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Wait, What? What Romantic Relationship?

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“This is boring, John.”


“You're the one who thought this was a good idea.”


“Well, it would have been, had Spencer actually showed up.”


“It's early. He might still show. Do you want to wait it out?”


“I suppose we should.”


“Move over, then. I can't see anything but this brick wall, that skip, and the back of your head. What are we watching, the Opera Hall?”


“Yes. You watch the north end, I'll watch the south. Keep your eyes open for a tall, blond man in a light blue suit. He should be carrying a large leather satchel and a light pink bakery bag.”


“Right. A bakery bag. Jesus, this rubbish bin stinks.”


“Look at all of them.”




“The couples. All out on dates, trying to impress each other with their appreciation of La Boheme, dressed up to cover their unattractive bits, doused in scents to imitate pheromones, all of them playing a game.”


“Don't make it sound so romantic, Sherlock.”


Ugh. Really, what's the point? They all have one goal in mind, why not just set it all out on the table from the beginning? Hi, I'm Paul, and I'd like to mate with you. Would you like to mate with me?


“For God's sakes, Sherlock, surely even you understand that there's a bit of a ritual involved, a dance that's been enacted for centuries? Flirting, courting, anticipation, yeah? And they're not all just interested in mating as you put it. Some of them want relationships.”




“For companionship. For security and comfort, things like that.”




“Don't sound so above it all, Sherlock. You and I are in a relationship.”


“We're friends.”


“Yes, and friendships are relationships. You also have a relationship with Mycroft, and your parents, and Molly, and Mrs. Hudson, and Greg.”






“Oh. Right. Those aren't all friendships, though.”


“No, but they're all various kinds of relationships, and you're a part of them whether you like it or not.”


“I like some of them.”


“Me, too. I happen to like our friendship quite a bit. You're a good friend to me.”


“Hmm. There he is – there – let's go.”


* * * * * * * * * * 






“Did you email the report to Greg?”


“This morning. I don't know how he sleeps at night, not being able to solve these cases on his own. Spencer was obviously using the bakery as a money laundering operation for his stamp smuggling ring. Not even the dogs would eat those biscuits.”


“So, what's on for today?”








“Oh, for the love of God. Why?”


“Because what you said in the alley last night was intriguing. If I am, as you say, in several different kinds of relationships, I should know as much about them as possible.”


“This isn't rocket science, Sherlock. All relationships share some of the same characteristics, at their most basic. People care about each other, take care of each other, yeah? Are you listening to me?”


“I'm creating a spreadsheet.”


“Let me guess. Attributes of relationships in the first column, types of relationships across the rows?”


“Something like that.”


“I'm going out. Sherlock? Sherlock. Okay, whatever.”


* * * * * * * * * *


“Did you get the milk?”


“You didn't ask me to get milk.”


“I did. At least an hour ago.”


“I wasn't here an hour ago. I told you I was going out, but you weren't listening. You were too wrapped up in your relationship spreadsheet.”


“So, no milk?”


“Nope. How's the research going?”


“It's quite fascinating. I've made a list of all the possible traits associated with various kinds of relationships, then cross-referenced them against the people I know, and am now fairly certain that I have one professional relationship that borders on friendship, one sibling relationship with strong elements of antagonism, two parent-child relationships, although as my parents age I anticipate there will be some role reversal, two platonic friendships, and one romantic relationship.”


“What the hell is this in the refrigerator – wait, what? What romantic relationship?”


“You and me.”


“Sherlock, you and I are not in a romantic relationship. How on earth did you come to that conclusion?”


“The traits. It's all there. Well, mostly. Here, come look. Respect, honesty, shared interests, free time spent together, effective conflict resolution, open communication – although sometimes you don't listen to me –”


“Like when I'm not actually here?”


“ – accountability, trust, support, loyalty, affection –”


“Yeah, sure, but we're missing one big thing, Sherlock. The biggest thing.”


“Physical intimacy?”


“Physical intimacy.”


“Right. But surely if we have all the other traits, that's close enough, right?”






* * * * * * * * * * 


“Don't look now, but here comes Donovan.”


“Waste of time. Don't indulge her by responding to her insults.”


“Hello, freak. Thought you'd just stop by and mess up our crime scene?”


“He never messes them up, Sally. He's doing you a huge favor, and you know it.”


“Whatever you say, boyfriend.”


“I am not... we are not...”


“Well, John, according to my spreadsheet -–“


“Zip it, you.”


“You have two minutes before I kick you out of here, freak.”


“Five, or I'll tell Anderson's wife what the two of you were up to last night.”


