'll be with you the whole time. Sleep. I'm here." Slowly but surely, both men nodded off, the steady thud of two hearts falling into rhythm as their lullaby.

Morning broke and two officers tread softly across the landing of 221, a call about two men being seen breaking into an apartment had fallen on them. The door of 221B was ajar, and the more senior of the two went first, pushing the door open just enough for the two of them to squeeze through. "Kal, ring for an ambulance!" he called when he entered the living room to find two old men curled up on the floor, entwined inside the taller one's coat, cold, dead, with small smiles on both of their faces.

Chapter Text

Prompt 39: Shirt
A/N A little lemon for y'all to break up the hiatus a bit!

After the incident with Mary, John had turned up outside Sherlock's door, suitcase in hand with a sheepish look on his face. Sherlock had stood in the doorway in a shocked silence - John must have changed his mind since the last time they saw each other because at that point he'd been set on hashing things out with her - and John had simply waited awkwardly for him to say something. Which he didn't. "I um... I don't have a key so I knocked and I wasn't sure you were here... Can I... That is... would you mind if I... you don't have to say yes of course but I just thought that maybe we could be flatmates again. Here. Mary and I aren't going to work out. I asked Mycroft if he could send our divorce papers through the quickest channels and he actually did it which I was quite shocked at, you know Mycroft, only really does the cloak and dagger sort of thing but he seemed eager to help. Off topic. Can I come home?" John continued to babble as Sherlock stood there in the stoop, just staring at him. They hadn't been back to being friends when Sherlock had unmasked Mary, in fact they hadn't spoken since, a reality that had caused ructions in his mind palace and his life in general. Admit it though he never would, he had missed John like nothing else for two years, and was still missing him now. The introspection only stopped when John asked to come home. Baker street was their home, and that lit something in Sherlock that had long since been extinguished.

"Of course you can John. I- Mrs Hudson has been missing you terribly, she's been forcing her inspid television programs on me, it's been torture." John heard the slip and smiled that little half mouth smile he had "I've missed you too, and Mrs Hudson of course. Can I come in or are we going to give the neighbours something else to talk about?" Sherlock started and moved back into the hall and John slipped in behind him. Despite the enormous capacity of his mind, Sherlock couldn't quite get over the fact that John was there, really actually there to stay.

Living alone again had been awful, constantly forgetting that he was alone and talking to a John that wasn't there had taken its toll each time it happened, but in his mind the punishment was one he deserved. He'd let John down time and again and this last betrayal had been two years long. He deserved to be alone.

John popped his suitcase down in the sitting room and grinned at the familiarity of the chaos; sheets and books scattered from wall to window, the harpoon stuck ostentatiously in the corner of a shelf, various jars and bearers littering the table next the the bunsen burner and just for kicks he opened the fridge. No food at all, just three human feet and a pig's head that had turned a startling shade of yellow. God had he missed this.

He'd loved Mary, he had, he'd loved going on dates that didn't end in kidnappings and taking trips to places like the planetarium and not being almost murdered by giant Eastern Europeans or picking up the phone and knowing that he'd hear a voice instead of a number of pips and an explosion. Really he had. It had been nice. But nice paled in comparison to his life with Sherlock, nice didn't even begin to cover it and when Sherlock had given him that one last miracle of being alive John realised so quickly that he didn't want nice. Nice was boring. He wanted the thrill of the chase, blood singing in his veins, just the two of them against the feet of the world. And then Mary had turned out to be someone else, something else entirely than what he'd thought, she'd shot Sherlock and murdered Magnussen. Sherlock had died for a minute on the operating table and she, whoever the hell she was, put him there. He didn't need any other reason to leave her than that.

Mycroft had been the biggest surprise of the affair (after A.G.R.A), when John asked for his help the man had seemed... relieved. Thrilled even behind his mask of company manners. John was unsurprised when he'd received the final word this morning that he was no longer married. It sickened him a little bit to find that such a relief. He had always considered himself a loyal man, but John was first to admit he'd made a bad decision putting that loyalty, that trust in Mary. He felt more badly for the way he'd treated Sherlock. Ignored and pushed away, hardly the treatment one gives their best friend, the person they love the most in the world. Still, he was home now and he was damned if he was leaving Sherlock again.

Sherlock inhaled softly as John walked by to inspect the kitchen. The smell was warming and cosy, a smell he'd come to associate with contentment and laughter, a scent he had yearned for the past two years and never been able to recreate. He couldn't describe it accurately to anyone who hadn't smelled it. It was warm and earthy, like a wood fire burning in the living room in the winter, with subtle notes of sweet marmalade and gun oil and the herbal scent of tea, all eclipsed by something that was entirely John's own. "We could do with a shop seeing as there's nothing here that you can put in your mouth safely" John laughed as he rifled through presses, bypassing petrified dishes and only looking into other receptacles before dismissing the contents as inedible with a fond grin. "There's biscuits." Sherlock said contrite, producing a half empty packet of chocolate digestive that definitely belonged to Mrs Hudson out from under a pile of stuff. John huffed another laugh and pulled out his phone. "Chinese or Indian?"

Dinner was a quiet but jovial affair (Sherlock opted for Chinese, a little anniversary slap for the fall of the Black Lotus ring 18 months prior, not that John knew that) Mrs Hudson had joined them for a while, embracing John tightly and dabbing her eyes as she trilled over having her boys together again before leaving for her herbal soother. The general silence wasn't awkward in any way, both men were happy just to be in each others company.

Mycroft had a courier deliver the rest of John's belongings to the flat with a short note welcoming him back to the battlefield. Sherlock examined each of the feet in the fridge and dribbled an unidentified liquid over the pig's head. John squished a few bits and pieces of his onto shelves and into cupboards. Sherlock drank the tea John made and snorted at the reappearance of the RAMC mug. John moved his suitcases to the foot of the stairs. Sherlock lay on the couch and reorganized his mind palace for a while. They swept about the flat in harmonious parallels, and if Sherlock noticed he made sure John was in his eyeline at all times well he wasn't going to read too much into that, and if John realised he kept shooting glances the detective's way well that was just a regular thing he'd always done. The evening wore on and rolled into night, and soon John was yawning and Sherlock was actually exhausted and they parted ways to go to sleep.

John marveled at his own inability to fall asleep as he lay tucked into bed in the dark, staring up at the ceiling for lack of anything better to do. All his books were in the boxes downstairs and his laptop was in one of the suitcases which he was not in the mood to be searching through, plus he really was so tired that turning on the light didn't even seem remotely possible so he just lay there in the dark and listened. 'Maybe' he thought to himself 'it's like the late night at home before a holiday, all that excitement and nowhere to put it. Maybe I just really need to concentrate on something other than the fact that I'm here.' Unsurprisingly that realisation didn't help, if anything it made it worse. John couldn't help but wonder what Sherlock was doing on the floor below.

Sherlock tossed in his sheets, sweating as he dreamed. John in the lab during the HOUND case, only this time Sherlock was the hound, and he was out to get John, who was whispering Sherlock's name like a prayer for help that would never come because Sherlock was already trying to get him. John wrapped in a coat and a semtex vest with a gun against his head and Sherlock being forced to set it off. John's screams of agony as he clawed at the harpoon that flew into his gut, blood spiraling out to darken his shirt in the shape of a lotus flower. John on the roof of St. Barts with Moriarty. John on the pavement just outside of St Barts, eyes glassy and pulse already gone by the time Sherlock reaches him. Mary shooting John instead of Sherlock. Moriarty kissing John and walking away hand in hand with him. John dying in a sand dune, crying out for Sherlock to help but there's a canyon separating them. John in pain. John leaving. John dying. John hating him. John forgetting him. Sherlock cried out again and again, he would save him, he would.

John's ears pricked up, he thought he heard a voice calling his name but it was far away, almost a whispering. Then again, and again, louder now, unmistakably Sherlock's voice and he was up and out of bed, flying down the stairs and across the sitting room and only breaking his stride as he made it to Sherlock's bedroom door. Sherlock was calling for him, his voice strained tight, each call louder than the last and John had to go in, he couldn't leave the man to face his nightmares alone.

He strode in, rushing his way across the room to sit on the edge of the bed just as Sherlock roared his name and sat bolt upright, his entire body trembling. Wide eyes met John's for only a second before Sherlock was pressed against him, hands fisted in his shirt and face buried in his shoulder as he breathed raggedly against John's neck. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. The breath blowing across his neck was warm but the rest of Sherlock was cold, and John could feel his heart racing even through his shirt. He said nothing, but he wrapped his arms carefully around Sherlock's back, turning and pulling him gently into his lap, encircling the man with himself because if he was right that's what Sherlock was trying to do anyway. Gently John began to rock back and forth, his hand rubbing big circles across Sherlock's back, ignoring entirely the fact that it was sticky with sweat. Sherlock shuddered and burrowed deeper into him, probably stretching his pyjama top with white knuckle grip he had on it. "It's ok Sherlock, you're ok." John soothed, and wondered what had broken this impossible man.

Sherlock couldn't speak, couldn't force his raw throat to say anything just yet if he wanted to keep some dignity and avoid tears. He'd woken abruptly and forgotten that John was here, that he wouldn't have to go through this alone again, as he had done for a good three months now. He hadn't gotten any better at dealing with it, the nightmares bested him every time. Many nights had turned into days with Sherlock sat hugging his own knees and praying that John was still alive, attempting to send Mycroft a casual text asking for anything about John's current engagements. In the beginning he got a snide comment and a barrage of questions. Later on he didn't have to ask, every morning the cctv photos were there in his inbox, waiting.

This time though, this time John was waiting, and Sherlock didn't care about boundaries or what anyone would think or say, he needed to physically feel John against him so he instinctively just grabbed him and rested his face against his pulse, the place where his scent was strongest, where Sherlock could feel he was alive. When John lifted him into his lap wrapped him in his arms being silent really was all he could do not to embarrass himself by saying something inappropriate, like how much he loved that John just knew exactly what he needed and gave it, always gave him anything no matter how he might feel about what it was, how much he loved him. If he died you'd die too. The realisation had been on the edge of his brain for a while now, but the mere idea brought the remnants of his nightmare back to him. Blood. Mary. Harpoon. Moriarty. Gun. He could
only shudder in response. "It's ok Sherlock, you're ok." The words brought little comfort. "It doesn't matter if I'm ok. Are you ok John?" Sherlock muttered softly into John's neck. "I'm right here with you, of course I'm ok, and it matters to me if no one else. Do you want to talk about it? Apparently that helps but I never found it did."

Sherlock froze instantly, scene after scene overwhelming him. "No no no no Sherlock it's ok I'm here I'm fine calm down, breathe for me, in, out, copy my rhythm, in, out, in, out." John's chest expanding and contracting against him was grounding to be sure, but falling into his rhythm was proving difficult, and the fact that objectively Sherlock knew he'd soon be hyperventilating if he didn't match it wasn't helping. Eventually however he managed it, focusing on the solid body against his own. John continued to rock gently back and forth, waiting for calm to fall once more. "I asked if you wanted to talk about it, not relive it. You don't have to do either if you-" Sherlock cut him off.

"How do you do it John? Forgive me for all the times I have failed you, come back each time I betray your trust, allow me to take over your life again and again when I have proved I'm not trustworthy? It's going to happen again and again because that's what I do: I ruin people's lives, I run them down and get them into situations they can't escape and they end up dead. I don't... I won't let that happen to you, I promised I would leave you alone, let you
live a normal life, no matter how much it pained me I would do it, after Reichenbach I deserved to be alone and you deserved to be happy with your wife but I managed to destroy that too! I am so sorry John, for the moment we met and every moment after that because I have made your life a misery more often than not, two years of pretending to be dead and what I have learned is exactly how much it hurts to lose someone you love and I knew you were alive, I'm babbling I know but that's what the nightmares are about, all the possible ways I could lose you through my own failures and-"

John stopped him. "No, no wait, just, give me a second to wrap my head around this. You think that you deserve to be miserable and all that because you made me grieve you for the past two years? Or was it all the times before that when you supposedly made my life a misery? Sherlock Holmes you're my best friend and yes you're bloody infuriating and sometimes I just want to strangle you but that's just you being yourself and I wouldn't change it for the world! I could never really have been happy with Mary once I knew you were alive, the fact she tried to kill you doesn't even bear thinking about. As for this whole punishing yourself business I forgave you weeks ago, it's time you forgave yourself. In fact I'm sorry, for making you feel as if you weren't a totally necessary part of my happiness, because you are. Nothing you can do could possibly change that." Sherlock moved his head out from
John's shoulder and stared at him in awe.

"John Watson you are the most improbable man..." and before John could blink the hands in his shirt were pulling him impossibly closer and Sherlock was kissing him. Sherlock was kissing him. Sherlock. Kissing him. He didn't even close his eyes he was in such a state of shock, dimly he was aware of the fact that he should probably respond, or do something at least, but his brain had short circuited and was blissfully unoccupied with thoughts other than pure surprise. Sherlock broke away and John just oggled at him, all flushed cheeks and lips just slightly swollen from the kiss and looking a bit nervous which for Sherlock meant he was panicked and then he opened his mouth and said "Did I do it wrong?" genuinely looking to know if he was a bad kisser like that was even in the realm of possibility. And as John just kept staring he flushed even more, dipping his face down and away, like John couldn't see that he was quite embarrassed without doing that, after all Sherlock was in his lap, he didn't exactly need the lights to be on to know what was lying against his thigh.

It was when he tried to move away, up and off of John's lap that he finally snapped back and held Sherlock's hip, keeping him in place. He was pink up to his ears now and if John didn't know better he'd have said he looked on the verge of tears. Softly John slid a hand beneath his chin and lifted Sherlock's face up. "Don't, don't hide yourself, your emotions, from me, Sherlock. I want to see when you're embarrassed, or ashamed, or upset, or angry, or lonely, or content or excited, I want to see it all. Everything. Anything you'll give me. Your deductions, your ideas, your observations, your worries, your hopes, your feelings..." John's other hand moved slowly down, caressing shoulder, arm, chest, stomach, hand, thigh and he leaned in so he'd be whispering straight into Sherlock's ear because in this at least he had practice, even if he was still shocked (which he was) seduction? That he could do. "your breath," A warm exhale against the shell of Sherlock's ear elicited a shudder "your body," Slow, careful hands just barely ghosting across tender flesh and Sherlock was vibrating in his skin, his hands trying to rip through John's shirt "your heart," A hitch in his breath "Yourself. Can I have you, Sherlock Holmes?" "John..." A barely breathed plea.

That's when John kissed him. Really kissed him, applying the years of experience he'd gotten into hopefully giving Sherlock everything he deserved from the (most likely) first real time anyone had ever kissed him. He went full pelt, licking his way into Sherlock's mouth and taking, taking every little keen and whine and trying harder, learning what really made Sherlock cry out and shake and pressing those buttons over and over until Sherlock was a mess and only then would he back off, light brushes of his lips against jaw or neck lulled him back to a more manageable level before John ramped up the heat again. "Dear God John, touch me, anything, please, 'm so close." Sherlock moaned into his mouth, begging for release. Looking at him like this, he was everyone's fantasy partner, eager, vocal, responsive, it was hard to believe he was a virgin, how could anyone not want him? Sherlock writhed on his lap, trying to get some elusive friction to finally send him over the edge. John dipped a hand into his pants and stroked him once, twice, marveled at the slick glide of his hand, clearly Sherlock really was enjoying himself, three, four and Sherlock was done with a bellow, spurting into John's hand and collapsing back onto the bed with a euphoric face. His eyes began to droop shortly after and his attempt to reciprocate was gently declined in favor of sleep. "Stay" he murmured as he drifted and John was more than happy to oblige, right after he cleaned his hand. As much as he might love him, there was a line.

Chapter Text

Prompt 40: Morbid

A/N: Teenlock Dance AU written by someone who's never danced a day in their life.

"You can't be serious." Bill's voice echoed from Coach Lestrade's office through the changing room and John winced. The trouble with Bill was that he couldn't seem to help himself when there was mischief to be had, and as with every other time, it ended in the destruction of someone else's property. As captain of their football team John wished he could see a way to make his team member stop being such an idiot, as a friend he was happy to laugh along and let him be. This time though, he'd actually gone too far if the barking Lestrade was doing said anything. No one was quite sure what they'd done, Murray, Tony and Sam, but rumours of trespass and sometimes arson were flying about with the vigour only teenagers could manage. John for one just hoped they weren't being suspended, the season hadn't begun yet and he needed every player on the pitch to train or they'd never make it to the cup finals.

It was his second to last chance to get there and next year he'd make the choice between football and schoolwork and schoolwork would win, he'd have to study properly for his A levels, he needed the marks to get medicine before he could even think about enlisting. The guys didn't know about that decision quite yet and he was hoping to keep that secret for as long as he could. It was the only chance he had of becoming a doctor, no way his parents could afford it and he was not taking out a student loan. Football was great but being a doctor and maybe even being a soldier were the two things he really wanted to do. Still if he was down three of his best players before they'd even played a match he might as well throw the towel in now.

The rest of the team lined the benches against the walls of the changing room, waiting for the verdict of the Coach. In general Lestrade punished in two ways: The whole team or one individual. In truth even if only a couple of the lads were punished it still affected the entire lot, they were all good mates and one being down brought the rest down too. Still, everyone sat up straighter when the noise of eight sets of feet began their journey down the corridor. John quickly looked at the guys faces and knew it was a team punishment, they looked genuinely apologetic, indignation would have been somewhere in their eyes if they'd been suspended. "Right." The Coach began, eyeballing the gathered teens with irritation flashing across his face. "These three idiots thought it would be funny to interrupt the lessons of our friendly neighbours at Lobelia Academy of Dance yesterday. Now the principal Ms. Adler offered a deal of sorts, and it was that she wouldn't press charges for the trespassing if you all, that's every one of you, goes to the school during training time and makes an effort, a proper good fist of dancing. I'm going to leave the decision to your captain, because I personally think a run in with the police might knock some sense into these three, but maybe you don't share the sentiment. So. Watson, what will it be?"

