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"Bit Not Good, Sherlock!"

Chapter Text

 

Prelude

“What?!”

John Watson sighed deeply. “You really have to ask?”

Sherlock grimaced. “Bit not good again, yeah?” Not that he really thought it was his fault. Why had this bloody client-woman run out of the flat now, sobbing above all? Just because he had told her that her husband had not ended as a victim of a ruthless murderer but just escaped their awful marriage and was enjoying his freedom at a sunny beach?

“Bit not good at all, Sherlock.” John looked really displeased.

The detective shrugged. “I'm sorry?”

Another sigh was uttered. “No, you're not. We're going to have to work on this.”

Sherlock didn’t quite agree. This sort of work didn’t sound like fun at all…

Molly Hooper

“But… Molly!”

A scalpel dropped onto the tiled floor with an awful noise, even more awful sobs reached his ear and then he and John were alone in the autopsy room – apart from the bloody corpse of course, and it seemed to stare indignantly at him. Someone should close its eyes already!

Sherlock turned around to John when a deep sigh met his ear. “What is it now?! I just said…”

John raised his hands with closed eyes. “I heard what you said, Sherlock. And it was cruel and insensitive.”

“But it was just the truth!”

“Yes, well, sometimes people know the truth but that doesn’t mean they want to hear it from others, especially not from the person they… like…”

Sherlock scowled. It was not his fault that literally everybody he met was so unpleasantly squeamish! He was a man of science and facts and he had only stated facts. He couldn’t be blamed for people not being able to endure that and just explode!

Explode… What if he mixed nitro-glycerine and…

“Sherlock! No musing about experiments now! You will make it up to her!”

“What?! How? Why?” He had simply suggested her going for a coffee with the new pathologist, Dr Kaeffer, while Sherlock and John were examining the dead body. He didn’t have any hair on his head anymore and his teeth looked false but they had something in common after all – dead bodies. And since Molly couldn't have him, Sherlock, she should just give it a try, he had said, feeling actually very sensitive and caring, burdening his brilliant brain with hatching plans for other people's non-existent love life and giving such good advice. Actually he had just wanted to help! And this was what he got for it!

“You will… take her out for lunch,” John decided, not even bothering explained the 'why'.

“I never eat lunch! I…”

“Then you'll just drink coffee or water or whatever! Just be nice to her!”

“But I don't want to…”

“I know you don't!” John sounded seriously pissed off now. “I'm so fed up with you stomping on people's feelings like some, some…”

“Elephant?” Sherlock suggested helpfully.

“Yes! No! Elephants are very sensitive!”

Sherlock scowled at him. “Don't want to go eat lunch with Molly…” What would they talk about? Corpses? What else if not that? He knew he would be completely out of his depth. All this nasty emotional schlock. Holmeses couldn't deal with that and they shouldn’t be forced to!

His flatmate rolled his eyes in a very Holmesish way. “Okay, no lunch. Buy her some chocolates then! Women love chocolates!”

Sherlock trusted his 'every-week-another-girlfriend'-flatmate to know that, having no idea himself whatsoever what women in general or Molly in particular liked apart from – annoyingly - him. “What sort?”

John made a rather disturbing noise deep in his throat. “What… I don't know! Something nice and expensive!” Sherlock took a deep breath but before he could utter 'must I?' John shouted, “Yes, you must!”

Damn. John knew him way too well…

*****

“Um, hello.” Sherlock stepped from one foot to the other.

“Hello.” Molly didn’t sound very encouraging.

“Um. I… you know… Here.” Sherlock held out the package, wrapped in nice paper by the woman in the chocolate shop. 'Sweet Little Pleasures' had been the name. 'Hopelessly Overpriced Gifts' it should have been called…

Molly took off her transparent gloves. Her cheeks blushed when she took the package. “For me?”

Something about her tone and her expression was alarming but John was waiting outside the morgue, having said Sherlock had to deal with this alone. He wouldn’t have Sherlock running away without completing his mission. He would probably drag him back into the building by his ear. Sherlock didn’t like his ears to be pulled at. People had done that too often to him – Mummy, the nannies, Mycroft. And John. Again and again…

He cleared his throat unnecessarily. “Yes. For you.”