“I don't know what you're talking about.”


“I'm talking about your adulterous relationship, Sally.”


“And since when are you an expert on relationships, freak?”


“Since yesterday when I plotted the various constructs against all the available variables. It was really rather easy. Let me know if you have any questions.”


“You have got to be kidding me.”


“Ready, John?”


“Have you solved it already?”


“Of course.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“That was good, what you did back there, calling Sally out on her adulterous relationship. She had that coming.”


“She's an idiot.”


“You think everyone is an idiot.”


“Not you.”


“Really? You call me one often enough.”


“It's a term of endearment when I use it with you, John. I just learned about them. It's a sign of our romantic relationship.”


“We are not in a romantic relationship, Sherlock. Friends can use terms of endearment, too, you know.”


“I suppose, idiot.”




* * * * * * * * * * 


“Hello, Graham? Sorry, Greg. No, it's not about the case. I was wondering if you'd like to grab a pint. Yes, with me. Because I thought it might be interesting to experiment with turning our professional working relationship into more of a friendship. Although we would still maintain the professional relationship when we work on cases together, of course. Right. Okay. Eight o'clock at the Horse and Monkey? See you then.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Grah – Greg. Thanks for meeting me.”


“Em, sure, Sherlock, no problem. Have a seat. John not with you?”


“Not tonight, no. He's on a date, which means he's cheating, although he doesn't see it that way. What are you having?”


“Glenfiddich on the rocks. Care for one?”




“So, what do you mean, he's cheating?”


“Well, isn't that what you call it when one person in a romantic relationship goes out on a date with a third party?”


“Ah. So the two of you, then... I mean, we all thought so, but you never said anything, never let on...”


“I've only just realized it myself. After doing the research. We share all the characteristics of two people who are in a romantic relationship, I just hadn't realized it before.”


“Not sure I'm following you, Sherlock. It's pretty hard to miss it when you're intimately involved with another person.”


“That's the one thing we're missing. We're basically married, except for the physical intimacy.”


“The sex?”


“Yes, of course. Although I think that hardly matters.”


“Hell, Sherlock, of course it matters. It's the defining characteristic.”


“Not necessarily. What about elderly couples who have been married for fifty years and are no longer physically intimate? They're still married, yes?”


“But they started with physical intimacy. It's part of their foundation. You can't start without it. You just can't. If you and John aren't intimate, then you're just friends. You have a friendship.”


“That's what John said.”


“I mean, are you attracted to him? No, don't look at me that way. You're the one who brought this whole thing up.”


“Attraction is nothing more than the release of certain chemicals in the brain, Graham, Greg. It's not actually that significant.”


“You really are something, ya know that, Sherlock? You can't be in a romantic relationship without intimacy, and you can't be intimate without attraction. Chemicals be damned, are you attracted to him or not? It's not that complicated. Do you want to kiss him? Touch him? Go to sleep with him and wake up with him?”


“That's … I'll need to take this under advisement and get back to you.”


“Another scotch?”




* * * * * * * * * * 


“How was your cheating date last night, John?”


“I was not cheating Sherlock, and if you must know, it didn't go very well.”


“I'm sorry to hear that. No, actually, I'm not. That's what you get for cheating on me. Stop staring. I'm only stating the obvious.”


“I'm only staring at you because for a genius you really can be awfully thick.”


“I talked to Greg about this last night.”


“Jesus Christ.”


“No, just Greg. He suggested something regarding foundations that I may have missed while doing my research. I'll be conducting some experiments in the next few days.”


“Involving what?”


“Us and our possible attraction to each other. Oh, you should wipe that up before it sets. Tea can stain.”


“Sherlock, announcing that you are going to do some experiments does not necessarily make those experiments acceptable. Two people have a mutual attraction or they don't. It's not a test.”


“So are you?”


“Am I what? No, you know what? I am not having this conversation. I'm going to go change my jumper and head into the clinic for my shift. I'll see you later. No experiments. Stay out of trouble.”


“Chinese tonight?”




* * * * * * * * * * 


“So what did you say?”


“What could I say? I said I wasn't going to discuss it with him, and I left.”


“And? How do you feel about all of this? Could you pass me that chart?”


“You know, Sarah, to be honest with you, I don't know what to think. I always thought that if anything happened between me and Sherlock that it would be more, I don't know, more organic. That it wouldn't be the result of some research, a proclamation that we are in a relationship, and then some experiments to test for our mutual attraction. It's fucking insane.”


“Did you really think it would happen over a candle-lit dinner? We're talking about Sherlock Holmes, after all. Here, can you sign off on that vaccination? Do you want to be, you know, intimate with him?”