John bit back a groan and turned to face the ten other guys who looked stunned. "I see it like this, either we take a few weeks of dance classes or we let our mates take a fall they might never recover from. I don't see much of a choice there. But" he spun back around "I'm going to want a few things from you in exchange. First you have to promise you won't get in any more trouble until the season is over. Second you can't whine at us that dancing is hard or that you wish you were on the pitch because it's your fault and thirdly I'll be expecting you to apologise to the team. You let us down yesterday guys, we're better than that sort of thing, and you've brought our name down too. That last you can do now." Even Lestrade felt a little bit bad for the messers, getting a talk down from John Watson just made you feel bad, it was like disappointing your old man, you felt shame and guilt for every little thing no matter what. He thought it was the eyes, they were very honest much like John himself and if he felt like you'd let him down you bloody well knew it. Similarly he could bring you right up out of the gutter with an easy smile and his forgiving nature. It was part of what made him a great captain.

They were quick to apologise after that and John clapped an arm around their shoulders. "It's alright, Dancing is supposed to be great for your football anyway. It'll be like training away from training ay boys?" Laughter bubbled among them and Greg shook his head. This dancing lark was going to be interesting for all of them.

The next afternoon John gathered the team together and Lestrade brought them across the back pitches to Lobelia. He'd already given them a speech about making a real effort being just as important as showing up, and all 14 guys had nodded along seriously. It might be a bit embarrassing but they would do anything for each other, especially if it meant keeping their friend's records relatively clean. Still, John couldn't help the frisson of excitement that he felt as the walked through the luxurious corridors to meet the woman waiting at a set of wooden double doors. "Christ mate I might have given dance a go if she was the one putting me through my paces." Danny muttered to the group as they got closer. She was beautiful, acres of pale skin and dark hair, blue eyes and a cracking body, but John personally got the feeling that she was hard to please and the look in her eyes made him feel like she'd tied him up, and that was how she liked it.

"Ms. Adler? Coach Lestrade." He offered his hand for her to shake and she accepted with a slight smile. "And this must be your team. Welcome to Lobelia boys." She surveyed them like they were cattle at market for only milliseconds before turning and opening the doors. "We agreed that each of you would dance but not what style you would be partaking in. Sit." John sat quickly in a semi circle with the lads, helplessly admiring the dance studio she had brought them into. Four walls of mirrors and a sleek wooden floor, the barre running across one wall brought back memories of a life he'd left for footie.

"First things first. Have any of you ever taken dance instruction before?" John was actually quite surprised when two other hands went up with his own. It seemed to please her at least a little bit. "Not total beginners, that will help. Name and style?" Tom spoke first with a blush. "Eh... Tom Daly, Ballroom?" She nodded and looked to Henry who was rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. "Henry Knight, Jazz and swing." A small smile flitted across her face at that and then she rounded on John. "John Watson, Ballet." Triumph shone in her eyes and the team gasped in shock. "You were a ballerina?!" John rolled his eyes. "Yes Andy I was a ballerina. Then I took up football and now I'm your captain so I would stand down if I were you." Andy hastily muttered and apology which John graciously accepted and Ms Adler seemed almost gleeful. "Oh yes you'll do just fine. My grand plan to ensure you make the proper effort is to include each of you in our winter expo regardless of the progress you do or do not make. You'll make an effort or make a fool of yourself. Your choice. Those of you who have a style already go sit by the wall. As for the rest of you I will pick. Names quickly." In a state of utter shock they began to name themselves.

"Andy Dwyer, James Matthews, Paul Simon, Russell Davies, Steve Mofatt, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Scott, Sam Smith, Bill Murray, Tony Garcia and Michael Flatley." Each boy got a once over before she made her decision. "Davies, Moffat and Gatiss you'll be joining Mr Knight over there for Jazz and swing in room 10. Flatley, Scott and Dwyer you three will be Irish dancing, room 25. Smith, Garcia, hip hop, 12. Murray, Matthews and Simon will dance contemporary with me in room 8. Daly ballroom is in room 3. As for Captain Watson I have a few things I have to sort out. The rest of you go, I trust Coach Lestrade will accompany you to ensure you don't get lost?" A quirk of one perfectly shaped eyebrow and they were off out of the room, with the coach who had been leaning against the wall chivvying them along.

"Now. John, as I mentioned before each of you will take part in our winter show, but I'm not so cruel as to leave you floundering up there by yourselves. No, you'll have partners from the Academy alongside you. The students have already chosen various pieces they would like to perform, but my ballet dancer has had some... issues playing with others and couldn't find a partner for a twist on swan lake he wanted to perform. Actually he wanted to take on all three roles himself but that was impossible. I think, John Watson, that you might become the answer to a lot of our problems." John gaped up at her. "M'am I don't know if I have the ability to do this" For some reason the smile she gave him was fond. " That is exactly why you're right for this partnership, Even now I can see what you feel in your face, the self doubt, it's emotion in its purest form, something my dancer has trouble displaying. He would be, will be ètoile to any company in the world, I guarantee, if he could just learn to dance with his heart on his sleeve and do it with a partner. You're going to teach him this John, I know it."

"Ms. Adler I'm still not sure-" "And I am. Look at us both. Know when you are beaten John. Come on, I'll bring you to him." She was already striding away as she finished speaking and John had to hurry after her to keep up. The door she slid open led to a room much like the one they'd come from, but the light was substantially better and it contained a young man in ballet leggings and shirt that took John's breath away. He was tall and lean, but the obvious strength of his body as he stretched at the barre made him the ideal for a dancer and his pale skin and wild dark curls framed the most unexpectedly coloured eyes. "Sherlock Holmes, John Watson. John here is going to be your Prince." Slowly Sherlock turned around and surveyed John. He felt a bit naked under the scrutiny actually. "You can go Irene, he'll be the one running screaming if you need him." Sherlock drawled in a low baritone and Irene Adler quirked her lips into a smile, while John had the rather morbid thought that this Sherlock would probably try and make him scream if the look in his eye was anything to go by.

Still, when Irene closed the door behind herself and left him alone with a total stranger he knew next to nothing about, well he wished he'd had more than a minute to collect himself. "So. When are you planning on telling your friends that you're enlisting?" The first words out of his mouth and John was stunned.

"End of the year. Easier that way. I'm sorry, how did you know that?" Sherlock's eyes lit up. "Top corner of a pamphlet in your bag about army schemes to pay for tuition. Obviously you're not a particularly wealthy man or your parents would have sent you to a private school so they probably can't afford to pay for college and you have ambitions. Add the fact that you're accepting a punishment along with a gang of footnallers you apparently captain based on the jersey number I would think they'd be a bit less friendly towards you if they knew you intended to first stop playing and second go abroad and get shot at." John blinked at the onslaught and for a fraction of a second something crossed Sherlock's face, and John didn't like it. "That... Was amazing. Truly amazing." Sherlock's turn to looked stunned. "That's not what people usually say." John frowned. "What do they usually say?"

"Piss off." He burst into laughter and Sherlock joined him, a fact that seemed to surprise him.
Wiping his eyes John held out his hand to Sherlock. "Nice to meet you Sherlock Holmes. Now tell me about this dance of yours."

It was a good idea certainly, starkening the elements of the dance to just three or four characters: The white swan, the black swan, the prince and potentially Rothbar if he could find someone up to the job.

The scene Sherlock wanted to perform was a mix of the finale and the seduction of the prince by both swans. The climax of the dance. John nodded pensively along with his explanation but each word made him more nervous than the last. He could not do this.

Sherlock gave him a shrewd look. "Just because you learned Cechetti and haven't put on so much as a slipper in two and a half years doesn't mean you can't do this." John sighed fondly and thought that he was probably going to be doing that a lot. "If you say so. Show me what you have choreographed already then, You probably have most of it out already." A smirk on the other's face meant he'd hit the nail. John realised he should have seen it coming when the man sat down and pulled on a pair of pointe shoes, making him even taller than before. "Great" John muttered sarcastically "just what you needed, more height." Sherlock laughed as he strolled over to a connection on the wall and plugged his phone in, pressed a button and the music to Swan Lake began to play, but it was... Different somehow. New.

"It uh... My own recording. Violin is something of a soothing... I can play the original if you want but I thought perhaps a new arrangement would be better for what I had planned..." John held up his hand and listened. It was flawless, but he could feel every line of the music as it was played and knew exactly what each note corresponded to. He could feel the emotion swelling, the passion rising and then everything coming to a head as the White Swan realised her, his, prince had been swept up by someone else and he was destined to be a swan forever, he could almost taste the agony as the music swelled, The swan made the only decision it knew would work to take away a little of the pain of heart break and betrayal: killing itself, and it hurt. The song ended and they stood together in silence.

It was a little while before John could say anything. "Sherlock that is... I don't know if I have words to describe it mate. Its bloody incredible! If you ever decide ballet isn't for you go join the bloody philharmonic you talented sod!" John laughed and patted Sherlock on the shoulder. "Seriously though, you're something else. Anyway, on to the dancing" He flopped down on the floor next to Sherlock who still wasn't moving. "You alright?" John asked cautiously and Sherlock shook his head clear, gave John an unreadable look and hit replay, gliding to the centre of the floor in perfectly executed bourrée and suddenly John understood what Ms. Adler had meant.

Each step was executed to perfection certainly, but there was none of the depth of emotion that the music had in the movements. The transitions from White swan to Black were almost unnoticable, as if he didn't quite know how to portray seduction in the blatant manner the Black swan would have and somehow even with John right there at his disposal he ignored the fact that this was a pas de deux, not instructing as to what John would be doing at any given moment, just dancing. Perfectly, but without that sparkle that made a good dancer great. He finished and John rubbed the back of his neck. "Maybe try to just... Go with it. You don't have to calculate every blink, just feel the music, the depth of it and go again for me." Sherlock gave a wooden nod and repeated what he had done before.

When the song finished John circled Sherlock, eyeing him as if he could fix the issues just by looking hard enough. Three minutes in Sherlock started to blush. John actually had an idea as to what he could do to demonstrate the fact that there was an issue because just saying it outright would probably be ignored again. So he continued his circles and leaned closer, until every circle made them brush together and then he whispered "Do you trust me?" into Sherlock's ear and was a bit pleased when he swallowed hard and nodded, he didn't seem the type to give trust away.

John smiled as he circled again, this time stopping with Sherlock's back against his chest and breathing warm air against his neck. Sherlock shivered and then cut off a gasp as John's hand trailed lightly behind it, reaching up into his curls while the other arm spun him around and then John pressed their lips together (He let go of Sherlock enough that he could pull away, he hoped he didn't but he could) and kissed him for all he was worth, and Sherlock responded, in his own clumsy sort of fashion, pressing back against John who began walking him backwards until they hit wall and Sherlock gasped, giving John the perfect opportunity to introduce his tongue to the proceedings. Sherlock let out an utterly inhuman noise that John couldn't help but find unbelievably hot and he growled into Sherlock's mouth in return, sliding his hands down to a well toned arse and lifting, forcing Sherlock to wrap his legs around his waist and bend his head down to continue the kiss, to deepen it further as he pressed the entire lithe body against his own. Those little noises kept escaping and every time John meant to stop he found himself kissing even more hungrily, grabbing handfuls of the ridiculously plush arse at his disposal and immersing himself in the entire little whines for mercy. He could feel everything through the thin layer of dark leggings that separated Sherlock from him and he knew he had succeeded in seducing him, he hadn't quite expected to take it as far as he had but now that he had he was pretty sure he'd like to continue, if Sherlock was alright with that.

He broke their lips apart gently and slid Sherlock back to an almost fully upright position (his knees seemed to be failing him at the moment, John would be lying if he said he wasn't proud.) with their foreheads leaning against each other's and gave Sherlock a second to calm himself down. "That was me seducing you the way a swan should seduce a prince." John uttered into the quiet that was broken only by Sherlock panting. "But also in the way a man seduces another. Is it working?" John asked casually, moving so he could stare into Sherlock's eyes. Flushed and hair in an even wilder disarray he looked wonderful, alive. Big eyes blinked at him and Sherlock nodded slowly, making John grin.

"Good. Its working for me too. That is if you'd be amenable to maybe keeping that up, The two of us together. I mean I know we only just met but there's something about you... I know I'd like to stay wherever you are." Sherlock seemed to need a minute to pull himself together. "I wish someone had told me I'm so good I can make a talker speechless." John joked and Sherlock swallowed, blushing to his hairline.

"It's... I would like to but... My practical experience of em... This sort of thing would be limited to a singular occasion, right now, and I've gathered that this would be an issue for most." John gaped at him in disbelief. "That was your first kiss?!" Sherlock got a few shades darker as he nodded. Now that was truly unbelievable. Sherlock was a devastating creature, ridiculously good looking, talented, funny and smart, how on earth he was only just being kissed for the first time now at seventeen was something else. It would explain some of the reluctance in dancing the seduction: he truly didn't know how to. John felt a bit bad actually, his first kiss had been a much gentler affair with a pretty girl from the village, his first kiss with another boy had been a dare at a rather wild party about three years back. Not exactly a gentle introduction to the world of intimacy in any case.

"I don't mind. Can I do something quickly, it won't hurt or anything like that just, with your permission this time..." John placed two fingers under his chin and tilted his face to look at him, brushing a curl away from his forehead and smiling into his eyes. "Can I kiss you?" Sherlock looked confused but gave a quiet ok and John took his face in both hands and kissed him again, watching as his eyes slid closed and actually feeling tension leave his body beneath the tender ministrations. Perfectly poised for the dance. John broke away, reaching with one hand to replay the music.

"Dance it with me." John twirled away from Sherlock and they began, the innocent White swan pirouetteing into his vision and John reacted, chasing in a series of petit jeté that were never quite quick enough to catch Sherlock, dancing away on pointe with all the grace of a top danseur and slowly coming back until they were dancing in step, and the Prince caressed the wings spread against his chest, carrying them almost as he ran with the beautiful swan he was falling for, and when the swan leaned out in an arabesque he was there with both hands, lifting him into the air like he was taking flight, gently placing him down and letting him dance away as the minutes till morning ticked down.

They were spinning away in tandem piqué turns and when they came back together White was transformed into the Black swan and The prince had no idea, only that he wanted him. The swan was alive against him, an electric presence like fireworks or lightning, a high voltage energy sign that warned that this Swan was dangerous and not to be touched but The Prince was blinded by his love and couldn't see it, The Black swan spun lithely around him and leaped into fouetté, a whip cracking in the air before they seamlessly melded into the promenade, an awestruck fool unaware that his true love was going to be lost to him forever as he spun his twin around and around, getting on one knee before him in a fluid motion as if proposing and rising as he accepted, dancing together for another moment and then he danced away euphoric.

The white swan returned but The Prince didn't see him, no matter how close he danced or spun or leaped trying to make him remember. The Prince danced off to the left leaving the White swan centre stage, dancing his grief, reaching out his hand one last time before he crumpled in a heap, dead.

John was covered in sweat by the time they'd finished. He had no idea how much time had passed or how he'd known what to do, how they'd known, but they had and it had been spectacular. Every emotion had passed between them, John had been the Prince and Sherlock the Swans. It could be improved of course, John knew his movement had been rusty and he'd like to do a few more partnered bits after all it was a pas de deux but aside from that... He flopped down on his back next to Sherlock who was still in his little heap on the floor. "You were perfect Sherlock." John whispered as he rubbed the slim back through a thin shirt. "Not yet." He mumbled and then Sherlock raised his head and pressed their lips together and he could feel John's eyelashes fluttering against his cheek, the race of his heart, the little beads of sweat sparkling on his forehead and then, then he was perfect.

A/N: Cechetti is an Italian method of ballet that focuses on anatomy and rigidity in dance as far as classical structure allows

Bourrée - The use of movement in pointe shoes to make it look like you're gliding.

Pas de deux- literally step of two, a partnered dance in ballet

Petit jeté - small leaps

Arabesque - Dancer is supported by one foot and has the other leg extended behind them making a 90° angle

Piqué turns - A series of travelling turns done on one leg, pointed forwards in quick succession while the other is bent and pointed towards the knee

Fouetté - A whipping movement in which the body turns in the direction of the working leg as it passes in front or behind leg.

Promenade - The dancer maintains any definition position in this case Arabesque on one leg as they spin, in pas de deux their partner generally helps them.

Chapter Text

Prompt 41: Just give me five minutes ok

"I don't have friends." The scathing phrase circled endlessly through his head as he walked away, out of the inn and away into the night. It wasn't just that Sherlock had denounced their friendship, it was the subtext, the implied I don't need friends, I don't need you. If he was honest that last hurt more than anything else. If Sherlock didn't think they were friends than who the hell was he to the infuriating man? John spent every minute of his day with or worrying about Sherlock, trying to make sure he wasn't killed by some madman on the street or by his own experiments and most of his nights dreaming about him so if Sherlock felt he didn't need him at all... Well. It was exceedingly dark outside, and the moors were treacherous in themselves, ignoring whatever was going on in Dewers Hollow, and as of a storm out not ten minutes previous John had literally nowhere to go. Wonderful.

He felt a bit of a twat actually, for letting this get to him so much. He had known Sherlock wouldn't feel quite so strongly for him as he'd want but having even friendship thrown back in his face hurt. Sherlock was his best friend, but what was he meant to do if he wasn't Sherlock's? "Bloody man can't be conscious of other people and their feelings for one bloody moment." John muttered to himself as he found a bench to sit on, ignoring the man at the other end of it until he realised how familiar it was. "Greg?!" Greg turned to face him with a slight grin. "Alright mate?" John glowered at him. "Just peachy Greg, just peachy. Mycroft?" The replying eye roll was confirmation in itself. John sighed, Sherlock wouldn't like this when he found out in the morning. He didn't know why he couldn't just stop caring what Sherlock might feel even when they were fighting. Bloody man.

Greg slid over to sit next to him and patted his shoulder. "Sherlock's done something stupid I take it?" John shook his head. "You don't want to know."

"Try me." Quickly John went through the events of that evening up to the flight from The Hollow. "... I found him in the common room with a glass of whiskey in his hand and the fear of God in him and I tried to comfort him as well as I could, but I didn't see the thing, whatever it was. He snapped and said... Well he said that he didn't have friends. It was more of a hiss actually now that I think on it. I know it's ridiculous and he's Sherlock and I should know better but..." Greg nodded in understanding. "I know mate. I was hoping he'd finally get there, able to admit he loves you or likes you at least. He does John, I just know it. He doesn't really mean that, he was just scared. He needs you. Maybe that's part of what's scaring him." John gave a self deprecating smile and shrugged.