“Oh!” She smiled cautiously at him and then removed the paper from the box of chocolates. “Oh, I love them! That's my favourite sort! How did you know that?”

Of course Sherlock hadn't known it at all. He had rummaged in the shop until the lady behind the counter had come to him and all but slapped his hand away from all the different kinds of chocolate bars and nougat-bits and all the luring goodies. Sherlock liked chocolate, too. She had sternly asked if she could help him, definitely not expecting and accepting a 'no', and he had stammered that he needed a little present for a young woman, and she had nodded and picked something in nice colours and rushed back behind the counter to demand an outrageously high amount of money from him and deftly wrapped the paper around the box, and two minutes later Sherlock had been back out on the street.

And only now he saw what he had bought – a box of chocolate hearts in different sorts. Hearts! Even Sherlock knew that this was not good.

“Um…”

“Oh, Sherlock…” Molly's eyes were full of tears. Not the sad sort. Not yet.

“Um, that doesn't mean… Just sorry for… John said…”

Her face fell and he could see the tears rolling out of her eyes. “Of course,” she mumbled, lowering her head.

Sherlock felt horrible. Watson and his great ideas! “You… are really… nice,” he stumbled. “Very… And you…”

“Can't have you, I know,” she said in a tone that was on the edge of bitterness.

“But I like you,” Sherlock brought out. “I do. You're so useful and…” She winced and so did he. Good that John hadn't heard that… “No! I didn’t want to say…” Well, actually he'd had… But still, she was a very nice human. If she only finally accepted that Sherlock and nice humans were sort of incompatible, especially if they were female.

“It's alright, Sherlock.” Her tone indicated the opposite. “I should have known that… Anyway. That's a nice gesture. Thank you.”

Sherlock swallowed. She had to forgive him or John would have his guts for garters… “I didn’t want to make you feel bad.” God, how ghastly this all was… But he had no choice but to carry on. “I don't… feel things like you normal people. My brother and I…” Oh, yes, Mycroft… What would he have said to this unpleasant scene? How did he deal with all these VIPs and Royals he was surrounded by? They were certainly much more difficult to handle than Molly Hooper… Mycroft was every bit as averse to sentiment as he was… Anyway… “We are not like this…”

“I don't believe that, Sherlock,” Molly said very quietly. “I think you can feel as much as… we feel. But you don't because… nobody means enough to you.”

Well, yes. She sort of had a point. He did care though, in his own way. For John. For Mrs Hudson. And in a way also for Molly and Graham. Or Grant? Lestrade, anyway. But even he was aware that she wasn’t talking about this sort of feelings… “Sorry,” he mumbled again. “I didn’t want to… I merely wanted to point out that there are other men around you could… like.”

“Oh yes, old Doctor Kaeffer for example.” She didn’t seem to be pleased by him.

“Somebody, then. Somebody who… isn't me.”

She closed her eyes for a moment and more tears were pressed out from under her lids. “I know it, Sherlock. I've always known I can't have you. But isn't what you can't have exactly what you want more than anything?”

Was that a rhetorical question or was he supposed to agree with her? Because of course that was true.

She opened her eyes again and a small smile came to her lips. “It's okay, Sherlock. We are good.”

“Are we?”

She shrugged. “I know you didn’t mean any harm. Not yesterday and not today. Or at any other time when you were just nasty to me…”

Sherlock winced at that. “I just suck at this… feeling stuff,” he said with a nod and a vague hand gesture.

“Oh yes, you really do.”

Sherlock was delighted to see a genuine grin on her face. He knew that wouldn’t last though. Unrequited love was something terrible, John had explained to him. But wasn't it better to have spoken about it? So it wouldn't linger around them forever? So they could forget it and return to business?

“Well. Thanks again. I have to…” Molly looked over to the stretcher with the very patient patient. One with closed eyes this time, thank God.

“Oh, sure. Bye then. See you soon.”