“Well, like he said, we're practically married already. It's not like I haven't thought about it. Jesus. I'm sorry, is it weird that I'm discussing this with you? Do you mind?”


“What are friends for?”


“Thanks. I'm glad you see us that way. I've always felt bad for messing up that first date, with the acrobats and near death experience and all that.”


“No worries, John. I'm glad we're friends, too. And no, it's not weird that we're discussing you and Sherlock. Everyone does.”


“Oh. So yeah, I've thought about it. He's bloody gorgeous. God, those eyes. That mouth. It's hard to ignore.”


“So why don't you let him do the experiments?”


“Because it's just not on, it's not the way these things work.”


“I think you should keep in mind that it's the way these things work for him. He's not like everyone else. You've said it yourself, he's spent so much time blocking his emotions and locking people out, he doesn't really go about things like everyone else, especially not relationship things. So maybe just let him go about it the way that makes most sense to him. You might be happily surprised.”


“Hmm. Maybe.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Are you sleeping? John?”


“No. I'm just resting. What's up?”


“Can I take the newspaper off your face?”


“Here, take it.”


“Move over.”


“What are you doing, Sherlock? There's not room for two of us on this couch.”


“Just move back a bit. I'm going to sit here next to you, not lie down.”


“Fine. Ow, you're on my hip. That's better.”




“Hello, you idiot.”


“Oh, John, that's nice. A term of endearment.”




“Another one! What are you smiling at?”


“You. You're ridiculous. Why is your hand on my chest?”


“Experiment. No no, just try to breathe normally. Does this feel good?”


“Mmhmm. I think most people would say that they like having their neck stroked.”


“So it doesn't mean anything that you like it?”


“I didn't say that.”


“What about this?”


“Yup. Feels good. The scalp is usually pretty sensitive. Not too hard.”




“Not so much.”


“Okay. No fingers in the ears. I'll take note. Close your eyes.”


“I'm not sure I want to do that.”


“Don't you trust me? People in romantic relationships trust each other.”


“People in romantic relationships don't set each other's jumpers on fire.”


“It was just that one, and it was ugly. Close your eyes.”


“Fine. Do not, I repeat, do not set me on fire.”


“Of course not.”




Oh, indeed.


“Do it again, Sherlock.”


“Are you sure?”




“That's nice.”


“Have you never kissed anyone before?”


“No. Is it always that good?”


“Not always, no. You're, em, very good for someone who hasn't done it before.”


“Thank you. So?”


“So what?”


“Are you?”


“I need more experimenting.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“He kissed you?”






“It was good, really good.”


“Jesus, John. So, congratulations?”


“Not so fast, Greg. He's not done experimenting. Pass me a napkin and the mustard, will ya?”


“Experimenting? On you?”


“Yeah. The kiss was an experiment to test for our mutual attraction. Apparently you told him that attraction was necessary for intimacy, and that intimacy was necessary for a romantic relationship, so technically, I think I have you to blame.”


“You don't sound like you really want to blame me. Thank me is more like it.”


“We'll see. So how's the friendship coming along then?”


“With Sherlock? Actually, despite him declaring his resolute intention to become my friend, I'm quite enjoying it. We've gone out for pints a few times, and it hasn't been half bad. I have to prompt him a lot, you know, tell him to ask about my family, where I grew up, career stuff, but he seems to be catching on.”


“He's a quick study. I'm just not sure why he's doing all this.”


“Does it matter?”


“I'm not sure it does.”


“So, what's the next experiment?”


“I have no idea, and I'm afraid to ask.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Sherlock? I'm home! Hello?”




“What are you doing in my room?”


“Smelling your sheets.”


“Jesus God. Can I ask why? I'm coming up.”


“A person's smell is a big part of attraction, John. You weren't home, so I thought I'd smell your sheets. Now that you're here, though –”


“Sheesh, hold on. Could you not press me against the – Christ.”


“Did you know that different pheromones have different purposes, John? They aren't only for sexual attraction. They can illicit aggression, and animals use them for territorial marking, as well.”


“You don't say.”


“Tilt your head back, I need to smell your neck and behind your ear.”


“Oh my God.”


“What are you going on about? I'm the one smelling you.”


“I think we've got a couple of different things going on here, Sherlock.”


“Lift your arm.”


“You are not smelling my armpit, you moron.”


“It's so sweet of you to call me that. What else is going on here?”


“Well, you are pressed up against me, and you are rubbing your nose over various parts of my body, and … Christ.”


“I'm done.”


“You're... done?”