"I'm just the blogger to him clearly. He could never need me as much as I need him Greg, and he knows it. I don't matter. I'm ok with it, honestly, Just caught me by surprise tonight is all." Greg's heart went out to his friend, Sherlock had him in a right mess and the poor sod probably didn't even realise it because he was a mess himself.

"Come on, You can sleep in my room, I have a few bits to do before bed anyway." Gratefully John rose and Greg led him towards the side door of the inn, bypassing the common room and leading straight to the stairs. He handed John the key to the room and sent him off before bolstering himself to talk with Sherlock. A low buzz from his phone made him pause and reach into his pocket.

'From Mycroft H. This might be of assistance Detective. MH' An audio file was attached and Greg had a feeling he knew what was in it even before he heard heard his own voice from ten minutes previous.

'You know I'd appreciate it if you didn't listen in GL.'

'Of course. MH'

That was as good as a promise from Mycroft so Greg steeled himself and walked into a now almost entirely deserted common room, spotting Sherlock almost instantly in his armchair by the fire. Cautiously, Greg sat down next to him and said nothing for a while. First thing he'd learned about talking emotion with Sherlock was that you had to let him make the first move and that happened best when the weapon of silence was well employed.

"I suppose you're here to make sure I don't get into any trouble. Mycroft neglects to remember that I am a grown man."

Not quite what he'd been hoping for but something nonetheless. "He cares. Not exactly why I'm sitting here at two in the morning though." Sherlock pointedly didn't meet his eye. "He knows I didn't mean that I don't need him." Greg shook his head. "Does he though? Because I happen to have spoken to him just a little while ago and he really believes you don't. Which is mad because if I loved someone the way he loves you I would think they'd need me. After all to earn that devotion from me it would take an awful lot on their part, it would be very difficult to feel that deeply and know that the other person was just indifferent to me." Sherlock snapped and faced him with a snarl "Of course he knows. What would you know about us?"

Greg almost smiled to hear the detective acknowledge that there was something between them."Well. For starters I have a rather distraught John Watson in my bed upstairs" he started putting fingers up with each point to emphasise it "I've seen the way he looked at you from day one, spent nights with him in the pub getting smashed and talking about you, listened to him list everything that was wrong with whatever woman he was out with at the time which generally boiled down to not you and sat outside with him in the middle of the night while he told me that you had confirmed his biggest fear with your own mouth." Back to the sneer with Sherlock, but Greg knew that meant he was getting there. "Oh please, John is not some period drama heroine who has to-" and that was when he played the recording. Sherlock was silent through it all.

"You know, I almost didn't believe him. But then I thought again. It's 're scared. Scared of what this case means, sure yes that too, but really scared of him. Of what you'll do if he leaves, what you'll do if he stays. Scared of loving him. You do. I know it, and if I know you have to know. You need him more now than you've ever needed anyone other than yourself and that is scary . Now, I know you have a blind spot for this sort of thing, But he's right there waiting for you with his bloody heart at your feet and you keep stomping all over it! He's my friend too, and I want to see him happy. You could make him happy Sherlock. You could." Sherlock turned away from him. "I don't know how." He murmured softly. Greg breathed a laugh. "No one really does. The secret to it is trying. All you have to do is try to do the best job you can making the other person happy, even if that means leaving them alone." That was what he'd done with Mycroft. Purely professional relationships were fine, but what Greg was looking for? Never.

"Lestrade... he does want you. Whatever he said to the contrary is a lie even Anderson could see through. I would know." Greg cleared his throat awkwardly, it was one thing to know objectively that Sherlock would always see everything you wished he wouldn't, it was entirely another for him to acknowledge that he knew you oggled his brother."So. You will fix this with John right? It won't be easy, you've been a right tit to him, but you need him. He makes you better. Every day. I'll see you in the morning Sherlock, try and get some sleep." Sherlock muttered something that sounded to Greg a lot like he said "Goodnight goldfish" but he couldn't quite be sure. He didn't really care, he was bloody tired and he just wanted to phone buzzed one last time against his thigh.

'I trust everything went well. Goodnight Inspector. MH' Goodnight indeed, the cheeky git Greg smiled to himself as he rolled into bed and grabbed some duvet before John could hog it all.

John opened his eyes to a head of silver hair that abruptly ruined his pleasant mood by reminding him what had happened with Sherlock last night. It was still early, and if he wasn't working with Sherlock he really had nothing to do. Luckily John was experienced in having nothing to do, after he'd come home and lived in that god awful bedsit there had been ample time alone to figure something out. In fact it was thanks to one of his cures for boredom that he'd been introduced to Sherlock in the first place. A walk around Dartmoor (except Dewers hollow) would clear his head and give him something to bloody do. Quietly as he could John rolled out of bed and left Greg to his sleep, he wasn't sure what time he'd made it upstairs but it had been very late indeed because he'd had a bit of trouble sleeping but had been out cold by the time Greg reappeared.

The breeze was mild enough as he walked through the village, and it was brighter than he'd expected but he couldn't bring himself to focus on the scenery at all as he trudged along. He was a grown man. This shouldn't have been bothering him as much as it was and he knew that friends say brutal things to each other all the time but Sherlock was... more than that. Bigger than the title of friend, just as he was bigger than all the other titles people had given him. More than a freak or a sociopath, better than just a consulting detective, brighter than any boffin John could think of. That was Sherlock Holmes for you, the biggest and brightest and best. John had no reason to believe that someone (regardless of gender) like that would go for him in a million years.

And yet. There was that pesky ray of hope every time Sherlock prolonged his gaze, or crowded against John when there was space enough for them both to have lots of it. Always John's heart would be in his mouth and then Sherlock would turn away, or the crowding was just his complete lack of respect for personal space. Still, John was secure in the knowledge that after last night Sherlock was not in any way, shape or form feeling the same. Secure was a bit strong. A bit devastated but willing to soldier on regardless because that's what you do when the people you love are oblivious arseholes who like to crush your hopes of reciprocation in their perfectly shaped hands. Walking wasn't helping that much with that. It was just making him feel bitter actually, watching elderly couples toddle hand in hand to the shop fueled a dozen completely innocent fantasies of future domesticity that would most likely never come to pass.

"John!" Sherlock's unique baritone floated towards him and John knew he was being petty and ridiculous when he sped up because Sherlock would a) not even have to change his pace and b) had no idea why he would be so upset but he wanted to do something at least, put on a show of evasion even if he never could avoid the man even if he wanted to."John."

Sherlock caught up with him very quickly. "Umqra. Have any luck with it?" Really, that's what he was going with? John sighed. "No."

"Pity. What about Mortimer?" Actually now that he thought of it, John was a bit pissed off."You know I didn't. Are you trying to be funny?" Sherlock shrugged "Thought I might try it out." John huffed a mirthless laugh. "I'd stick to ice." And with that he really did speed up his pace until there were at least twenty metres between them because Sherlock seemed to have frozen where he stood.

"John. What I said before. I meant it. I don't have friends I-" Sherlock called to him but John cut across before he could finish. "I don't need to be told again, contrary to your opinion I can actually remember some information." Sherlock growled and yelled across the grass at him, looking a little bit hurt and more than a little scared "Just give me five minutes ok? That's all I ask and then you can go on your merry way and never speak to me again" saying that felt worse than any pain he'd experienced "if you want but just a moment is all I'm asking."John scowled but stood rooted to the spot and waited. " Thank you. As I was saying, I don't have friends, I only-" and John had twisted on his heel and started off again.

"Oh for fuck sake!" Sherlock swore to himself and rushed diagonally across the grass to intercept his wayward doctor. Who was not very pleased at being intercepted. "Can you please just let me go?! I will use force to make you if I have to Sherlock." Sherlock grabbed him by the arms and glared. "I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING RATHER IMPORTANT AND YOU ARE MAKING IT INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT." John blinked up at him and was still for all of a second before trying roll away again and Sherlock, well he was done trying to articulate his feelings because clearly he wasn't very good at it.

Instead he pulled John's face to his and kissed him. Well he tried to, he wasn't quite sure if he was doing it right because in theory he knew what was expected but as a practical example this was his first attempt so there was room for error but still there he was, cold lips pressed forcefully against John's. For his part John was very still, which, while not conducive to the "kissing experience that ended in quite a lot of sex" Sherlock had been hoping for, was definitely an improvement on trying to run away. Sherlock only pulled back when he was 86.5% sure John wouldn't be going anywhere if he stared at him with a little surprised 'o' mouth and Sherlock preened a bit at the flushed pink of his cheeks.

"That," John breathed "I was not expecting." Sherlock smiled softly at him. "Not friends. Friend.I only have one." And when John kissed him right back Sherlock couldn't help but hope they finished this case soon. He was done being afraid.

Chapter Text

Prompt 42: Coffin

 

It was skilled and beautiful work if nothing else, the outward beauty of the coffin attempting to detract from the horror of a mangled excuse for a man inside. Sleek edges and smooth faces of dark wood, etched with a careful hand to read prayers and verses, it was the work of a master. A pity then, that the only coffin master in their town was inside the thing, and therefore couldn't have made this one.
Sherlock smirked gleefully for a moment before a pointed elbow to the ribs from Mycroft shut him down. When they had to be seen together, he was supposed to behave, for Mummy rather than his brother he generally complied, but that wooden box - being lifted up and out of the church now - was a clue in a murder case that was rapidly becoming interesting.

 

To say he was impatient to be gone was an understatement, but when one's brother is Queen's man of the county ( and quite a sizable collection of other territories as well, not that any of these simpletons knew that) obligation dictated much of the odious niceties he must show to the masses. That, and the tidy little sum he would be given in exchange for holding his tongue about the less savoury activities of their neighbours.
"Yes quite a loss to the community, I suspect we shall have to ask the guild to procure another coffin maker for us" Sherlock listened in silence, gossiping housewives in the aftermath of a funeral were a veritable font of information.
"Have you not heard? Not two weeks ago a journeyman came to study under old Master Harrison, he's taken the residence on the back of the Staunton's place as far as I know. Keeps to himself, very quiet but a wonderful guest, keeps everything neat and tidy, unlike the horrid man who..." Sherlock lost their voices in the crowd as they moved out of the church and into the street, and with the crowd merely milling about he took that as his chance to escape Mycroft's obligations and begin the investigation afresh. He had told the inspector that there was more to the death than an accidental fall beneath the wheels of a pony and trap. Now he was going to prove it.

 

The first and most obvious place to look was the workshop this stranger had infiltrated, which would perhaps have been an issue for another man as common folk were not just allowed in like the breeze, but Sherlock had a contact within, an unorthodox undertaker he had helped get the job in the first place. Not many women were interested in the art of autopsy, but when one had shown up he'd prodded a few people to make room for her. Miss Hooper was an irregularity, and that made her interesting.

 

He was unsurprised to find the workshop busy, with the master gone the bulk of the work would be thrust upon shoulders that were not quite ready for it yet, and mistakes would be made, therefore getting ahead of the work was the best and only solution if their shop was to remain open. They would need a master, but from the look of that coffin, there was one in their midst, he just had yet to be found.
Waiting at the front of the shop a small boy of maybe ten blinked up at him and Sherlock suppressed a grin, what Billy was doing working within the wood trade he had no idea, but it was definitely some part of a scheme. That boy was always scheming. "Billy, Miss Hooper if you wouldn't mind, and don't go thinking we won't be having words about the little game you're playing in here because I am not helping you out of the inspector's grasp for a third time this month, not without good reason, now off you pop, I shan't wait all day." The urchin scurried off with a cheeky grin and Sherlock was reminded why he had recruited Billy to his network in the first place when moments later he reappeared with Molly in tow.

 

"Thank you Billy, that will be all. Tell Wiggins to come by Baker street later and I'll see what I can do for you." Billy nodded enthusiastically and rushed away from them, leaving Sherlock quite alone with Molly. It was a pity, he knew, that women held little interest for him, for Molly would have been a most suitable wife had she been given the opportunity. As it stood she was rather infatuated with him even though she was well aware of his inclinations. Perhaps he could find someone for her who would allow her, if she so chose, to continue doing the work she loved once they were married. Now that he thought on it, Lestrade was a widower, he could do--
"Mr Holmes? When I heard the call was urgent I had expected a bit more... urgency. Then again, with Billy as your messenger you never quite know what you're walking into!" Molly smiled patiently up at him and Sherlock resolved to induce a meeting between herself and the good inspector.
"Right you are Miss Hooper, right you are. I've come to inquire about a journeyman who just recently--" Molly brightened considerably as she interrupted him.
"Oh, Mr Watson? Amazing work, truly something. He's working right through there if you'd like to meet him, of course Mr Stamford would have to accompany you until you're with him, regulations and all that." Sherlock nodded and stood in wait, listening to the rhythmic chopping and sanding of wood until she returned with Mike at her side.
"Thank you Miss Hooper, if anything interesting comes in, well you know where to find me." She scurried off down the corridor and Mike lead the way through to the workshop.

 

All around, men worked religiously in the heat, lit orange by the glowing fire and shining with a layer of sweat, and young boys hurried to and fro with simple pieces in their hand and complex instructions in their heads. Tables, chairs, doors, barrels, toys and fences, all came to life beneath their hands. Stamford stopped abruptly outside a door that was open only enough for a sliver of light to spill out and smiled slightly to himself. "There you are Mr Holmes, one John Watson as requested. I'd best be off, fair amount to do, try not to embarrass him, he's quite good at what he does." Sherlock furrowed his brow "Embarrass him, I don't--?" but Stamford merely put a finger to his lips and pointed at the door. Hesitating only a moment, Sherlock slipped inside in silence.
He understood immediately what Mike had meant about not embarrassing the man, for there were several examples of behaviour that would be generally regarded as improper on display in the small room. The first, the various finished and unfinished sketches of nude forms that adorned his workspace and the second, that Mr Watson did not appear to be clothed in any way from the waist up, would have been distracting enough, the star burst scar on his shoulder certainly was not helping, but it was the singing that left Sherlock truly mesmerised. Watson's voice was like the sea, lilting and deep enough to drown in, the soft caress of the shore or a wave breaking the hull of a ship in a storm, Sherlock would happily have simply listened. After all, it was obvious he wasn't the killer.

"There shall I gaze on the mountains again, on the fields and the woods and the burns and the glens, away 'mong the corries beyond human ken, in the haunts of the deer shall I roam. Oh ro soon shall I see them, oh he ro see them oh see them, oh ro soon shall I see them, the mist covered mountains of home. Hail to the mountains with summits of- My God have you been standing there the whole time!?" In hindsight, he should probably have interrupted sooner.
"Not quite the whole time no, besides, you have a gift for singing that's rather extraordinary, I should hope you wouldn't begrudge a man one of his great pleasures, would you Mr Watson?" Sherlock asked warmly as the now shy fellow pulled an undershirt over his head. A cheeky grin slid across his features as he mopped his brow.
"I never begrudge a man his pleasure Mr..?" Watson smiled as he gazed at him from head to toe and glanced pointedly at the sketches on the wall. Sherlock coughed at the overt acknowledgement.
"Holmes. Sherlock Holmes." Watson tossed his rag on the desk in the corner and threw himself down onto a chair, gesturing for his guest to do the same.
"Well Holmes Sherlock Holmes, what brings you to the workplace of Watson John Watson? Or rather, just John?"

 

What was he meant to say now, 'I briefly suspected you were a murderer but its fine because you clearly aren't?' Not exactly conducive to getting to know this odd creature a bit better. "I make this town and anything interesting that happens in it my business. Something happens I must know about it, that's the nature of my work."
John hummed and then raised a brow. "Does that make me interesting Sherlock Holmes, or you a stalker, that is the true question."
Sherlock could not believe he was engaging in such flirtatious repartee with this strange man who drew his lovers in the throes of passion and then displayed them on his walls for all to see."Why not both John? Although I usually go by the term consulting detective."
John laughed and shook his head, rooting through the piles of paper and wood on the desk and pulling out a small chisel, stood up, knocked a small corner off the lid he'd been carving when Sherlock interrupted and set the thing back down before leaning back against his desk with a wry grin.
"I thought London was supposed to be very interesting indeed?" He quipped, hands once again moving, this time through sandy blonde hair.
"It just became exponentially more interesting to me." Sherlock savoured the fiery look John threw his way at that, blue eyes smouldering at him like he'd like nothing more than to devour the detective right there and then.
Their banter continued in much the same fashion for how long Sherlock could not say, but he did not miss the way John's eyes tracked every movement and gesture he made.

 

"Would you stand for a moment Holmes, there is something I'd like to see." He stood with little hesitation and waited as John circled around him, humming softly and occasionally muttering under his breath. "You cut quite a figure Holmes, did you know?" Sherlock shrugged, complimentary speech was not freely given in society, one could only compliment oneself or use compliments as part of a business strategy. It was quite nice.
"Sherlock, just, thank you John." He murmured softly, keenly aware of their proximity.
"Well then, Sherlock, I should make my intentions clear. You are much too handsome to adorn my walls, but I would quite like you between my sheets, that is, if you're not too busy?" John's breath warmed his neck, lips just barely brushing the skin exposed by his collar. The case could wait a few hours, he already had a second suspect in mind, and the manner in which John Watson had ensnared him was worth further study. Between his sheets indeed.

Chapter Text

Prompt 43: Shoes

Flying around the world had kind of become his job these days, after writing a book about his experience of war, PTSD and discharge depression, coupled with the treatments he'd found most effective in recovering from the latter and a bit of snark about how the government was pumping funds into the wrong areas, John had been cajoled by his agent to go around the world on a book tour, giving speeches and meeting people who could relate to his story with a struggle of their own, and even some that couldn't but enjoyed his work. He'd learned quickly the best way to travel in an airport, and that was why when his flight was delayed John was the only person not fighting for plug sockets or having homicidal thoughts about the crying baby there invariably would be. He'd up and moved gates within moments of the announcement, lashed his agent a quick text to let them know he'd not be in London until quite a bit later than originally planned, and settled into an empty gate in all the comfort he could manage with his phone and laptop charging away in the oasis of quiet.