Molly smiled. “Yes. You know where to find me when you need something.”

Sherlock really hoped she had meant 'in a professional way'. “Perhaps we could have lunch together some time,” he suggested, and added at once, “with John.”

She nodded. “That would be nice.” She sounded resigned and relieved at the same time.

Sherlock was just feeling relieved. Everything was sorted. They were good. John would be happy with him.

He said goodbye again and stalked out of the morgue. Hopefully he would have a really good case today. He deserved it. He demanded it. He had done well and there had to be a reward.

Gregory Lestrade

“I have to say I don't quite get it.” Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade scratched his grey-haired head with an expression of utter confusion even though it was clear as day.

Sherlock rolled his eyes in desperation. “Now that's something new! I'm surprised you don't have that on a t-shirt already!” He had read this somewhere and found it very funny.

Lestrade didn’t seem to be attempted to laugh though. In fact his big brown eyes looked rather sad. And behind Sherlock, John cleared his throat in this 'Dammit-Sherlock-You-Twat!'-way Sherlock hated so much. Only a year since they had started being flatmates and working together and over was John's stunned admiration for his brilliance already. Now he only criticised him like everybody else. It wasn't fair! John was supposed to be on his side!

“I don't get it either,” Anderson said from behind, very unsurprisingly.

Sherlock opened his mouth but John's hand closed around his upper arm quite painfully and he shut it again, grimacing. The doctor didn’t have large hands but they were strong

“Why don't you explain it for all of us?” John suggested, his voice not quite succeeding at sounding casual. In fact he sounded as if he was royally pissed off but didn’t want to show it, and Sherlock didn’t even need his deduction capabilities to figure that out.

The detective nodded. He had to remind himself that these people were no geniuses. They were idiots or half-idiots or almost-idiots. Everything had to be elucidated in detail to them so they could follow his complicated trains of thought. So he told them, gesticulating, step by step why the murderer of this woman who was lying in the middle of some pathetic piece of wild vegetation next to a public park could not be another victim of the 'London Slitter' as the press had predictably named him. Sherlock was secretly very upset that he hadn't managed to identify and catch this faceless phantom so far. But this woman had simply been robbed and dumped here and the knife hadn't been the same sort. The signs were so clear! She hadn't been arranged like all the others! The cut was going into the other direction! Her hands had not been stomped at! And all the other discrepancies he listed! The robber was living nearby. He had worn a green shirt and black trousers and he was a red-head. Clear as day! They would have him within an hour.

Nobody interrupted him and when he was finished, the men all nodded.

“I see now, okay,” Lestrade mumbled. “Pretty silly, me.”

Sherlock shifted his weight. Lestrade wasn't silly. Not really. Not like Anderson. He was a bit blind sometimes and didn’t observe well enough. He was the usual kind of idiot – idiot meaning not as smart as Sherlock. Everybody was an idiot. Well, except for Mycroft of course. Anyway…

He opened his mouth to tell Lestrade what he was thinking but in this moment the DI's phone rang and he turned away from him.

John stepped closer to him. “You're going to make up for that,” he said, in this casual non-nonsense tone Sherlock had learned to tremendously dislike.

Sherlock swallowed. “Chocolates?”

“Ah, no. Don't think so. I have another idea…”

Somehow Sherlock was rather sure he wouldn’t like it. But he also knew he would do it. For whatever reason, he didn’t like to upset John. John was like… home. He was his home. His best friend. Without the connotations everybody seemed to assume, even Mrs Hudson. Sherlock didn’t do such things, and John was as straight as he could get. Sherlock wasn't, of course. But… Ghastly things… He didn’t want them. Sometimes he thought of it, though. When he woke up in the morning with his annoying… penis filled out. He did take care of this. Sort of had to. Quickly, efficiently like he did everything. Thinking of some headless, hairy man sucking him off. Which didn’t make much sense if he thought about it… Anyway…

“Okay. But I'll have to catch this killer first!” It was enough that he hadn't been able to solve the other case so far!

“Sure.” John was generous now that he knew Sherlock would do as he was told.