“Yes. Thank you.”


“And what were the results?”


“You smell amazing. I could smell you all day. Would you like to smell me? Why are you laughing?”


“Oh, Sherlock. Yeah, come here. Let me smell you.”


“Try my neck first. Now behind my ear. Eyelids have pheromones, too. Mmm. Ah, I see what you mean about the touching and rubbing. That's nice.”


“Right. Okay, well, thank you.”


“How do I smell?”


“Bloody fantastic. When's the next experiment?”




* * * * * * * * * * 


“Mycroft, I'm getting tired of these damp warehouses. I have this thing called a phone. Surely you've heard of them?”


“John, so nice to see you again, too. Thank you for coming.”


“Did I have a choice?”


“Not really, no.”


“So what is it then? Can we cut to the chase?”


“Why is my brother meeting Greg Lestrade for pints, taking Mrs. Hudson to lunch, and calling our parents every weekend?”


“He's working on his relationships.


“Dear God.”


“I know, I was a bit concerned at first, too. It's actually turning out quite all right.”


“Is it? And what, pray tell, brought this on?”


“The Spencer Stamp and Biscuit case.”


“I don't see the connection.”


“Can I get that in writing?”


“Hmm, an attempt at humour. Charming. And what about your relationship with my brother, John?”


“None of your business.”


“Oh dear.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Don't sit down, we're going out.”






“Dinner? Since when do you eat?”


“Since I realized that we're in a romantic relationship.”


“This isn't actually about food, is it? Another experiment?”




“Fine. Let's go. I'm starving anyway.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Sherlock! John! So nice to see you again! To what do I owe this pleasure?”


“Hello, Angelo. John and I are on a date.”


“We're on a what?”


“Brilliant! Please, take this table in the window! Let me get you some candles.”




“Sit, John, please.”


“This is a date?”


“A dinner date, yes.”


“Perhaps you are unaware that you usually ask someone on a date, you don't just take them.


“I did ask. I asked if you wanted dinner, and you said yes. It doesn't really matter, though. We're here to flirt.”


“Excuse me?”


“I'm going to flirt with you and see how you respond. My sources told me that a dinner date was an ideal location for flirting.”


“You're going to flirt. With me. Wait, what sources?”


“You know my methods, John.”


“Please tell me that you are not using your homeless network for tips on dating. Do you even know how to flirt? Oof, could you possibly sit any closer? That was rhetorical, Sherlock.”


“You smell great, John.”


“I – oh. Flirting.”


“Boys, are you ready to order? The wine is on me.”


“I'll have the –”


“No, let me, John. He'll have the veal scallopini and I'll have the chicken cacciatore. Thank you, Angelo.”


“You did not just order for me.”


“Clearly I did.”


“Sherlock, listen. I'm beginning to think you got your tips from a 1950's women's magazine. There's no formula, you know? No perfect recipe. You don't have to order for me, or hold doors for me – although I do kind of like that – or tell me I smell good. These things have to be natural, they have to flow more organically, and not be forced. You have to mean them.”


“Are you saying I'm rubbish at our romantic relationship?”


“Hell, no. No. I'm not saying that at all. You are … you are magnificent in so many ways. You're the smartest person I know, but you don't have to apply intelligence to everything. Not everything is a case to be solved. Just relax. Don't overthink it too much. What did you have planned for tonight?”


“I was going to say certain things to you and see how you responded.”


“What things? Do you have a list of things?”




“Okay. Forget the list. I'm going to ask you a few questions, and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Look at me. Look at my face. What do you feel when you look at me?”


“Happy. Warm. Like I want to beat you with a stick.”


“Happy and warm is good, the stick part not so much. Put out your hand. How does that feel?”




“Now, when I squeeze?”


“Oh. Close.”


“Look at my mouth. Sherlock? Hello?”


“Mouth. Lips. Tongue. Warm wet tastes good. John.”


“Okay. Come here. I'm going to kiss you.”




“One more. What is your heart doing?”


“Trying to escape.”


“Good. Mine too. That's it, then, Sherlock. See?”






“See? We are in a romantic relationship.”


“Not quite. Our food is here. Eat.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Do you want to watch TV, John?”


“Not particularly, no.”


“Do you want me to make you some tea?”


“You never make tea. What's wrong?”




“You just offered to watch TV and make tea. Something is definitely wrong.”


“I think I'm going to go to bed.”


“It's ten o'clock Sherlock, and we just got back from dinner. Why are you going to bed so early?”


“Tired. Wow, so so tired.”


“You're nervous, aren't you?”


“I have no idea what you're talking about. Goodnight, John.”