"I'm ever so grateful dear so of course you could stay here but I don't think Florida is for you. I know the flying business isn't exactly your favourite, and that we couldn't get a pair of seats isn't great either but we'll get home before you know it!" Mrs Hudson smiled and patted the pale hand in front of her as its owner groaned into the couch. Packing furiously as she swept through one of many apartments her late husband had owned in the states, she folded neatly everything she had brought, and everything her consulting detective had brought too. He needed feeding up when they got home, and a proper cup of tea.. With what they had here it was no wonder the American's had tossed it all into the bay. Strange folk the American's, even after all this time she still couldn't stick their accents, but for a chance to get home sooner she'd gladly sit with one on the plane. Sherlock however, well it would be an experience for whomever sat with him.
"And who knows" she chirped as she pulled the zip closed on the last bag. "Maybe it'll be a handsome fellow who'll snap you up!" Sherlock raised his head from the cushions just to give a withering glare and Mrs Hudson chuckled. An experience to say the least.

Sherlock did not like flying. At all. That's not to say he didn't appreciate the complexity of the invention of a contraption that allowed humans to cover great distances through the air, he just didn't enjoy the reality of hurtling through the sky in a metal deathtrap with two or three likely incompetent people piloting it. He avoided it at all costs, but this case had been an important one for a good friend, an only friend, and how could he refuse to help her when she needed him? The 14 hour journey to Florida had been awful, but tempered somewhat by Mrs Hudson's calming presence at his side. The return journey however, was going to be an unmitigated disaster, as evidenced by the two hour delay and the fact that a hoard of friendly American tourists kept giving his whiskey the side eye even though he'd produced an id for the bartender that proved he was 24 and old enough to drink if he so chose. They also assumed that Mrs Hudson was his mother, a story she wasn't denying and he wasn't bothered to get involved with.
"I'm going to get some peace and quiet, can I get you anything?" Sherlock asked sarcastically, gratified by the falter each intruder on their contented silence experienced at his words.
"Now Sherlock, be nice. I'll be here if you want me." Mrs Hudson smiled at him as he rose and stalked off, reengaging the gang of tourists in conversation with ease.

The airport was busy, families carting sleeping children towards a universal studios shuttle bus and business people barking orders down phones, all fighting back yawns as the clock rolled on towards midnight. The hustle and bustle was familiar yet grating, and some actual quiet would be a joy if he could find it. Sherlock weaved his way through crowds of people until they began to thin out and eventually he was left standing in front of a gate with just one. The man was seated strategically, in front of the plugs but with his face towards the entrance, allowing him to see anyone who might happen past when they were still metres away. Military it was then, Sherlock smiled to himself as his picture of this man began to fall into place. It was interrupted by a subtly sarcastic British accent coming from the man himself.

"Are you going to sit down or are you just practising for your next stint in the Louvre?" He asked, smirking from behind his laptop screen.
"Because you can actually sit down, I won't try and stop you." Sherlock caught his eye and nodded, plopping himself down and sprawling out across a row of chairs. The man simply threw him a half smile and went back to his laptop, somehow knowing that silence would be appreciated. Sherlock observed him slyly around steepled fingers and watched as he typed and ran hands through his hair, licking his lips every few seconds without even noticing and occasionally fiddling with his shirt buttons. Eventually Sherlock looked away and closed his eyes, content to rest a bit, archive this success in his mind palace, and mentally prepare for the hell ahead. Time passed and before Sherlock knew it the stranger was rising, gathering his things and moving swiftly towards the exit. Just before he crossed out of sight, the blonde man turned back to him with a grin and a slight wave.
"See you around" he quipped and strode on, pulling his suitcase behind him and disappearing into the throng. A tinny voice called his flight number over the tannoy and Sherlock was up in a moment, speeding back to the right gate and making it just in time to catch Mrs Hudson's disapproving glance as she boarded, one of the last to do so because she had waited for him. Walking up the metal steps into the plane, Sherlock had the sudden realisation that he was not nearly drunk enough to endure this flight, not drunk at all actually. And now he'd have to sit next to some buffoon for 14 hours as well. Just perfect.

A preppy air steward with a poor dye job and too much lipstick greeted him with a strained politeness ( probably because he had very nearly held the whole flight up again) and lead him down the aisle to his seat, where he braced himself for the worst. Instead he was greeted by blonde hair and a wry grin.

"Well. Fancy that. Nice to see you again so soon. Thank you ma'am I'll take him off your hands if you'd like, I'm sure you're very busy." The undercurrent of flirtation was not lost on the stewardess as she blushed and fluttered her lashes a good bit before leaving them be. Sherlock was struck by how very unlikely this situation was, and he stood staring vaguely into nothing before the man spoke again.
"Do you just hate sitting down or am I the problem?" He asked cheekily, watching the splash of red cross Sherlock's face as he realised that he was being stared at by the entire plane and hastily moved to sit down, tucking his shirt awkwardly into his trousers and unbuttoning his jacket swiftly as he did..
"Don't worry love" the stranger proclaimed loudly "I'm sure they disinfect the upholstery all the time." Sherlock looked questioningly at him, opened his mouth to rebuke him but was stopped in his tracks by the kind smile and whispered
"Sorry, you looked like the staring was bothering you so I figured, better off making them believe you're a snobby toff than that right?" he chuckled as he looked around Sherlock's body" They properly think I'm your dad! Oh, and its John by the way, John Watson." In his peripheral vision Sherlock could see there were no eyes on him at all now, in fact people were actively diverting their gazes and that was quite nice. Sherlock Holmes had no problem with an audience. Loved them in fact, but only when he was being brilliant, not when he was doing something that they would try and use against him, ie being afraid of flying.
"Sherlock Holmes." He replied and John smiled softly at him, the brilliance of it highlighting the first strands of silver in his hair and the warm depth of the blue in his eyes as they crinkled up at the corners.
"Sherlock Holmes, now that's a name I wouldn't soon forget. What brought you to Florida so Sherlock? A girl?" John inquired quietly as the safety instructions began.
Sherlock thought about it for a second; technically yes but really no. "Not my area." He answered twitching softly in his seat as the statistical probability of the plane plunging to the ground came unbidden to his mind while watching the thirty year old single man demonstrate how to incorrectly use the life jackets provided.

If anything, John seemed pleased with his aloof response, grinning brighter and licking his lips 1.23 more times a minute. "So if it wasn't a girl, and I doubt it was the holidaying,you must be here on business." Mildly pleased that this one wasn't a total dolt Sherlock decided to tell him exactly why he was here, and let John take it how he would.
"There was a man, Hudson was his name, who ran quite a successful crime syndicate until he decided to brutally murder two rival criminals and get implicated in the crime." Sherlock went on to explain a bit more in depth and John leaned closer to hear what exactly Mr Hudson had done, interjecting every few minutes to ask medical questions or just clarify the story, staring enthralled the entire time. " The police wouldn't have found the evidence to get him sentenced as he should have been, I could. It was a favour for the woman seated in 4a that I ensured his death. I'm not generally in the business of favours especially ones that involve--" but all of a sudden they were taxiing down the runway and Sherlock's teeth clenched while he grabbed the armrest for dear life as the plane went vertical.
"Ah." John exclaimed softly "ones that involve flying. I see." Sherlock only inclined his head in reply and was shocked to discover that John's hands were around his: the first trapped between the armrest and his death grip, the second soothing over the knuckles of that hand in a gesture that few had ever bestowed upon him, an effort at care and comfort that he had not received in a long time. It was quite nice actually. Altitude reached, the terrifying vertical ascent levelled off and Sherlock, vaguely embarrassed, gingerly released the hand that he'd been crushing.
"Ah... sorry about that." He said as John methodically stretched his hand and cracked his knuckles back into position.
"No bother, you're not the first person to use my hand as a stress ball, I remember once while I was training to become a doctor I came across this heavily pregnant woman in the car park of a tesco and she was in labour in the front seat of her car, husband was in the shop grabbing dinner, and I had to just deliver it myself because there was no way she'd wait for an ambulance to arrive. So he comes out of the shop to find another man with his face under his wife's skirt and his hand in hers while she groans and I swear I've not seen anyone run that fast since my rugby days. Ended up with a broken finger from her, near heart attack from her bloke and down a jacket to their baby boy, Jonah." John chuckled at the memory and Sherlock relaxed back into his seat, beginning the story of how he'd solved his first case and revelling in John's laughter and obvious enjoyment of the story, of his story.

"Wait wait" John laughed around his fork "you puked in his shoes, showed him his wife was cheating on him and he hired you?! That's a man I'd like to meet!" Sherlock had long since stopped being surprised at the man's ability to make him smile and genuinely enjoy himself. Over three quarters of their flight had passed in the to and fro exchange of stories that ranged in topic from war to birthday fiascos, murder cases to childhood fears, words and laughter flowing between them as naturally as if they had known each other for years rather than a few hours. Even the in flight meal (terrible) hadn't put a damper on their moods, instead sending John on a tangent about his own cooking ability and what he was going to make when he got back to his apartment and causing Sherlock to regale him with the story of his first meeting Lestrade. Neither had slept a wink, and the necessary exchange of numbers had taken place so they could text while the other passengers slept, so the captain's voice telling them all the they'd be landing in a few minutes was an unwelcome intrusion on what had been almost a full day of being absorbed by just one person. Spell broken, Sherlock realised that seeing this man again was unlikely given his age being quite vastly greater than his own and the employment they both kept, a fact that he was surprised to say was making his stomach feel as though it was dropping through his intestines. That, and the fact that the descent had begun and John's calloused hand had taken his, seeping warmth into his skin, highlighting how different they were in its ruddy tan against his pale glow. Mrs Hudson had been a bit more accurate with her predictions for this flight than he'd like to admit.

The mass exodus from the plane began in earnest and Sherlock stayed seated with John in silence. What was there to say? They had to get up eventually and as the last to disembark the runway was essentially deserted when they stood there, luggage at their feet, staring at each other for what could have been an age. In the end it was Sherlock who held out his hand for a goodbye handshake and he was suitably surprised when John took his hand and held, frowning at the ground and clearing his throat gruffly.
"If... if you ever feel like talking to an old man for a while, well, you know where to find me Sherlock Holmes." John smiled weakly and Sherlock nodded with the best approximation of a smile he could manage pasted on his face. John nodded and spun around to walk inside, pulling his suitcase behind him before stopping short and striding back apace to stand right in Sherlock's space, so close he could count the number of hairs on his head , and with a reverence a cloudy day in London could never have warranted, slid one hand into the curls at the back of Sherlock's head and guided their mouths together so gently that if Sherlock hadn't been able to feel the lips warm and steady against his own he'd not have noticed.
"I have to go but if this, if I'm something you might be interested in, I put my address in your phone and I'm there all week after today. Come see me." John breathed against his lips and then stepped back as a darkly coloured car pulled onto the runway, waving gently and then racing off with a phone against his ear. Sherlock for his part stood shocked on the tarmac, fingers tracing the imprint of John's lips on his.

"What did we just witness?" Mycroft asked his assistant from the passenger seat as she typed a brief message to the prime minister. She couldn't help but grin at the discomfort in his voice. "I believe it was your brother's first kiss sir. Should I beep the horn or would you like a minute to stem your gagging?" They were there for a few minutes more before she was allowed to alert Sherlock to their presence, and the entire drive back to his apartment was a test of her professional ability to hold back laughter at the blatant disgust on Mycroft's face and the pure shock on Sherlock's. Maybe later she'd tell the boss that the man who'd seduced his brother was the same man who'd wrote the book on his bedside locker. Maybe.

Chapter Text

Prompt 44: Drop

If irritability was to take a human form, it would have been Sherlock. To say he was on edge was an understatement and a half, and the rising degree of frustration he was grappling with meant a break down was almost certainly on the horizon. John for his part had learned quite quickly that the only way to survive these spells was to batten down the hatches and ignore and avoid, leaving food and drink around for him so he didn't die. That way Sherlock could have the peace and quiet he needed to think his way out of whatever problem it was he was having and John wouldn't have to pretend the constant stream of venomous insults were OK with him.

This time, for whatever reason, was different. Top record for duration of the highly strung periods had been four days, and then a case had taken over their lives and put it to bed. They were seven days in to this one and in John's eyes there was no reprieve in sight, if anything Sherlock was getting worse, constantly clenching his jaw, pacing, yelling and throwing himself on the couch all while glaring at John as if he'd done something terrible like hidden a body without Sherlock's help. It had gotten to the point where he felt uncomfortable leaving it to peter out on its own. To be fair he never in a million years would have guessed at what Sherlock would ask of him.

"Sherlock, listen, I don't know what exactly is going on with you but if there's anything I can do, anything you need from me, just say the word alright?" John said tentatively to his back as he lay curled up in the couch. It was as if he could see the moment Sherlock's ears pricked up, his interest piqued.
"Anything? You're willing to give me free reign to ask anything I desire of you? Are you sure that's wise?" Sherlock asked archly, face still stuffed in cushions. He wasn't wrong, but John was fairly certain that Sherlock wouldn't ask him for something that he wouldn't be willing or able to give.
"Anything you want. I trust your judgment, I know you'll only ask for something you know I can give. So, think about it, I'll be in the kitchen when you're ready." John smoothed a hand gently over his back before he went, hoping the gesture conveyed the fact that he was a bit worried about his best mate and would like to help, if he could.

Sherlock squeezed his eyes shut tightly as John's hand lingered briefly on his shoulder and then disappeared, along with the man himself, into the kitchen as promised. John's obtuse nature had meant two weeks of no sleep for Sherlock, and while he was all for staying up and doing useful things, like perfecting his Mandarin accent or cultivating his poison garden, but that wasn't what was happening. Oh no. Instead his treacherous mind would swirl around the idea that if John were present he would be able to sleep. Unproven conjecture on his own part and that was infuriating in and of itself. His first rule was never to theorise without all the facts. At best he had two facts: John was a frequent and practiced sleeper. The knowledge that he continued to breathe in a regular and calm manner was... comforting. John's potential influence on his own () issues was another matter entirely.

He had offered anything, and right now all Sherlock could think of was sleep. This golden opportunity would be wasted on something so mundane that he would almost be ashamed, if the thought of it wasn't so enticing. John's head on his pillow, his regular breathing pattern soothing Sherlock to sleep, a tentative hand in his curls maybe, the other wrapped around him, warm and possessive. It was a pleasing thought. Still, Asking for it would be uncomfortable. The likelihood of his pale complexion working against him was high, and blushing over this would make it worse. Still, it was late enough to request sleep, the sun had gone down and Sherlock was tired. With that in mind he dragged himself off the couch, tied his dressing gown more tightly around himself and made his way to the kitchen.

John had almost given up on the idea as a lost cause when he heard Sherlock move. It had been hours since he'd offered and there were only so many cups of tea a person could drink. The longer it had taken, the more anxious John became. What if it was something absolutely mad? He'd given his word and there was no way he'd back out now, but Sherlock could be eccentric at the best of times, so in this mood who knew what sort of crazy stuff he could come up with. In all honesty though, John was fairly sure he would do anything to get Sherlock out of the mood he was in. Which was good to have clear in his head as Sherlock slipped into the room and stood, awkwardly tugging at the belt of his dressing gown, about ten feet away from John.

"So you made up your mind then?" John asked kindly as the silence threatened to stretch. Sherlock nodded sharply and opened his mouth as if to speak but shut it again just as quick with a cough.
"I...that is to say... it might be beneficial... of course it also might not... transport absolutely betraying me... this" Sherlock struggled to articulate himself, a high flush on his cheeks "was an incredibly poor idea. I apologize." John frowned as he spun around and made to leave, jumping out of his chair and taking hold of his wrist, guiding him back into the kitchen and manoeuvering him into a sort of slouch against the table.
"You don't generally spend hours on a poor idea Sherlock, and I did say anything and I meant it. There's no need to be embarrassed, no matter what, all you have to do is ask."

John's problem was that he was too kind for his own good. Sherlock, listening to his soft reassurances, was even more conflicted about his request. There was a chance that this encounter could destroy their friendship, but God was he exhausted. There was no backing out now.
"Sleep. With me I mean. In the literal sense. I've been unable to achieve it myself and you seem to... of course you don't have to, I can think of something else" Sherlock all but watched the penny drop as John realised what he was being asked, and by whom. The blush that had undoubtedly spread down his neck wasn't helping him either.

John was a bit surprised. OK, ridiculously shocked. The fact that Sherlock wanted to sleep with him, literally or otherwise, was not something he'd expected. The man was a demon because he was sleep deprived? And now he wanted John to witness and facilitate him during one of the most vulnerable activities he could imagine, he trusted John to do that for him? The answer was damned obvious.
"Whatever you need Sherlock. Do you want to go now? You look wrecked to be honest." And now that he was looking for it, it was true. The dark circles, wild eyes, gaunt face, deathly pallour, he was a dead man walking at this stage. Sherlock's audible sigh of relief was encouraging, and the fact that he stood up and headed for his room was as good a response as any, so John followed.

Now that they were in his room, Sherlock didn't know how this would play out. Was he supposed to say something or ask about which side of the bed John would prefer? He resolved to be silent, tearing off the dressing gown and ratty shirt and throwing them in a corner before sliding into the bed, leaving the duvet corner open for John to join him. John made the decision to forgo pyjamas and stick to boxers and his undershirt, stripping down carefully before taking the invitation and getting into bed. It was awkward, with miles of space between them and John unsure of where the boundaries lay, they spent ten minutes laying in complete silence before Sherlock gave a frustrated grunt.

"I get the feeling this isn't exactly what you had in mind, come here, I have an idea, you just tell me if you're uncomfortable ok?" John prompted gently and Sherlock rolled closer, facing him with a look of wary caution in his eyes. As gracefully as he could manage John scooted just a bit higher on the pillows, until his chin was level with Sherlock's head, and then he closed the gap between them fully, nestling one arm under his head and the other around Sherlock's torso and insinuating his leg between Sherlock's, they were connected from head to toe on his part.
"Oh." Sherlock said quietly into the soft fabric of John's tshirt, enraptured by the steady thrum of his heartbeat and the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest.
"Oh you don't like it or Oh you do?" John asked carefully, running his hand in small strokes over his back. Sherlock never replied, just nestled closer and sighed happily in his sleep.
They stayed like that till morning.

Chapter Text

Prompt 45: Crown

 

(Or: 5 times John touched Sherlock and 1 time he managed to touch him back)

 

1.

The first time John had his hands on Sherlock's body had been a bit of a disappointment seeing as Sherlock had been drugged off his face and could barely remember the incident at all, let alone with the type of clarity he would have liked. As far as first substantial physical interactions with the person you had rather strong... who's company you wished to enjoy, it wasn't exactly up to par. Or even vaguely near it. 