Lestrade returned to them, and Sherlock explained him his plan, managing to roll his eyes only once when he threw in a completely unnecessary question.

An hour later, the killer was brought to prison and Sherlock felt as if he was high. Until John told him what he had to do to apologise to Lestrade…

*****

With a deeply suspicious look on his face, Sherlock sneaked into the pub. It was as ghastly as expected. Loud. Crowded. Beer glasses on every ramshackle table. And uniforms. Everywhere were uniforms.

He wondered why Lestrade was drinking in the same pub as the rank and file. Weren't there nicer etablissements just for detectives? It suited him though. Lestrade didn’t think he was better than the patrolmen… He was not that kind of man. In opposite to Sherlock…

He caught a few surprised and not exactly delighted glances while he was strolling through the room, avoiding having beer poured over his shoes by the busy waiters or the cops who went to the bar to get their drinks. What had John thought, sending him into the lion's den?! He had probably insulted 78.6 % of the people in here at least once over the past years because of their tremendous stupidity and insufficiency. And they still worked for the police which said enough about the organisation itself…

Finally he spotted Lestrade in the back of the room. He was sitting at a small round table all alone. Sherlock had known he didn’t fit in here!

When he reached him, Lestrade looked up from his glass. “Sher… Sherlock?”

Sherlock sat down opposite of him. “Yes. That's me.” Not good. No sarcasm now! He was here to make things better, not worse! He cleared his throat. “Hi, Gary.” Better to not be so formal.

“Greg!”

Damn! Why did he always mess this up? He just couldn’t recall this man's first name! “Sorry!”

Greg shrugged. “It's okay. You have more important things to think about…”

That was not good. Not good in the least. The man seemed to be depressed, not just upset about the wrong name or Sherlock's behaviour earlier that day. And Sherlock had no idea how to respond to this mood.

They were silent for a long minute. Then both of them spoke at the same time.

“You're a good cop, you really are!”

“I know I suck.”

They shut their mouths at once. Then Lestrade sighed. “I am, in a way. A good cop. I was a really good one when I'd just started at the Yard. Saw things other didn’t. Not like you of course but… These days… for years… I think I lost my instinct. Together with my personal luck.”

“Huh?”

“My wife. It was difficult for a long time. And then she left, with the kids. I hardly see them anymore. And when I do, they're like strangers. Missed so much about their childhood, being a cop. And now they are almost grown up, don't need their old man anymore. Happened so fast. Got a new dad now who buys them everything they want. Is always there, a man of private means… Not some underpaid copper who works shifts and can't even be at home at Christmas!”

Sherlock had winced under the increasingly loud voice, telling him more about the man's private life than he'd heard in the past years of working with him and much more than he'd ever wanted to know. Lestrade realised his distress and sighed, patting his arm.

“Sorry, mate. Didn’t want to get loud. Not your fault in the least.”

“John said I hurt you today,” Sherlock mumbled. Of course he had thought this himself, too. But he didn’t like to admit it. Better to blame it on John…

“Nah, not hurt, just… I feel a bit… small in your presence every time I see you and when you say such things… Perhaps I should just retire, go somewhere warm and nice.”

“You can't do that! Who will give me cases!” Sherlock protested, outraged.

Greg grinned and shook his head. “You really are some special kind, Sherlock…”

“I am. You are, too. Everybody is. You can't just give it up! Not your job – I'm here to help out if you're out of your depth.” Damn, that had sounded good, either. “I mean if I can help,” he corrected lamely. “And your children – they are still your children! No matter if their mother is with someone else – you are their dad. And they are old enough to understand why your job is important and kept you from being at home too often. Explain it. Talk to them.” He shut up, feeling utterly exhausted and like a total imposter. Who was he to tell Lestrade how to deal with his kids! Sherlock knew shit about kids and about being a father. He knew he'd never be one and he didn’t want to but he was quite sure it was a tough job.

But Lestrade smiled. “You know what - you're right. That's exactly what I will do!” He nodded to himself. “Allowed them to push me aside for too long. You wouldn’t allow that being done to you.”