“Goodnight, Sherlock.”


* * * * * * * * * * 




“Move over.”






“What are you doing in my bedroom? What time is it?”


“It's two in the morning and I'm here because we're in a romantic relationship.”


“You said we weren't.”


“We almost are. Move over some more. Mmm, you're warm.”


“Your feet are freezing!”


“Sorry 'bout that. Come here. Put your head on my shoulder.”


“I can hear your heart beating.”


“Mmhmm. God, your hair is lovely. I've always wanted to touch your hair like this.”


“Feels good. Keep doing that. Ah, and that, down my back. That's nice.”








“I don't know what to do.”


“About what?”


“I mean...”


“Oh. Nothing. You don't have to do anything. Maybe just one thing. Kiss me?”


“Yes, I can do that.”


“See? You're good at that.”


“You're the good one, idiot.”






“Go to back to sleep.”




“Why not?”


“I thought you'd want to... you know.”


“We have time, Sherlock. Romantic relationships don't come with a stopwatch or agenda. Go to sleep.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“You awake?”




“Wake up, John.”


“No. Oh, well, maybe.”


“You like that?”


“Of course. Who doesn't love a back rub?”


“Roll over.”


“Hey. Good morning, idiot.”


“Good morning, twit. Am I hurting you?”


“No. You can lie on me all day.”


“I can't, actually. Lestrade called. Case.”


“Do you want me to go?”


“Of course. I'd be lost without my romantic relationship blogger.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Any ideas, Sherlock?”


“Twelve, so far. Make that ten. John, can you go into the kitchen and see if they drink regular or decaf? If they drink decaf I need you to check and see if there are any antacids in the bathroom.”




“I'll go with you, John. I need to check on Anderson, anyway.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“So, how's it going with the romantic relationship?”


“Quite well, actually.”


“So things have progressed?”


“They have. I think I've convinced him to stop with the experiments and just go with it.”


“Do I want to know what that entails?”


“Right now, not much. He's skittish.”


“Sherlock? Skittish?”


“You'd be surprised, Greg. But he's never done this before, yeah? Unchartered territory and all. He's not confident, not sure of himself.”


“Yeah, well, give him two hours, he'll have it all down.”


“God, you're probably right.”


“Looks like he found something. Let's go back out.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“That was brilliant.”




“Of course. You just caught a serial murderer based on coffee filters and antacids. It's amazing.”


“You think so?”


“Know so. Look at you, grinning ear to ear. Rather pleased with yourself?”


“Pleased that you're impressed. Taxi's here. After you.”




“Home. 221B Baker Street, please.”


"Not in the taxi, Sherlock."


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Hello boys!”


“Hello, Mrs. Hudson. How are you today?”


“Just fine, thank you, John. I just bought some pastries, will you have some?”


“Not just now, Mrs. Hudson, John and I are in a bit of a hurry to get inside.”




“Yes, em, I left an experiment going and need to check on it before it catches fire.”


“Oh dear. Right then, on you go. I'll save the pastries for later.”




“Get inside.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“Oh, that's good. That's so good.”


“God, Sherlock, you're so hard.”


“You did that. It's your fault.”


“I accept full responsibility. Come here.”


“Oh my God, your hands... that is perfect.”


“Feels okay? Not too hard?”


“Jesus no, it's... oh God, it's perfect. Why are you stopping?”


“I'm swapping my hands for my mouth.”


“Your mouth?”


“Is that okay? Can I take you in my mouth?”


“God yes.”


“Lie back. Spread your legs a bit. There you go.”


“Holy god. John. John. Oh god, oh god, just like that, don't stop, don't –“


“Sherlock, look at me. I want you to watch me do this, and I want to watch you come. There you go.”


“Oh. Oh, fuck. I can't … I'm going to … I'm … yeah, oh fuck yes.”


* * * * * * * * * * 


“You still with me?”




“Earth to Sherlock.”


“John. I can't see.”




“You broke me.”


“Try opening your eyes.”






“Jackass. That was amazing. That was really, really intimate.”


“It was.”


“So it's settled. We're in a romantic relationship. Stop laughing. I'm serious.”


“I know you are. And yes, we are. But I think maybe you were right all along. Maybe we were in one even before you started experimenting on me.”


“How so?”


“Because it almost doesn't make sense that this wasn't happening all along, does it? It just feels incredibly right.”


“Maybe in the future you'll listen to me the first time.”


“Probably not.”






"Let's make it really official, though."


"How are we going to do that?"


"Lie back and spread your legs."


"Oh yes, let's definitely make this official."