For one thing, it was so very far from intimate even though there had technically been a bed involved in the proceedings, and it was a bit awkward knowing that John had had to bodily put him to bed, like some sort of helpless child rather than a potential romantic partner (not that John ever appeared to be willing to make good on that potential, however). Then there was the fact that while Sherlock himself had little to no real memory of the event, John clearly did because when he mentioned it John had chuckled to himself at the memory. It was all The Woman's fault of course, naturally she couldn't help but be an utter nuisance for him. Though the chances of John lifting him from the front door to the bedroom without her little chemical interference had been slim (not impossible, and wasn't that a thought) Sherlock didn't appreciate the 'assistance'. He was perfectly capable of getting what he wanted. Eventually.

Aside from anything else, the real problem was that there was a complete lack of reciprocation on his part, and John, being dense, would need the clear indication that Sherlock too was interested in this new facet of their relationship. And also, though slightly less so, the fact that John may not actually be' on the same page' as it were. He'd have to figure it out and once he did--

"Sherlock? Are you asleep or thinking or dead, because I was planning on ordering in and if you're dead that'll be really hard to explain to the delivery man. Indian sound OK to you? Sherlock?" John asked again, wiggling his foot gently with one hand as it dangled over the edge of the sofa. The contact, while innocuous and friendly, lit something in Sherlock's chest alight, the warmth of John's hand travelling right through him. Sherlock opened one eye and nodded his agreement before slipping it closed again, relishing the two soft pats John bestowed upon the arch of his foot as he moved off to place the order.

 

2.

"Come on, the faster you let me do it the faster it's done. Give me your arm, you know I'm just going to put something for the burn on and then pop you in a tshirt so it can be exposed to the air and heal. No stitches, no antiseptic wipes, just some burn cream, promise." John soothed, his best doctor's voice in play while Sherlock attempted to dress his own burns, something he was perfectly capable of and always had been, a fact he impressed repeatedly on John as he attempted to cajole him into allowing him to treat them.

"I'm fine, I'll keep the sleeve unbuttoned and that should be adequate." Sherlock attempted to swan past John and out of the bathroom but a hand, wrapped ever so gently around his uninjured wrist, held him back. He was frozen to the spot when a calloused thumb began absently swirling patterns into the skin there.

Everything was suddenly softer, the light, the skin where they were connected, John's eyes, his voice. "Sherlock. Let me take care of it, after all I am your doctor." He huffed a laugh and Sherlock, suddenly incapable of speech, swallowed hard and nodded his assent, allowing John's hand to lead him back inside and onto the edge of the bath. 

Carefully, so as not to exacerbate the burn that marred his (left thankfully) arm, John stripped the remains of the shirt off, leaving it dangling from the right shoulder as he set to work. It was a marvel to watch as John fell into a state of complete control and confidence in his actions, for him, doctor or soldier were skins that fit like a glove. The quiet was overwhelming, yet neither man strove to break the tension that burned between them as John smoothed cream across his arm, every so often meeting his gaze with a half smile and then looking away again while Sherlock remained transfixed by him. His hand lingered for a moment when he was finished as he stared at the contrast between his skin, lightly golden from the sun, and the pale white of Sherlock's arm, and just as Sherlock had worked up the nerve to cover the hand with his own it was gone. 

John stepped back and grinned, eyes locked firmly on his face. "Well, I trust you can get that tshirt on without too much trouble so I'm off to bed, see you in the morning." And then he turned on his heel and disappeared down the hall, the creaking of feet on the staircase following soon behind. Sherlock sat on the bath edge for what seemed like an eternity, until the ghost of John's hands around his faded away and he was left alone to contemplate his apparent inability to function when John was touching him. Next time he'd be ready, and he'd do something about it. He was certain.

 

3.

The problem he was having with movement and speech was only amplified by the fact that he couldn't see a bloody thing. 

When the lights had suddenly switched off in the middle of a fairly rapid getaway attempt, Sherlock had nearly leapt a metre at the arms that had shot out of the darkness and pulled him into an alcove, one finger placed cautiously over his lips. Once he had shown his understanding, John had slowly moved it away to rest with his other hand, which was to say that he wrapped it firmly around Sherlock's hips. In the dark, the distance between his back and John's chest seemed minute, buzzing like electrical currents ran in bridges between spine and sternum.

Neither of them breathed (The warm gusts of John's breath against his shoulder blade stutter and pause) as two hapless goons lumber right past their spot, completely oblivious of their presence less than a metre away. A minute or more of silence stretched out before John nudged him and they quietly made the originally planned quick and unnoticed exit, Sherlock thankful for the cover of darkness that hid his face from prying eyes.

"I think next time" John laughed when they were a secure distance from the building "we should probably try not to interact with the suspects in their own warehouse." Sherlock half bit back his answering smile as John looked up at him with a grin on his face.

"Well, where's the fun in that?" Sherlock winked, hyperaware of the adrenaline surging through them both, their close proximity, his heartbeat ratcheting higher as they locked eyes. Just as he felt the inexorable slide inwards begin, a gruff voice cut through their reverie and John jumped backward, deliberately looking away. 

"Oi you two, how many bloody times have I said that you're not supposed to bait the suspects? How many times? It's like talking to a wall!" Lestrade ranted, and Sherlock tuned him out. A minute more was all he would have needed. 

 

4.

In his defence the beating had served a very important purpose in the case, but he could see why it wasn't the best plan he'd ever had now that he was bruised to bits and aching. John's belligerent yelling wasn't exactly helping his headache either, although there was some small satisfaction to be gained from listening to Mycroft get a dressing down.

"..AND YOU ACTUALLY THOUGHT 'hmmmmm he can take them alone, I'm sure there are only a few men in there anyway so NO BACKUP REQUIRED'..." The miscalculation had been Mycroft's fault, a lack of solid intel and a very narrow time frame for the favour Sherlock owed him had forced his hand early, leaving room for mistakes.  

"...HE COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED! I DON'T CARE IF HE STOPPED TEN BLOODY ASSASSINATIONS IT'S NOT WORTH HIS LIFE! Not to me, and I would have thought not to you either Mycroft. Clearly I was mistaken." The pounding in his head intensified, but Sherlock couldn't tear himself away from John's words. Of course he knew in an unspoken sense that his life was worth quite a lot in John's eyes but John was champion of the innocents, always willing to sacrifice to save the many. To hear him acknowledge that Sherlock was more important to him than that hardwire need to save was a revelation. If he wasn't bandaged to the nines the temptation to physically show John how much he too meant in Sherlock's life would have overwhelmed him, as it was all he managed was a wince from his place on the couch when John slammed the door.

"Sorry. You really know how to pick them don't you, years of saying no to your brother only to have this happen the time you say yes. I'm starting to think you do this stuff to me on purpose." John remarked dryly, seeming to notice for the first time that he'd been in pyjamas while berating the most powerful man in Britain. Sherlock attempted a shrug and John rolled his eyes, strolling over to his side with a sigh. Gently he lifted Sherlock's head up and quickly sat down in the space it had been in before letting it rest in his lap, hands running in soothing circles and lines over the crown of his head.

  "Try not to do something like that without me again. I... worry." John admitted softly into the dark sitting room, already lulling Sherlock to sleep with his hands.

 

5.

Really he should have seen the hug coming. John was a tactile man, many of his emotions were physically expressed and happiness apparently was one of those that involved hugging. Sherlock. In a restaurant full of his peers and friends. 

The party had been Mrs Hudson's idea, she was convinced that John would enjoy a proper celebration for his birthday and while Sherlock's idea of celebration was a nice case or a forbidden experiment, she had a point about the party. He spent a week collecting phone numbers when John wasn't looking, texting each one with the details of his planned surprise dinner in Angelo's. Most were all too keen to attend and by the day there was a sizable number of people waiting in Angelo's for Sherlock to bring John to them.

He'd been careful not to allude to anything all day, although the temptation to watch him puzzle it out had been immense. In fact he'd barely acknowledged the date at all, a small gift of a new shirt and tie from Mrs Hudson forced him to say happy birthday but apart from that he'd been studiously ignoring the significance of the day.

Convincing John to come to Angelo's for dinner was easy, and the new shirt and tie Mrs Hudson had chosen were put to immediate use (He'd called John a suck up, and John had laughed up at him, happy out.) and the three of them traipsed to their regular haunt in good spirits, with John completely unsuspecting.

The surprise on John's face when he saw the place full of his friends was priceless, and he turned to Mrs Hudson for an explanation whom simply nodded her head in Sherlock's direction, and suddenly he was surrounded by John, crushed up against him for a few brief seconds, just long enough to get a whiff of his hair and feel the heat of him sear to his bones. It was over before he could react himself, arms hanging limply at his sides blinking owlishly at the gesture as John moved into he room to greet his guests. Sherlock swallowed the lump in his throat and realised quite abruptly just how far gone he truly was.

+1.

It was raining, a truly miserable downpour accompanied by gale force winds and a warning to stay in your home being broadcast on the news. Both inhabitants of 221b were warm and appreciative of the cozy atmosphere that they had created, warm yellow light flooding the sitting room thanks to an impromptu fire and both men in pyjamas and dressing gowns, enjoying tea and each other's company. Sherlock played soothing pieces on the violin to contrast the lashing of rain at the windows and the howls of the wind as it tried to enter their sanctuary. John read though his attention was stolen by Sherlock's fluid movements more often than not, until he gave up the pretends all together and simply revelled in the music.

The fire had died down significantly by the time John made a move to bank it, leaving them in semi darkness. Once he was standing John moved to be next to Sherlock and the window, staring out into the deluge with him and wondering what it was that he could see. The music faded out into silence and then it was just the two of them against the rest of the world. Thunder rolled overhead.

"That was beautiful" John uttered quietly as Sherlock placed his violin back in it's case at his side, and Sherlock turned to stare at him, silent. There was barely half a metre between them and John could not look away, Sherlock's eyes boring into him with something akin to confusion within. 

Lightning flashed, illuminating them both, giving Sherlock an ethereal quality that stole John's breath. He forced himself to be still, to wait for Sherlock to be the one who decided if they were going to be something more, either way he was head over heels and in this moment he was sure that Sherlock could see it. Sherlock opened his mouth to say something and shut it with an audible clack, clearly conflicted. Another flash and his hand was moving, gently tracing the lapel of John's dressing gown. Lightning flashed again and Sherlock was standing inches from him, a questioning look in his eyes, and John smiled at him softly, allowing one hand to run through riotous curls as it had months ago, hoping Sherlock would not lose his nerve, that he knew how he was loved by John even then.The answering smile on Sherlock's face was reverent and awed, and just when John thought his heart couldn't ache any more, Sherlock kissed him and lightning crashed around them.

A heart stopping, soul wrenching kiss, chaste and warm and terrified still, giant hands cupping his face and so desperately loving him sort of kiss. John was overwhelmed by him, by the desperation with which every part of him tried to show John that Sherlock wanted to be his even if Sherlock had never given any clear indication. He was shaking against him, and when they finally broke apart, John rested his forehead against Sherlock's and coaxed him into opening his eyes with a thumb sweeping across his lips, his cheek, his jaw. For this, he wanted his full attention.

"I love you"

 

 

Chapter Text

Prompt 46: Last

 

 

 

"Here dwell together still two men of note,

 

Who never lived and so can never die:

 

How very near they seem, yet how remote

 

That age before the world went all awry.

 

But still the game's afoot for those with ears

 

Tuned to catch the distant view-halloo:

 

England is England yet, for all our fears-

 

Only those things the heart believes are true.

 

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane 

 

As night descends upon this fabled street: 

 

A lonely hansom cab splashes through the rain,

 

The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.

 

Here, though the world explode, these two survive,

 

And it is always eighteen ninety five."

 

-221b, V.Stratton

 

 



Snow swirled, pure white and glistening through the cobbled streets of London, blustering around carriages and cloaks to fall silently on the ground and just as quickly turn grey and squelchy under feet. November had been bitterly cold and while most were attempting to remain indoors in so far as one can, the criminal world was not so deterred by adverse weather conditions. Rather a pity, that. For Holmes this was a gift of stellar proportions, chases were made twice as exciting in the navigating of ice on the roads and the general lack of visibility while evidence (or dismembered parts) was preserved beautifully by London itself.

 

"Must you be quite so fastidious in your note taking Watson? Half the time the most relevant details are forgotten about anyway and you're currently ignoring the actual events you write about occurring, Master Smyth won't reassemble himself you know!" Holmes quipped cheerily as he manoeuvred a lump of what was probably torso at one point a small degree to the left. Watson smiled and tucked his notebook away with an exasperated but fond sigh, pulling his gloves back on before he crouched next to the detective as he attempted to reconstruct the various pieces of the late Mr Smyth they had managed to recover into something resembling a body.

 

 

 

"Well Holmes, now that you have my full attention, what do you make of it?" He asked, gesturing to the scattered bits of flesh around them. Holmes had been rushing about all day to find what they had now before them and there were still a few key... parts... unaccounted for. Few of Lestrade's men had been able to stomach it, a fact that brought Holmes no small amount of pleasure as it meant they were left to their own devices, a rare occurrence in their work for Scotland Yard.

 

 

 

Holmes pointed to a section that, based on it's placement in relation to the rest of the pieces and the hunk of bone sticking out of it, was probably a hip piece and turned to face him with an encouraging look.

 

"Tell me what you see, and I shall reveal all I have deduced afterward." Watson raised his brow at the request, a not unfamiliar one but one Watson could have gone without. On the rare occasion that he said anything of use, it was unwittingly, a jumping off point that Holmes used rather than a discovery of significance to the case. These small tests of skill were often Holmes' way of checking whether proximity to genius had made him any more intelligent, as the medical knowledge he had alone was quite extensive, there was no reason for Watson's opinion, although he would ask for it each case they took. Potentially to add legitimacy to the endeavour, after all having a certified doctor to confirm his findings was quite useful for the Yard when they brought a case before the court. Still, having one's lack of deductive ability pointed out was not exactly a pleasant experience. He spoke each time regardless.

 

"Well, it looks to be the hip" he began warily, Holmes' slight nod all he required to continue " there is some bruising on the surface, although quite what caused it I can't fathom without the full picture... the bone looks healthy for something that has been hacked apart with what I believe to be an axe or large knife? It is quite a sight bloodier than some of the other pieces we have so I would say it was one of the first cuts, potentially pre-mortem. That is the limit of my observations, now let us hear your own Holmes, for I am sure they are far more extensive than mine."

 

 

 

Holmes, beneath the brim of his cap, looked quite pleased at the attempt which, Watson supposed, was something. He looked much less severe when he was pleased and Watson couldn't help the swell of pleasure in his gut at the knowledge that his work was the cause. 

 

"You've been paying attention Watson! Just a simple leap that you missed this time, perhaps if you had, as you said, the whole picture, it would have come to you. The bruising is in the shape of hand prints, and female hands at that, the width, or rather the lack of it made that much clear." Watson gasped in shock.

 

"A woman did this?!" Holmes shook his head with a half smile.

 

"I didn't say that, although a woman did have a part to play, oh yes." Frowning, Watson puzzled over the implications of what Holmes was saying and only succeeded in tying himself in knots. Holmes sighed.

 

"And to think I was convinced you'd almost gotten it. A lover, Watson. Our Mr Smyth here had a mistress, and a married one at that. Clearly they got carried away, I wouldn't be shocked to find marks of a similar nature on the lady in question, and those marks almost certainly lead to this situation." Now that he'd explained it the whole thing seemed obvious, a husband, enraged at the infidelity of his wife had sought revenge on the man responsible.

 

"A bit extreme don't you think? To want to get your revenge of course yes that is understandable, but to go through the trouble of butchering a man in this way, and then scattering the pieces all over town while apparently keeping his manhood as a trophy, it would have taken an awful lot to do it." Holmes nodded as he made to stand.

 

"I did say that love is the most vicious of motivators, why just last-- wait. Repeat yourself precisely, exactly what you just said." A gleam, bright with the turning of wheels in his mind overtook Holmes' eyes and Watson struggled to mimic himself exactly.

 

"Well, first there was a bit about how this is an extreme reaction, and perhaps I said something along the lines of understanding the want of revenge but that butchering another man in this fashion--" Holmes leapt to his feet and grinned, clapping his gloves hands together. 

"That's it Watson! Not an axe, but a cleaver, it was the butcher! Come along at once and we shall see if he is still to be found!" With that he was pulled to his feet and they were off, racing out of the alleyway past the sergeants stationed at the opening and off down the street to the butcher shop.

 

 

It took only a few moments of work for Holmes to get the lock open and they were inside, aware that their culprit would not be out in the open awaiting them, the logical place to begin looking was of course the cool room, where meat hooks swung and blood of all kinds (including apparently that of one Mr Smyth) spattered the floor and walls and it was rather dark, save for the open door behind them allowing at least a sliver of light to reach them as they walked carefully further in. It was this light that allowed Watson to see the shadow of a cleaver raised high.

 

"Holmes, Duck!" He yelled before rushing at the hulk of a man, adrenaline pumping through his every cell, to knock him to the ground with a tackle as Holmes spun out of the path of danger. The struggle was a brief one after that, a few good hits were all it took to subdue him, and the arrival of a few constables and a lamp soon after was the cue for their departure, which was not taken without some small degree of consternation from Lestrade until they were finally dismissed, although not before Holmes had stumbled across the 'crown jewels' as they were, in a display jar on a shelf, and the butcher's wife tied in the corner. The constables had been suddenly very keen to be out of the butcher shop as well.

 

 

 

The hansom ride home was an unpleasant one, only due to the fact that Holmes had rolled across a floor covered in blood and other unsavoury things and as such was not exactly a delight on the senses. Dusk had fallen and the silence between them was one of ease rather than discomfort, with the snow still falling and people in their homes, silence reigned supreme. Watson's gaze drifted occasionally towards Holmes, only to find each time he was already being watched as their gazes met. He was not sure what Holmes was seeing, but it was clearly quite vexing. It was a relief when the cab pulled up to Baker street, and home.

 

 

 

"Oh there you two are, I was wondering when you would return Mr Holmes, after one of your little workers came running to say that you'd need a bath run and then scattered I was left quite worried that the hot water would go to waste. Still, not to worry now, it's all set up in the usual spot, tea as well Mr Watson, Just this once mind you, I'm not your housekeeper." Mrs Hudson exclaimed as soon as the front door opened and she chivvyed both men upstairs to their flat instantly and was gone downstairs before either had a chance to thank her. The bath, tin bright and water steaming sat carefully in front of the fire and Watson, seeing tea laid waiting for him in the kitchen made a beeline for it while he could hear the sound of buttons being undone behind him. Once the sound of water sloshing began he felt he could eat comfortably, although the feeling of being watched lingered, he did not dare turn around.