Sherlock shook his head. “No.” But who would do that? He had always been the prince for his parents. And even for Mycroft, when he'd been a kid, although the parents had paid Sherlock so much more attention than him. Now? Who knew what Mycroft really thought about him? They rarely met and if they did, they didn’t exactly talk to each other… Oh, well, actually they did. 'Sherlock, you must do this!' 'You're getting fat again, brother.' No, Sherlock didn’t think Mycroft was very fond of him these days…

Greg had totally missed his thoughts, gulping down his beer. “Probably you'd kick their arses… Thank you, Sherlock. Who knew you care so much about me?” He winked at him and Sherlock didn’t know what to make of that. Was the man mocking him? Was he, God forbid, making a move on him?! And why did he not know that!

“Friend,” he mumbled, just in case.

“Sorry?”

“You're my friend. Not like John but… you gave me the chance, back then, working with you. You listen when I tell you something. You try to do better. You don't always succeed but…” He was really crap at this, nobody had to tell him. But Lestrade seemed to understand.

“Of course I listen to someone who is so smart. A git and a little too fond of drugs but very smart.”

“I don't do drugs anymore. Never will again.” John would break his back if he did. Mycroft would look very disappointed. Both ghastly…

“Good. That's very good. Now, Sherlock. Will you drink a beer with me? From friend to friend?”

“I thought I shouldn’t take drugs.”

Lestrade chuckled. “Touché. An orange juice then. Water. Anything.”

“I'll have a pint. One. And then some Coke.”

“Deal. If you didn’t mean cocaine…” Sherlock snorted and the DI laughed. “You know what – you've changed a lot since John moved in with you. You're still insufferable sometimes but the old Sherlock would have never come here to say sorry.”

He hadn't even done that, Sherlock just realised. “Sorry, yes. I came to say sorry! John sent me…” he added.

Greg nodded. “I know he did. But it is still your decision to do what he tells you or tell him to shut up. I'm glad you came. Good lad.”

“So you accept my apology?”

“Of course I do. And now I'll get your pint.” He smiled at Sherlock and the detective smiled back.

It was all good now.

“Thanks, George,” he said when Lestrade came back with the glass.

The DI laughed. “I don't believe you!”

Sherlock grinned. “Nah. Won't forget it anymore, Greg.”

They clinked glasses. “I wouldn’t bet on that, Sherlock,” Greg said with a fond smile.

Sherlock shrugged. “Doesn’t mean I don't like you. Never did.”

“Don't get sappy,” he was reprimanded with a wink.

“Far from it.”

It turned out to be a very pleasant evening, spent in a pub full of hostile cops but with someone who was now really a friend.

Mrs Hudson

It wasn’t Sherlock's fault! He would insist on this until his very last day! It was this boring, nasty day. Just one client, a five at best, no calls from Scotland Yard, nothing to do. He had passed the time with two experiments that failed, and he would really miss his left eyebrow, and then he sat down and shouted for Mrs Hudson as John had to go to some soddy agency, talking about his army pension. When she didn’t show up within twenty seconds, he shouted again.

She came upstairs, tutting. “You are screeching my house down, Sherlock! What is wrong?”

“I want tea!”

“And you couldn’t do it yourself because…?”

“Mrs Hudson! I am a hard-working man who wants his tea! And biscuits! Lots of biscuits!”

“I'm not your housekeeper, Sherlock!”

“But of course you are! You have nothing else to do!”

She gasped and then John was standing in the room, his face looking like the darkest cloud on a very rainy English day.

“Sorry what?” he asked, calmly, but with this certain light in his big dark-blue eyes.

“Nothing,” Sherlock mumbled.

“Yes, nothing,” Mrs Hudson spat out. “That's what people are for you, right?” And with this she hurried out of the flat, shaking John's hand off.

“Sherlock!”

“It's not my fault! It was so boring and you were not here and Mrs Hudson…”

John sighed and dropped onto his chair, stopping his explanations with an impatient hand-gesture. “You know what that means, right?”