 

 

Ensconced in a chair Watson read the evening paper, shaking his head at the brief mention of their exploits and the implied expectation of the story in the near future. The fire was warm, the lamps low, curtains drawn tight against the dark and the chill and it sounded like Holmes was out of the bath. 

 

"Watson?" It was tentatively spoken, softly uttered into the stillness of the night and of course he would turn around, stand to try and source the ill that made Holmes, confident in his every endeavour, speak thusly. He turned to find Holmes much closer than he had anticipated him to be, and while he was indeed out of the bath, that did not mean he was in a state to be looked upon by Watson, but it seemed as if look was all he could do. Clad only in a towel held around the waist, Holmes was still damp and flush from his bath and Watson could not tear his eyes away from the water droplets rolling down from his hair, taking a path over his chest and finally disappearing into the towel line. He could barely think, but managed to wrestle a question from his lips.

 

"Holmes, what...? I'm not--" Holmes swallowed and there was no hope in his voice, his eyes cast down, unable to meet Watson's when he spoke next. 

 

"Watson... I.." he coughed and took a half step backward, and Watson was surprised to feel his fingers twitch with the desire to put him back where he had started. "I know it is indecent and improper and a host of other such sins but, try though I might... It is... you, are, rather... and I am hopelessly... I... John." His heart broke for him as he stumbled over words, the burden he had carried and would carry, this truth of himself that could never see the light of day, a cruel irony against a man obsessed with finding the truth. That was nothing compared to what his heart did when his Christian name spilled from his mouth, or when he finally met John's gaze and he could see such fear in him that the level of trust it must have taken for Holmes to reveal this secret, a secret that could see him imprisoned, ruined, castrated, was unbelievable. 

 

"I... If you are not... I would ask that you say nothing... you would have been the first so no crime has technically been committed and... Yes. Well. I apologize for this grievous lapse in judgement, please excuse me." That was the moment John stopped debating, stopped caring whether this would end in the ruination of them both for the terrible sin of loving each other. When he moved to turn away, to go and leave this behind for good, John reached out and lay his hand on his arm, softly, softly turning him back to face him.

 

"Sherlock" John murmured and Sherlock choked under the weight of it, just one word and he was in pieces already "I know the risk you took in doing this, how it has hurt you already to get to this point, unable to contain it any longer, I cannot bear to think about for it hurts me to imagine you in the same pain that I have felt for years. If this, if loving you as much as anyone has ever loved another, is a sin and a crime, it is one that I would willingly die for." The tears that welled in Sherlock's eyes, bright and sudden as he spoke made John hold the one piece of him he had in his hand tighter, and when, as he finally was honest with himself and Sherlock both, for he had loved him from the start, Sherlock's tears began to fall in earnest John couldn't help but pull him close.

 

 

 

"Oh love, I'm so sorry I was silent, surely you must have known how I loved you from the moment I was introduced?" Sherlock shook his head.

 

"If I had known that you... that you loved me as I have loved you... I do not know what I would have done. I am not sure I could have taken it." He trembled, half bare in the light of the fire and John couldn't stand it, to see him so uncertain even with the knowledge of his affections. Slowly he moved his hands upwards to cradle the sharp lines of his face.

 

"Had I known, had I even half your courage in this matter, I know what I would have done." John said quietly, thumb stroking from jaw to ear. Freshly washed, Sherlock's hair curled beautifully as it dried, a state John had never been privy to before today, only allowed to see the slicked back and finished product that Sherlock presented to the world. It was like seeing for the first time.

 

"What?" Sherlock's breath stuttered when John's hands held him, like he was something that was to be cherished above all else. John's smile at his question was one of anticipation, and as his hands brought them face to face, Sherlock could see why.

 

"This." John breathed it into the scant space between their mouths and then, with one last look into his eyes, closed the distance and kissed him. The inhuman noise that wrenched from Sherlock's throat as lips, warm and wanting, met his own was almost a sob, and before he thought about what he was doing he was clutching John to him, hands scrabbling for purchase at his back, and they were suddenly pressed together from head to toe.

 

 

 

The sound of fabric hitting the floor made John look for the source. "Oh." His eyes widened at the sight before him, and Sherlock, once he had caught his breath, realised the situation quite quickly. He flushed red, frozen to the spot as John stared at him in his nakedness, and while he stuttered bits and pieces of an apology and reached down to retrieve the towel, a hand stopped him. He looked up in askance and this time it was John's turn to flush.

 

"I... you may, of course, cover yourself if that is your wish but I... I am quite happy to have you bare for there is much I would like to do, to you, with you, for you...entirely your decision of course. Just to kiss you is more than I had ever hoped for... Sherlock?" As John's intentions became clear, explicit as they were Sherlock could feel his knees going beneath him, and John, ever watchful, caught him before he could fall, a pleased little smirk fighting it's way onto his face.

 

"You cannot say such things and expect me to remain unaffected! The very idea is enough to make a man weak, let alone hearing the words come from your mouth." John chuckled, steering Sherlock towards his arm chair and sitting in it himself, all the while removing articles of clothing until Sherlock was silent and he was down to vest and trousers, belt being the last thing he dropped.

 

 

 

"Where... what am I supposed to...?" In this, John had the knowledge, the art of it, and Sherlock, stiffening as he was under the hungry gaze John was giving him, did not know what was expected of him. 

 

"Come and sit with me." John smiled, patting the spaces next to either of his legs and an image of what that would entail, Sherlock bare in his still clothed lap, rose unbidden to Sherlock's mind. He was quick to put the idea into practice, legs spread around John's, hands braced against the arms of the chair, he was completely at John's mercy, and so exactly where he wanted him. Their lips met again with much more fervour than before, and John's tongue played at the seam of his lips, asking entry in a demand Sherlock couldn't refuse. The sensation was heady, as if his mouth was directly connected to all the pleasure centres in his body and the knowledge that John was inside of him, his dna inextricably combining with Sherlock's own was enough to have Sherlock desperate for his touch.

 

 

 

John was unsure if he could withstand even this small pleasure, not with the sounds, greedy and wanton, that spilled from Sherlock's lips making him wonder what Sherlock would sound like when he touched him, when he brought him to his release. Combining that with the way Sherlock began to writhe in his lap, seeking friction and pressing his hardness into John's stomach, John couldn't find it in himself to make them slow this pleasure. He was Sherlock's first ever, Sherlock was his first man, and they had waited in love and agony for far too long as it was. With this in mind John reached down and stroked, gently, and the groan it solicited, his name like a prayer from lips that he had made red, made him single minded: he would wring pleasure from Sherlock with everything he had.

 

Sherlock panted and grasped at the arms of the chair, rapturous in his pleasure as John took him in hand, teeth nipping at ears and neck followed swiftly by his tongue, eyes locked on what his hand was doing like he was seeing the heavens open before him (John was sure that he was), and all but growling words into his skin.

 

"Look, look how beautiful you are like this, and all for me. My God Sherlock, you don't know what you do to me. Yes, that's it love, give in to it, you're perfect, absolutely perfect." Words streamed constantly from his mouth, encouragement, praise, worship all breathed into him while he could say nothing but John. Each small touch was a new ecstasy, and Sherlock whined when John's hand left him, flushed red and aching with the need for release. With strength Sherlock could not have hoped to posses at the moment, John lifted him and flipped them, settling Sherlock back into the chair and then dropping to his knees.

 

"If you are amenable I would... I cannot think of a way to inquire without sounding pornographic, but I would taste you, if you are amenable, and after, when we have both found our release, I would take you to bed with me simply for the pleasure of being at your side." Sherlock could barely breathe, the thought of John's competent tongue coaxing him to climax and perhaps even seeing John's own release, added on to John's desire to lay with him in the most innocent sense of the word simply took his breath from him. John's eyes bored into his own, blue as the sky and sparkling as he nodded his consent.

 

 

 

The second John's lips parted around him he was done for, certain he would not last for more than another minute at best. Looking down at him, the picture of contentment with Sherlock's prick sliding in and out of his mouth was torture.

 

"John" Sherlock groaned and John looked wickedly up at him and hummed, sending sparks through Sherlock's entire body. John's jaw ached but he was damned if he was going to stop now, not when he had the velvet heat of Sherlock on his tongue, the sound of his appreciation loud and glorious as his rumpled curls and sweat slick skin. He'd forgone hesitance, and simply done what felt the best to him, and whatever got Sherlock to moan the loudest. His own pleasure demanded to be attended to and his trousers were open, his hand flying as he sucked and licked, revelling in the fluid that leaked in earnest into his mouth and hand. He felt it when Sherlock grew impossibly harder against his tongue and knew that this was it. He stared up at his face and waited for rapture to take it, hand and mouth both moving faster in anticipation.

 

"I- I am close, John! John, I'm about to, I'm about to, to, Oh!" White hot ecstasy flooded Sherlock's every sense until all was pleasure and John, crashing over him like waves. The sight of him, lips parted, eyes wide, back arched and skin flushed a dusky pink brought John to the brink, and the taste of him as he spilled on his tongue was all it took for John to join him. John swallowed all that he could, milking him until he began to soften and then finally releasing him before clambering into the chair and allowing him to rest against his chest. Neither man could speak for quite some time.

 

 

 

When he did finally find words, They didn't satisfy Sherlock's need to express the depth of his feelings. 

 

"John, that was indescribable, you were extraordinary, I... have no words for what I am feeling but know that it is more joyful than I have ever been in my life." John smiled, sated and so clearly in love Sherlock's heart aches with the knowledge of it. He pressed a kiss to Sherlock's chest and pushed his curls back out of his eyes and Sherlock was suddenly very aware that they may not get the time together that they deserved, for all the knew every minute could be their last before someone accused them and this fantasy, this utterly impossible thing that had grown in the silence between them, would be shattered, and he was afraid. To lose this would be worse than death.

 

"Shhshhshhh stop thinking. You were incandescent love, but now I think we both could use some sleep. Come with me, we'll deal with everything else tomorrow, right now I just want to feel your skin against mine and know that this is real, this is our future no matter what happens. To everyone outside of that front door you will be Holmes, the most intelligent detective I work with and occasionally write about for the paper, and though I might wish to claim you in front of the entire world, none will be the wiser about the nature of our relationship. Even if the worst does come love, the ends of the earth, prison, God himself couldn't keep me from you now." And Sherlock, wrapped up in a blanket of his arms and soon after in his sheets, believed him.

 

 

Chapter Text

Prompt 47: Into the firing line

 

AKA: The Wet Hot American Summer movie AU

 

"Coop, the camp goat took a shit in the infirmary that I'm gonna need you to clean up, and John, there are four campers stuck in the rope course I'd like you to deal with, I meant to mention it to you yesterday. That's pretty much it, I know we're all looking forward to the talent show tonight so I'll let you go, Sherlock and Irene have a lot to do anyway, as do the rest of you. I'll see you later, I've got to look in on Henry's astrophysics class." Beth dismissed the counsellors to go and prepare for the final day of camp and all the craziness that entailed. She had a busy day ahead of her knowing full well that this would be the worst day of work, the counsellors were always doing their own thing on the final day and just keeping track of them was trouble enough. Looking at her watch, she gave it until 1pm before she lost track of them completely. Sometimes she wondered why she had decided to become a camp director in the first place.

 

Sherlock rolled his eyes as Irene made the performers reset the stage at first positions yet again, her obvious displeasure at their attempt to perform a simple enough number beginning to grate. Of course they wouldn't hold a patch on the performance of Electro City from the first night but they were all trying, something he was growing to appreciate more and more. The fact that their choreography was good and they hit their marks every time didn't hurt either, as producer he was pleased with his work, Irene was the one who had the issues. 

"Maybe we should take a break? Let their voices rest until the show tonight, I mean, I know you had other plans besides spending your last day here in the theatre right Irene?" Sherlock asked innocently, mouth twitching at the crazed look Irene shot back at him before she took a second to breathe. He knew well enough that she had to pack still and that she was desperate to watch the capture the flag game, plus she had a very important appointment at the lake front to prepare for and him giving her an out, for whatever reason, was good enough for her.

"All right, we'll go over it once more and then break until the show tonight, I want full performance mode on guys, really sell it to me! A five, six, seven, eight."

 

John gently placed the last camper on the ground and watched as they scattered out towards the main body of the campsite and well away from the rope obstacles. Which, he supposed, was fair enough given that they'd spent a night tangled in it. To be fair,it was a bit funny to think of them being stuck, and when he'd come to free them he'd had to take a second behind a tree to compose himself before stepping into view.

 

"Hey John wait up!" Greg called to him, crashing through the forest with, surprisingly given how soon lunch would have to be prepared, Mike at his side.

"Hey guys, Not that it's not great to see you outside of the kitchen Mike, but shouldn't you be, I don't know, helping Gene?" Mike scoffed and rolled his eyes as they walked slowly through the trails.

"Oh, don't worry about Gene, he's not even in the kitchen himself, he's off fondling sweaters in his bunk." John's double take went by unremarked and he got the feeling that any explanation he got would be weirder than the original idea, so he didn't ask how Mike had come to be aware of that little tidbit. 

"I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but her tongue has been down more throats than water bottles have been. I wouldn't set my heart on her is all I'm trying to say Mike, It's probably not the best idea. Back me up here John, Abbey Bernstein isn't right for our Mikey is she?" Greg joked, elbowing John affectionately. 

"Nah, she's not for you, but I heard Gail's on the market again if you're looking, Mike. Although you might be stepping on Gene's toes a little bit there... maybe it's better for you to wait until we go back home before you try and hoodwink someone into being in a relationship with you." They laughed over Mike's grumbling, and John wished he had another summer to spend at the camp with these guys, six years of Camp Firewood summers, three of those as a counsellor and he wanted more than anything to stay. Sure they all lived in the city but they had other commitments, college and work and studying and other friends too, other lives entirely. It would never quite be the same as spending eight weeks each summer working, joking and living together. A gasp pulled him out of his own head and Greg's hand pulled him behind a fir tree. 

"Oh my God. Why haven't we been on the lakefront all summer?" He said in awe as six girls began to undress for an impromptu swim before their eyes. John knew for a fact that Greg was into Molly, a camper their age that had appeared out of nowhere and taken up the hot girl mantle next to Katie, but both of them were going for Andy rather than anyone else. The fact that she was there, bikini clad and smiling brightly meant that Greg couldn't help but stay, and Mike would be happy to remain as well. John however was not. 

"Guys come on, we shouldn't be here, it's a bit creepy" he whispered at them but Mike just waved his hand. 

"It's only creepy because you're whispering, talk normally and it's a fantasy coming to life." John shook his head and waved goodbye, very much aware of their eyes following him as he made for the trails back to camp.

 

Mike waited until John was out of earshot to speak again carefully watching to be sure he wouldn't be able to hear. 

"What is up with him? This is literally a dream I've had." Greg shrugged, tearing his eyes away from the game of catch that the girls had started.

"He's always been like that, whenever anything sexual comes up in conversation he just kind of goes away, he's a pretty shy guy about that sort of stuff here, but I've heard stories about him back home that you wouldn't believe.They call him Three Continents Watson at school according to my cousin's friend's sister's aunt's new neighbour. Maybe he's having summer dry spells and he can't break the curse! You know what I'm thinking?" Mike shook his head and Greg wondered how exactly it was unclear but explained himself anyway.

"We've got to help him get the ultimate!" Mike frowned.

"What, like get Katie to break up with Andy and get with John? Because I thought I saw Katie and Coop earlier getting all friendly so the chances of us pulling that off are pretty slim." 

"No dummy, we're gonna get him laid!" Greg exclaimed and started planning there and then, and when the girls finally got out of the lake they were long since gone, starting to put the wheels of their plan in motion. They scurried back to the bunks, completely ignoring John when they saw him heading towards the sports equipment shed.

 

Sherlock wiped a hand across his brow as he sat surveying the equipment shed he had just finished organizing, leaving everything back where it could be found next summer without his help. The wooden shed had been like a sanctuary for him, away from the pressure of Irene and the theatre, dark but cozy with it's single lamp light and his own territory even though he wasn't exactly sporty, his organisation skills were second to none. An inventory sheet pinned to the wall next to a birds eye map he was drawing the only way he could think of to try and ensure the job was done properly in the future and that his mark was left on the camp in the form of his system. It wasn't a massive thing but it was something for the camp to remember him by, a return of the fact that he would never forget Camp Firewood. He was just about finished his map when the sound of the door closing gently made him turn with a smile. 

John stepped into his space and looked up at Sherlock's face, blue eyes bright as he inhaled the scent of him, and Sherlock returned the favour, dragging his eyes up and down John's body from his ridiculous red shorts that matched the cuffs of his tshirt to the quiet intensity of his gaze when their eyes met, there was no need for words between them. The sound of John's shirt hitting the floor and seconds later Sherlock's joining it seemed out of place in the midst of the silence, but Sherlock couldn't deny that the result, a bare chest pressed against his while John held him close was worth the small distractions the sound of their clothes hitting the wood made. John kissed him like he couldn't imagine loving someone more perfect, slow and reverent in the knowledge that he had all the time in the world.

 

"What about Debbie? She seems like she'd be down, and I heard that bunk seven girls are all looking for some action tonight, some sort of pact." Mike thought about it but then shook his head, scratching her name off their list of potential girls for John.

 

John's hands seemed magnetically attracted to Sherlock's curls, he couldn't seem not to touch them when they kissed, stroking and pulling and nuzzling into them with gentle hands and perfect pressure, as if his hands had always know where they were meant to be. Each curl was uniquely beautiful to him, and he had often said that he was jealous of the pillow that got to hold them all night when he couldn't.

 

" Nah, she talks a big game but when it comes to it she just isn't going to have sex with somebody she barely knows." Greg grunted and rolled onto his front in the grass, absently twirling a long blade between his fingers. Finding a girl that would be happy to do the deed just because it was the last day of camp and John was a fairly good looking guy was more difficult than he'd anticipated.

 

It felt like even from that first day Sherlock had finally interacted with him (there had been a few years where, somehow though they were both at the camp they'd just missed each other), both of them cast in the musical as zoot suit guys, he had known him. Known him deep in his soul like they were meant to be, electric and terrifying though that first kiss as the curtain was pulled had been, it was like he hadn't been alive until their lips had met. After the show they'd met around the back of the theatre and in the dark of that first night they came against each other, Sherlock had had bruises from the wooden slats of the back wall on his lower back that only disappeared the next week. The electric feeling of John's kisses never did.

 

"What we need" Greg sighed around a cigarette "is a girl who's a free spirit and doesn't give two fucks what people think of her, plus doesn't want a relationship or whatever and also wants to fuck somebody today as long as they're half decent looking and presumably a good lay." Mike snorted and read over their list again.

"Like that's so easy to find!"

 

Sherlock could feel the fact that John thought he was beautiful, each soft caress of his stomach, his hip, his arms the kisses, hot and lovely that peppered his back as John pushed into him, leaning against the wall of the shed in an approximation of their first night. If kissing him was electric, having him inside of him was like an explosion, completely overwhelming but for the fact that John was holding him, pressed against his back and anchoring him to the earth with his hands and his breath and his unrelenting pursuit of Sherlock's pleasure. He loved him, had loved him for what John said felt like forever, would love him for what actually was forever, and though Sherlock wasn't quite sure why that was, he knew undeniably that he loved John too. When he came it was to the sound of John's carefully whispered love confession in his ear and the knowledge that John wasn't far behind.

 

When he realised it Greg wanted to kick himself. They'd only been talking about the solution to their problems this morning.

"Abbey Bernstein, Mike! I'm sure she'd be happy to get John in her bunk, after all it's not like she's looking to get married or anything in the near future so she doesn't need to be in a relationship to have a good time, and with all the guys she's been screwing around with I'm sure that bagging John on the last night would give her street cred. Loads of the girls like him after all, but we're looking for a one time deal here." Dubious though he was at the logic, it was a fair point that Abbey seemed to be the only girl they could ask without getting slapped, and her general lack of fucks given might work to their favour. This in mind they set out to find her and hopefully get her on board.

 

Only when they were both fully dressed again, though not in the clothes they had been wearing when they came in, did they speak, John's smile eager and reassuring at the same time.

"You ready for this? I mean, I know it's not technically official or anything and I know it seems like rushing but I want to do this with you, here, you know?" Sherlock grinned back at him and nodded, knowing exactly what he meant.

"I want to do it too, and whether or not the government thinks so, it's official to me and to you and that's all that matters. Part of me wishes things were different, that I could tell the whole world about you and how much you mean to me, and one day maybe we'll be able to do that too but for now, I want to marry you, so I'm going to go down to the lake, and in ten minutes exactly you're going to follow me, and marry me in front of the only two people in the world that know about us and it's then we'll start the rest of our lives together." John's answering kiss was lightning and Sherlock almost didn't want to break away and leave, but he had to. John's desire to be with him in the most permanent way he could think of was the only reason he let him go, but the ten minutes he had to wait before following him were torture.

 

Greg and Mike watched with mouths agape as Irene led John into the woods by the arm, disappearing into the greenery with him in tow and heading, if they weren't mistaken, towards the lake.

"Well shit, I think John's beat us to it! Come on, let's go verify the deed is done before we abandon our efforts." Greg waggled his eyebrows at Mike and together they made their way discreetly into the forest after their friends, keeping a fair distance between them until they made it to the same spot they had been in that morning and hid behind the same tree. The sound of flute music drifted towards them and through the foliage Irene came into view, playing a pretty melody in the sunlight.

"This is so kinky oh my God." Mike whispered loudly and Greg couldn't help but agree, who got a girl playing flute music for them before they had sex? Intrigued, they poked their heads out from being the trunk and were astounded to see an entirely different scene playing out before their eyes.

Beth stood with her back to the lake, a crown of flowers on her head and tears in her eyes as she spoke to the men in front of her, both of whom wore flowers in their hair as well. Their hands were clasped tight between them and when Beth's mouth stopped moving, they embraced tightly, smiling at each other with no regard for the people around them and then they kissed. 

"John and Sherlock are... are fags?!" He and Mike exclaimed in unison, utterly shocked, and they slipped away back to camp to decide what exactly, they were going to do about what they had seen.

 

"Do I look different to you?" John asked Sherlock as they sat side by side at dinner in the rec hall, close enough to talk privately but not close enough to be suspicious. Sherlock raised a brow at him.

"No, why?" John shook his head and took another spoonful of whatever it was they were supposedly eating into his mouth.

"Greg and Mike have been looking at me weirdly all afternoon and I don't know, it just seems like they know about us or something." The words were only just out of his mouth when the two walked in side by side and called to them over the noise of the evening meal. 

"JOHN AND SHERLOCK, THIS IS FOR YOU." No one paid them much mind, weird things happened in camp every day but when he tensed John's hand found it's way discreetly to Sherlock's back, a life line against anything the two might say. For someone as self assured as he was, Sherlock was incredibly sensitive to homophobia, and while being tossed into the firing line at dinner had not been part of their plans, hearing it from people that were meant to be their friends would be even worse. Mike and Greg strode across the room with a box and Sherlock's bags in hand, and John's heart clenched at the flash of fear in his eyes when they reached their table.

 

"We know about what you two did today and we just want to let you know that we are outrage-" Sherlock and John braced themselves for it, the rant that would out them to the entire camp and ruin not only what should have been a perfect day but also two very good friendships. "-Eously happy for you guys! If you'd told us sooner Greg would have switched bunks with you ages ago! We figured that you should get to spend your last night here together so we gathered up all of your stuff for you Sherlock and you guys can have cabin two all to yourselves, Irene already agreed to him swapping in for you in her cabin, and Greg has plans with Molly anyway and I have them with Abbey so two'll be empty and we pushed the beds together so that it's bigger for you guys too. We'll go now, leave you to it and all that." Mike spat quickly, attempting to keep from drawing too much attention by moving away very fast. "Congratulations, seriously.We didn't see it before but you guys kind of just fit, as weird as it is to think about, you make a good couple." Greg added at a whisper as he walked away, leaving John and Sherlock astounded with a suitcase and a blessing as a gift they couldn't hope to return.

"Do you think that means she doesn't expected you at the talent show tonight? Because if not I have a few plans about how my husband and I can put this generous gift to good use." John smirked as Sherlock attempted not to react to the hand on his thigh and the first official use of the word husband between them. In seconds he was up, suitcase in hand and moving out of the rec hall. John picked up the box and followed him, smiling to himself at the familiar sights that surrounded him and wondering how he'd been so lucky as to be sent to camp when he was 14, like fate somehow knew that this place would change his life. And later, when they were spent and sticky and incandescently happy, John too left his mark on Camp Firewood, carved carefully into the slats of the bed on the left hand side of cabin two was a notice for anyone that cared to look: 

"John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, Met at camp Firewood 1 June 1980.

Married at Camp Firewood 30 July 1982,

The first day of the rest of our lives."

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Prompt 48: Curse



“You can’t be serious.”  

Mycroft tipped his shoulder in the barest estimation of a shrug. “And yet, here we are.” He drawled lazily as Sherlock turned once again to face the problem at hand. The problem, naturally, being one John H. Watson and his apparently magic induced slumber.



Now, Sherlock, being Sherlock, had come into contact with magic before.

As far as internationally guarded secrets went, it was one he had unearthed quite simply at the tender age of 9, even then having trouble with seeing things that he shouldn’t have.   One frazzled witch and a carelessly cast spell later, he had eons of research on the history and application of magic at his fingertips (regardless of whether the so called Ministry of Magic thought it odd that a septuagenarian witch was ordering school textbooks.)

 

Studying in secrecy over the course of a summer, Sherlock had put the information aside in case, as most things he took the time to study did, it became useful to him in the future.

 

When he began solving crimes, it seemed pertinent to look over the information again, and perhaps use it to his own advantage. After all, if a case could not be solved by regular means, who was to say that magic was not at play?

It had taken months of correspondence with Mrs. Figg, discussing how a method of magical detection might be procured or made, waiting for the necessary books and painstakingly outlining the process he had designed, waiting for Figg to test and trial and retrial, until finally an everlasting enchantment had been cast on several of his items of clothing - the coat, his scarf, some shoes, things he never solved a case without. In fact, he kept in semi regular contact with Mrs. Figg, the two of them crafting spells using a combination of scientific and magical theory. Last Sherlock had heard, their most recent publication ‘A Guide to Modern Charms and Enchantments’ had been swiftly added to the syllabus in a host of schools.

 

The enchantment that started it all was a complex one, and with good reason, as it allowed Sherlock to detect what he would think of as magical radiation, whether it came from a crime scene or a person within 4 feet. It was not overly shocking that one Ms. Anthea had magic in her blood (Her seemingly impossible habit of being several places at once solved quite easily when one factored magic into the equation), and Sherlock, having once been handed a magical baby , had ceased being surprised by finding magical beings all around him.

 

So, if he seemed at all confused by the current situation, it was not because of a disbelief in the existence of magic.

Rather, it was because of a disbelief in the failure of his own handcrafted (in association with one Arabella Figg and her wand) magic.

 

“Of course, I had assumed you were aware of the existence of--”

Sherlock scowled.

“That I am both aware of and in regular contact with a practitioner of magic is only to be expected, Mycroft, What is unexpected is the fact that, in addition to everything else, Ms. Morstan was able to conceal her own magical abilities from magic itself. Quite a feat, even for an adept witch, and one that suggests her prior knowledge of my own foray into spellwork.” Sherlock couldn’t help but relish the sight of cogs turning in Mycroft’s head as he attempted to connect the dots.

 

“Be that as it may, brother mine, I believe even you must be aware of the remedy for this particular curse.” Mycroft said smugly, gesturing to John’s prostrate form.

Sherlock frowned, his nose crinkling in lines not unlike the lines of the sheets on John’s bed.

“For once in your life, perhaps you could be forthright with information instead of trying to irk me.”

Staring down at John, his eyes shut tight, Sherlock was once again hit with a wave of guilt that roiled in his stomach. Until today, it had been weeks since he’d seen John, convinced that by staying away while he figured out what to do about Mary, John would be safe.   If Mycroft hadn’t sent a minion to check on the house after a few days of non-movement, they may never have discovered Mary’s flight, or by extension, John’s situation. It may have been days since John was sent into his sleep, or it may have been weeks. Either way, Sherlock wanted him to wake up sooner rather than later.

 

He missed John. In all aspects of his day, of his life in general, John’s absence was felt. How could it not be when he knew (too late) that he was utterly smitten with him? Loving John was a fact of Sherlock, and not being able to speak with him outside of texts heavy with the weight of everything unsaid, or see him face to face took its toll on Sherlock’s willpower every minute of every day. He’d been at breaking point himself, ready to burst out of his skin and in through John’s front door when Mycroft had called him.

 

In the second surprising turn out of the day, Mycroft forwent his usual habit of being cryptic and patronizing. His face softened from smug to something approaching fond, and when he spoke, Sherlock knew he was being sincere.

“Sherlock. We both know the solution to this. I remember reading you the stories myself.” It was gently put, in the way that, once upon a time, Mycroft’s stories had lulled Sherlock to sleep. It made the bitter tang of regret that washed across his tongue all the more potent.

“A well crafted piece of spellwork then. Always the clever one, Mary, leaving without a trace and taking the fix with her.” He bit out, clenching his jaw against the threatening tremble.

 

Oh , Sherlock. You can’t believe that, now, can you?” Mycroft soothed, pushing off from his perch against the doorframe and standing at Sherlock’s side.

Sherlock huffed a mirthless laugh. “Is it so strange to you that true love’s kiss would logically come from the woman he chose to spend the rest of his life with? The one he loves?”

“Love and logic don’t tend to go hand in hand.” It was Mycroft’s turn to laugh, a soft chuckle that belied his usually strict emotionless facade. “And even if they did, you still wouldn’t be right. Shall I be the first one to say it, or shall you?”

 

Yes, Alright? Yes I do love him, and yes I am well aware of how much of a disadvantage that is. It does not change the fact that he loves Mary, and therefore, by definition, would need her kiss in order to experience true love’s kiss because, and here is the fact of the matter, true love has to be requited.

Mycroft’s hand, unusually gentle, appeared at his shoulder, and they stood there together at John’s bedside while Sherlock shook.

“I know that you and I don’t always have the best track record when it comes to telling the truth to one another, but in this instance I would ask for your trust when I say that he loves you, and has loved you since that first case, if not since he first clapped eyes on you. Ah ah ah” Mycroft held up a hand as Sherlock made to interrupt “Trust. If you don’t believe me, or even if you do, there is a surefire method of finding out. I’ll see myself to the door.”



Sherlock couldn’t have stopped him if he wanted to, frozen as he was to the spot, blinking aimlessly down at John. John, whose hair had taken on an unbelievably endearing edge of silver in the light. John, who had turned his universe inside out and steadily put it back together again. John, who was more than any living being could hope to deserve and then some. How could it be possible that he would love Sherlock?

Lying there, face softened and open in sleep, John would have seemed diminutive to an outsider, vulnerable. But Sherlock knew the power that lay in those hands, lax at his sides, the speed his legs could achieve if given the right incentive, the core of steel that made him brave. Hidden beneath the mask of cardigan and slacks, John was a live wire, and Sherlock ached to touch, to feel, even if it meant electrocution.

 

Kissing him… Kissing him would be dangerous. If he didn’t wake up, Sherlock would search to the ends of the earth for Mary and wither away inside when her kiss did what his could not. If he did wake up, Sherlock didn’t know what he would do then.

What if John only loved him as his friend? He would have to be awake for Sherlock to find out.

Sherlock sat gingerly on the mattress next to John, their little fingers, just barely touching on the crisp white canvas of the duvet, seemed hopelessly intimate in the quiet of the room. He cleared his throat. “John. I think… I think I’m going to kiss you now, but before I do I would like to apologise in advance if you would rather I didn’t, and also for what will likely be a kiss lacking in as much technique as you are accustomed to. That being said, I’ll do my best. To kiss you. Nicely. Well, not nicely per se but as well as I can with you not being present.”

Fidgeting slightly with the threads of the sheets, Sherlock checked the curtains were drawn, and was relieved to find them shut tight. For the bedroom of a happily married couple, there was a distinct lack of photographs and for that Sherlock was grateful, the thought of Mary’s eyes on him as he did this enough to make him shiver.

He scooted closer to John and leaned down, hovering nervously over his face. “Alright. Here I go.”  Sherlock couldn’t help but notice, as he leaned in closer and closer, the particular honey gold of John’s eyelashes, and the warm purr of his breath, the gentle swooping curve of his lips, before he closed his eyes and fell into the kiss. Hoping that it would work, hoping that everything, and nothing, would change. He was already lost.

 

It was John’s hands, splaying across his back and into his curls, gathering him in, clutching him closer until they were chest to chest, that alerted him to the fact that John was back.

That, and the certainty, the hunger with which John was returning his kiss. Sherlock couldn’t help but whimper into his mouth, revelling in the softness of John’s lips, completely at odds with the heat of his passion, and when John pulled away, his stomach plummeted.

 

“Hey hey hey, none of that now Sherlock, I just wanted to see you for a second.” John brushed his cheek tenderly, blue eyes blazing as they bore into Sherlock’s. “Of course you look even more beautiful than I remember, you always seem to when I haven’t seen you for a little while.” Sherlock couldn’t help the blush that crept it’s way across his face a that.

John. ” He choked, suddenly unable to speak for all that he was feeling, for the delicate tracing of John’s thumb across his mouth, for the relief that John was ok, for the overwhelming knowledge that John wanted him too.

“Alright Love, it’s alright. I’ve got you, come here to me now, I’m here.”  Just like that John was pulling him up and onto the bed, rolling until they were lying with Sherlock’s head pillowed against his shoulder and their legs tangled together like they had always lain that way.

“John... I…” He wanted to say it. To just tell John exactly how he was drowned by the force of the love he felt for him, but his mouth refused to cooperate. Sherlock stared up at John’s face and wished he could find the words, wished he could worship him the way he had dreamed of for months and months on end. God, how he loved this man.

“I know, Love, and I’m sorry I didn’t know earlier, trust me to need a revelation like that to get a bloody clue. But I know now, and you love me and I love you, and I’m going to kiss you now because if you keep looking at me like that I might start crying on you.”


It was a compromise he could get behind. And if there were a few sniffles on both sides, well, that’s just true love for you.

Chapter Text

Prompt 49: Whisper

 

In the end, it’s the socks that do it.

It had been months since everything had settled, months since John had finally been able to come home. The fragility of those first few weeks had only been broken by Sherlock’s birthday, and John’s oddly touching (but then again, Sherlock would have found just about any reminder that he was still important to John touching) gift of socks.

Not just any old socks you could get anywhere; but cashmere, bamboo, handknitted merino wool, even silk lined, all in an array of shades from charcoal to black but with almost imperceptible designs that John had clearly picked himself.

 From microscopic skulls to chemical formulae for adrenaline to anatomically correct labels of the bones in the foot, each pair had been chosen with Sherlock specifically in mind.

When he had opened them, John had been quite nervous of his reaction – after all, their attitude at that stage had been more suited to walking across a minefield than living together again - but the genuine warmth that had lit Sherlock’s eyes had acted like a revelation and slowly but surely, they had gotten back to the way things had been before.

It had never been harder to stop himself from reaching out to touch, from wondering in idle moments if, underneath the layers of armour and shoes, perhaps Sherlock was wearing his gift, enjoying something that John had given him.

But time had made taking that leap, had made even looking seem an insurmountable undertaking. Sometimes John wondered when he had become a coward. Somehow the fear of losing Sherlock again was more potent to him than losing his life in a warzone had ever been.

 

Since the wedding, keeping in regular contact with Sholto had become a lifeline of sorts to a world where bravery was instinctive.

Weeks of emails reminiscing, and at times rueing, their time in Afghanistan were cathartic. Talking to James about everything that had happened to them both, painful though the memories were, had helped both men a great deal.  For those weeks when every conversation with Sherlock had seemed to end in an argument or consist of a lot of walking on eggshells, James had offered a different perspective on why things were so strained. As he said himself, guilt and anger were “familiar friends”. 

The first phone call they had shared was the second most heart wrenching call of John’s life. Having to talk Sholto down was difficult, mostly because John didn’t know what it was that he would find grounding, but he was fairly certain that talking about the war wasn’t a good place to start, and the fact that the only other time they had seen each other was at the wedding… it didn’t leave many options. So, finally, John had spoken softly about some of the happiest memories he could think of; about their time, brief though it was, together. About long nights spent awake in each other’s arms, and gentle hands on tanned skin, and secretive looks across tents. Until his breathing was something approaching normal and James had laughed shakily “Those trousers can’t have been regulation John, I still don’t believe they were” over the line.

That call was the first of many. Often, they were casual, but others were more weighty conversations about life, it’s many hardships and wonders, and even being in love- John could admit to James at least that much- and James alluded shyly to a maybe-someone-we’ll-see every now and then. Their last call had led to an invitation to visit James at home, which John had eagerly accepted, and was why he was thinking about the socks again now as he packed a small overnight bag.

Sherlock had spent the afternoon at Bart’s, and despite his buoyant mood when he’d come in (rustle of his scarf being whipped off at speed, sound of rummaging in the kitchen for his safety goggles, distinctive tinkle of bubbling Erlenmeyer flasks and pen scratching nigh on illegible notes), one look at John coming down the stairs and his face seemed to shutter off behind the clear plastic of his glasses.

The odd thing was, John was so used to the openly emotional part of Sherlock being on display in their home these days, that this was quite alarming. The mask only usually dropped when there were strangers or people they didn’t like about, or occasionally when Sherlock was having a Bad day and was reminded of something from his time in Serbia. He looked down at himself self-consciously but the blue checked shirt and brown shoes couldn’t be that offensive, and he’d worn one or other of them before since he’d come home.

“Alright Sherlock?” He asked warily, stepping gently across the hall and leaning against the kitchen door.

“Fine. You’ll miss your train.” Sherlock replied curtly, refusing to make eye contact as he swirled a flask of something around.

John glanced down at his watch, and Sherlock was, of course, right, but something felt wrong about leaving when he was acting so strangely.

“Are you sure? You seem a bit off and I don’t want to leave you if there’s something wrong, and we’ve talked about it before so, just say the word.”

Sherlock’s face softened just a touch and he finally looked up. “Really, I’m sure. I’ll… see you tomorrow?”

John grinned and nodded firmly “Tomorrow afternoon. Try to eat something, Mrs Hudson will probably come up later with tea. See you then.” Quickly, because he really was going to miss the train if he didn’t hurry up, John pulled on his coat and waved goodbye before running out the door.

 

Sitting on the train, John couldn’t get the thoughts of their exchange out of his head. It was something about the way Sherlock had asked if he would see him tomorrow. The way he had seemed so uncertain about it, or maybe it was that brief stuttered pause, as if that wasn’t what he had meant to say at all. It didn’t sit right, and John’s stomach churned anxiously the farther away from home he got.

“James?”

“Of course. Aren’t you on a train right now? Urgent?”

Sometimes John was unbelievably thankful that Sholto was so quick on the uptake.

“Yes, no, it’s hard to explain. I just have this feeling… that I’m supposed to go home. Like Sherlock might need me or… that there’s something crucial that I’m missing right now. I know it sounds completely mad- “

“I’ve trusted your gut since Kandahar Watson, and it never led me astray. We can reschedule, I’ll still be here no matter when you decide to come down. Go home.”

“I’ll let you know what happens, who knows, maybe I’ll be on the next train down.”

“I don’t think so, but we’ll see. I’ll talk to you tomorrow John. Good luck.”

As the train pulled into the next station John hopped off and went in search of a ticket for the next one home.

Pushing past people in his race to get home, back to Sherlock and whatever it was that was pulling him so furiously across the city, John couldn’t decide what he was hoping to find when he got there. If Sherlock was in danger, and needed his help, that would be a bit Not Good, but if it was nothing and he was being completely insane, that wouldn’t be great either. Still, he couldn’t deny the relief he felt as he turned onto Baker Street.

 

It being past 5pm on a November evening, was dark, and John couldn’t see a light shining from the window of the flat. His pace quickened to something just shy of a run, and yes, when he’d had to unlock the door his nerves had eased a bit, but it was still a possibility that Sherlock needed his help, so he kept rushing. Running up the stairs as quietly as he could, John listened at the door for a few moments before bursting in.

The sight that greeted him was one that wasn’t unfamiliar, but it had variations that gave him pause.

Curled up on the couch, his dressing-gown clad back to the world, was Sherlock. This position was one that could mean a couple of things, but usually (at least, as far as John had been able to establish any sort of connecting links between events) it meant Sherlock was feeling something, and feeling it keenly. It was less the act, and more the whole scene presented that troubled John.

Three things stuck out like sore thumbs in the familiar plateau. In the grate, a low fire was burning, with just a few dying embers still bravely fighting to keep alight and despite several hours having passed, the tea and chocolate biscuits left by Mrs Hudson at some point earlier in the evening remained untouched.  John hadn’t spent so many years with Sherlock and learned nothing. Plus, he’d once watched Sherlock drink tea that had an eyeball in it. It was the third, almost innocuous detail that made his heart judder in his chest. There, tucked almost under the cushions, were a pair of feet that were wrapped softly in socks decorated with tiny little chemical formulas.

 

“You’re wearing them.” John croaked, unable to tear his eyes away. The little hydrocarbon near his toes flexed.

He coughed, but did not turn around to face John. “Is it tomorrow already? Or am I still in my head…” Sherlock asked himself more than John, his voice muffled by the couch. In that moment, John couldn’t remember why he was scared to reach out, to tip them over that hairs breadth of a line that kept them from being more, from being happy. John crossed the room and, heart jumping in his throat, laid a delicate hand on Sherlock’s back. The feeling of keloid scarring and ribs and spine and beating heart under his dressing gown. Sherlock: Human, Utterly so.

“No. No, not this time.” For a second, as Sherlock tensed and pulled his feet up underneath the blue silk sheath of his dressing gown, like he was embarrassed, like he’d been caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to, John felt uncertainty creep in.

“John?” He breathed disbelievingly, his gulp audible in the silence of the flat. “What…you’re here.”

John huffed a laugh. “Yes.”

“But you… Sholto. Your shoes.”

‘My shoes?’ John thought to himself, momentarily confused. ‘Oh my god. My shoes. He thought I was going to get back with James.’  Suddenly the whole day made sense. Why Sherlock had shut off that afternoon, why it had run through John’s head, why he’d felt a pull to get home, like he was missing something important. He had been missing something completely, blindingly, obvious.

“I realised I’d left something important behind.” He had, God he had. The most important thing in his life.

“Oh.” Sherlock’s dejection was palpable, and John wished he would just turn around and see the evidence staring him in the face.

“Do you know” John began softly, slipping onto his knees as he leaned into Sherlock’s ear, “what it was?” He felt him swallow against his hand as the moment lengthened and Sherlock, slower than treacle, turned to face him. With barely a hand span between them, Sherlock’s wide eyed look and soft headshake were cinematic, and his shaky breathing raised goosebumps on John’s neck. He let a delicate smile cross his face.

“You.”

 

The first quiver of Sherlock’s lip as the word left his mouth was joined by watery eyes in what seemed like an instant. 

 “John.” Sherlock’s voice cracked, his name an almost sob, and John couldn’t stop his hands from reaching out to soothe, one tracing the line of his cheek and the other drifting through his curls.

John pressed their foreheads together, anything to get closer. The feeling of Sherlock’s skin against his like this was like a dream, a revelation written in their shared space. His own voice wasn’t exactly stable when he tried to speak. “God, we’ve wasted so much time. It’s always been you, Sherlock Holmes.”

Sherlock’s face was streaked with tear tracks, and John could feel the warm wetness of his own begin to fall. “I love you.” Sherlock sniffled and John had to kiss him. Had to show him just how much he loved him back, how desperately he was loved.

Their lips met and John kissed him with all he was, every second of love he’d held back, with every look of adoration he’d ever hidden, and all the worship he felt for the man that had made life something worth living. It was tender and passionate and the collision of planets, suns exploding, worlds being brought into existence, and then Sherlock was sobbing, a guttural sound wrenched from his depths, and John was with him, tears of relief running down both of their faces. John wrapped Sherlock in his arms, laying out on top of him as Sherlock clutched him close.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Prompt 50: Fridge

If they had been anywhere else, John would have picked up the phone. Sherlock still might not have, but John definitely would.

Well, to clarify, he would have, if he had actually had a phone in his possession to pick up. Which was why, laying in her private maternity room, with her contractions beginning to amp up in frequency, and listening to John's tinny voice apologize for not responding, citing case work or sleep or a certain detective stealing is phone for the fifth time, Mary wondered why she had ever thought the birth of their child would go any differently.

---

The first thing Sherlock noticed, as he began to come to, was how cold he was despite the thick wool of his coat separating him from the... concrete? Groggily opening an eye, Sherlock tried to reconcile what he was seeing with what he understood of the known universe- either the suspect's home had been hidden somehow inside a cheese factory, or he had stumbled into an alternate universe, or, and the longer he stared up at the towering block of cheeses, the more he was swaying towards this one, he had been discovered during the small, technically undocumented search that he and John had been doing, and then been knocked out and stowed away in somewhere that was familiar to their suspect, Henry Long.

In fairness to Henry, it did take quite a lot to surprise Sherlock Holmes, and knocking him out entirely was, Sherlock would grudgingly admit, mildly impressive. Particularly if, and Sherlock rolled gently onto his other side to take make sure, he had managed to knock both himself and John out. Which he had, but while Sherlock knew that he had folded like a sheet of paper after a single well placed surprise blow, John had clearly put up more of a fight; the split lip and puffy eye he was sporting as he lay on the ground a few meters away a testament to that fact.

There was a slowness to Sherlock's thoughts that pointed strongly at something like chloroform or maybe rohypnol, but how would he have ingested.... Sherlock's train of thought trailed off. If this was how it felt to be normal, Sherlock didn't wonder at the fact that the Yard was incapable of solving of crime: Their brains were like warm paste... Wait...The Yard! He should definitely text Lestrade, Sherlock reasoned, Or maybe Mycroft, rummaging in his pockets for his phone, that way someone would come and pick them up, probably with some of those ridiculous shock blankets. He delved deeper into each pocket, his suit jacket, his trousers - Nothing, only some lint and the silk lining. He clearly had underestimated Henry Long, because without a phone, with no idea of where they were, pretty much no brain power to work it out, and John still unconscious, Sherlock was in trouble.

He lay on the ground for another couple of minutes before trying, very slowly, to get up - an endeavour that his pounding head put paid to fairly quickly, leaving the detective slumped and panting against the tower of dairy products. A concussion. Wonderful. With no small effort, Sherlock scooted his way over to John, checking his pulse and breathing a sigh of relief at the steady beat and regular puffs of breath visible in the cold air. Hopefully he would wake sooner rather than later because as of that moment, wrapping himself around his husband's prone form, Sherlock had no idea what he was supposed to do next.

--

When John had first told him that he and Sherlock were having a baby, Greg had been... skeptical. It wasn't that he didn't trust them (ok, it wasn't entirely because he didn't trust them) with a child, it was more that he didn't see how a baby, or a child of any age, would fit into the insane life that they had carved out for themselves. Babies needed stability, and routine, and to be fed, and changed, and remain unexposed to dangerous chemical experiments. He loved them both dearly, but it would be a lie to say that the initial idea had sat well with him.

That changed pretty quickly when he had seen the nursery Sherlock and John had created out of John's old bedroom in 221. There was love in every inch of it, the care taken to include soft edges on even the dark wood rocking chair that was nestled into the corner of the room next to a cot that lay beneath a mobile of the solar system. The room had been repainted a dove grey, with a gallery wall of empty picture frames, and one filled with an ultrasound scan adorning it. Already, there were soft toy bees and molecules, a blanket knitted in Mrs Hudson's signature style, and even a tiny deerstalker hat. Even the rugs on the floor were made from what felt like clouds, but what sealed the deal for Greg had to be the well thumbed books that lay strewn around the sitting room of 221B; Parenting books of every description, analysed to within an inch of breaking their spines. This baby was already more loved than most of the people on Earth, and there would be nothing that Sherlock wouldn't d to make sure that he and John both knew exactly what they were signing up for.

That had been back in August, and since then Greg had even met Mary a few times, but not so often that, when her name popped up on his phone, he wasn't alarmed.

"Greg? Sorry to bother you like this." She said, voice slightly strained "But you wouldn't happen to know where Sherlock and John have gotten to, would you?" Greg frowned. The duo hadn't been into the Yard yet today even though they had an active case.

"No Mary, they haven't been through here yet today - why, is something wrong?" Greg sat forward, suddenly alarmed. What if something had happened with the baby?

Mary let out a chuckle. "Not wrong per say... Turns out this baby got it's patience from Sherlock because I'm in labour." Greg gasped, suddenly panicking. This was wrong, the due date wasn't for over a week.

"But I thought you weren't due for another week or two? Oh my God!"

"You're worse than I am, and I'm the one about to birth a child. Babies don't really like to follow the schedules we set out for them, even when they are planned down to the minute" (Mycroft had become just a bit of an insane person when he'd been told by Sherlock that he was going to be an uncle, Greg was pretty sure he had this baby's life scheduled out from labour to the first three years. It was his way of showing his support, and Lestrade was pretty sure that John and Sherlock appreciated it.)

"Mary, I'll make it my business to get them to you before this baby is born if I have to fly them to the hospital in a police copter myself."

The relieved smile on Mary's face was audible "Thanks Greg. Give them a bollicking about their phones from me while you're at it."

With that, Greg rung off and started texting Mycroft to check the CCTV for his wayward brother and his husband. They couldn't have gotten far.

--

John really wished he had gotten in a few more good hits on Henry Long before he'd passed out, because waking up to the iron tang of blood in his mouth was getting really old.

"Are you awake?" Sherlock whispered through his chattering teeth from his place wrapped around John like a schoolbag.

"How long was I out?" John asked, running a quick assessment of his injuries as he registered the cold, and the swelling of his left brow that made frowning both an obstruction to his vision, and a literal pain in his face.

"Couldn't say, I'm not working at full capacity, think he gave me a concussion before he stole our phones." Sherlock chimed brightly enough that John had to laugh while he groaned. Trust this to be the one time he couldn't rely on Sherlock's massive intellect to get them out of the trouble he'd gotten them into.

"Wonderful. Well. One of us is going to have to get up and figure out a plan, and I'm guessing from your frankly disconcerting level of regular human brain skill at the minute, that person is going to be me so off you hop." John could feel Sherlock pout as he let him go, and rolled around so they were face to face to give him a quick kiss. "I'm glad you're pretty much okay, you glorious madman. I'm going to get us out of here, all right?" Sherlock grinned at him.

"You always do."

"Stop flirting with me and let me up." John laughed affectionately, and hauled himself off the cold ground to get a better picture of where they were being kept. As he looked around, John felt like he was actually getting more confused. This was ridiculous, and he couldn't believe that this was where they were, but he was incredibly familiar with it. "Sherlock, when I tell you where we are, and you get your head on straight, you're going to be so mad."

--

Mycroft held out a hand as he walked, and Lucia dropped a file into it, tapping away on her phone as they moved into the control room. "They were last seen being bundled into a white transit van just outside the city, and I've got the delta team running through the footage as we speak to figure out their location now sir. Do you want me to call a car?"

Trust his brother to get himself into mischief on the day of his child's birth (contingency plan D: early labour coming into play. Unexpected.) and end up entirely uncontactable, and in the back of some criminal's van. Married life had changed very little about Sherlock and John, that much had become increasingly clear over the past few months. "Yes, as soon as we have a pin on them, send whatever we have that's fastest. Gregory will be on hand to provide a gentle amount of police escorting, but one can never be too careful when it comes to childbirth." Mycroft ordered, affecting nonchalance while Lucia smiled brightly at his side. It wouldn't do for his other employees to see in, but Lucia knew how to read him, and his excitement was palpable to her.

"Of course sir, consider it done. Would you like anything else?"

"Yes actually, if you could send a bouquet of roses to the hospital, and perhaps the baby bag from my brother's flat, I doubt they brought that with them in the van."

--

"And your people are certain that they're in here Mycroft? Because this seems a bit strange even for them." Greg said, holding his phone to his ear as he closed to door of his squad car.

"Quite certain Gregory, now in your own time, but quite quickly, if you could grab them and go."

"I'm going, I'm going, time is of the essence and all that, I just don't see why he would put them in--"

--

Sherlock frowned up at John from his place, draped across John's arms as he weaved his way through stacks of produce. "A fridge. Why on earth would he put us in an industrial fridge?"

"Million pound question that is."

"And how do you know your way around so well, it's like you've got a map."

John shrugged. "I'm pretty sure every 16 year old works in Tesco at some point. Well, not you, obviously. But all my friends when I was growing up did and so did I. I spent an entire summer working back here when I was 16 and it really hasn't changed. Just like the door lock can be opened from the inside if you hit it at the right angle."

"Remind me to tell you again how fascinating you are John. Fathomless depths." Sherlock smiled as John strode onward toward the door, the door that sprung open to reveal Lestrade, who had pretty much never looked happier to see them.

"You two! Come on, no time to explain - Mary's having the baby! Let's go let's go let's go! There's a car waiting for you."

John looked down at Sherlock for a split second, seeing joy and absolute terror, but mostly joy, mirrored on his face, and ran.

 

--

Rosie Mia Watson-Holmes is born weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces, at 6:17 pm on the clearest 5th of November for years. Her parents literally fall into the room a minute before she takes her first breath. They both cry when the hear her voice for the first time. She is the lightest thing Sherlock has ever held and he would destroy the world for her already.

It is late now, but Sherlock and John are standing just inside the room, cradling each other as they look through the glass of her hospital crib at her tiny, perfect, sleeping form.

"It's all going to be different now. Our lives as we know them are over." Sherlock whispers into Johns ear, his chest rumbling against John's back.

"Yes. But they'll be good different. Better. The three of us against the rest of the world." John replies softly, reaching a hand in to stroke her tiny and as she stirs slightly in her sleep. Sherlock's heart swells as he takes in this, the family he had never thought he would get to have, the love that he feels for them both making him want to stay in this moment forever as John sways softly and begins to hum a lullaby to their daughter:

"Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you, But in your dreams whatever they be....
Dream a little dream of me."

 

THE END