“Chocolates,” Sherlock said in a bitter tone. Surely Mrs Hudson didn’t go to pubs where he could meet her and have a nice pint and a fine Coke with her.

“Chocolates and a pot-plant,” John said with a nod. “You were very nasty.”

“I didn’t mean to!”

“I know. I really do. Sometimes your mouth is running away with you. Sometimes you fall back into old habits. Bad habits.”

Sherlock sulked. This whole 'be-nice-to-everybody'-thing just sucked.

“No sulking! You know – many people like you. They really do. And I know you like them, too. You are almost thirty. You have to learn how to treat those people right! All people actually but especially the ones who do so much for you. Letting you into the morgue for experiments and examining corpses. Giving you cases to solve. Tidy up your mess and have your suits dry-cleaned and bring you tea. Don't take this all for granted!”

John was right, as usual. He was Sherlock's conscience. He'd never had one before. “I'm sorry,” the detective mumbled.

“Good boy. And now go and get the stuff.”

Sherlock nodded and got up. At least he had something to do now…

*****

An hour later he knocked at the door of 221a. Which wasn't easy with a soddy huge plant in one arm and a mighty box of chocolates in the other hand. 'No hearts!' he had hissed at the woman in the store. Not that he thought Mrs Hudson would misinterpret his gift as a love confession but… no way he would risk that…

She looked at him with wide eyes when she had opened up. “Oh, Sherlock! What is that?”

“Um. Sorry. This is… Well… For you.” He offered her both the plant and the chocolate box at the same time.

“Oh, this is so sweet! Come in, dear!” She beamed at him without taking anything from his hands, and Sherlock felt something nasty in his chest. Sentiment!

He stumbled into his landlady's flat. It was neat and smelled freshly cleaned and a little bit of the Chanel No. 5 she always used to wear. Somehow it always felt like another world to be in this flat. A world without crime or boredom or feeling wound-up. A place of... peace, for a lack of a better word. Damn, he was really getting soppy...

“Let's go to the living room, my boy,” she said, sounding irritatingly happy. “Oh, look at that! Such fine chocolates! And a plant! What sort is it?”

Sherlock grimaced. Of course the salesman had told him but he had immediately deleted the information. “I don't know,” he confessed and sat down in a comfortable chair opposite of her after putting his presents onto the wooden table.

“Ah, doesn't matter! Plants and I always become friends!” She reverently stroked over the thin leafs.

Sherlock didn’t doubt this at all. The small flat already looked like a jungle. But none of them resembled the green thing he had gotten. He really should have remembered the name. John wouldn’t be happy if she told him…

He tilted his head when he realised how smug Mrs Hudson was looking. “Molly told you about the chocolates,” he deduced, darkly.

Mrs Hudson smiled. “She said John sent you to buy them.”

“So this was all a ruse!” Sherlock was shocked. “You manipulated me into buying you presents?!”

“And that from a man who manipulates everybody…”

“No, that's not true. I don't. Not always…” Sherlock mumbled.

Mrs Hudson patted his hand. “Take it as a lesson, Sherlock. And I was a bit hurt. I do have other things to do than making you tea and being shushed to buy biscuits!”

“I know. I was just bored and… I'm sorry…” While he was here, he could as well apologise even if she hadn't been as hurt as she had pretended to be. Not many people could fool him like this. She was smart, this old lady!

“Oh, Sherlock. You don't even know what a sweet boy you are.”

“Huh?! Sweet?! Me?”

“Oh yes, you. Whoever gets to be with you one day can consider himself very happy.”

Sherlock was speechless. But then he wondered how he could have forgotten that she thought he and John were together… “Not John!”

“Of course not. Considering all the women he spends his time with, I didn’t expect this anymore…” She did sound disappointed.

“Not Molly!” he burst out, just in case this would have been her next assumption. But then he recalled that she had said 'himself'.

She shook her head with a knowing expression. “No woman will get you.”

“No man will either. I'm not like this. I… don't need that.”

She looked at him like a medieval torturer might have looked at a witch. “Not at all? You are not best friends with your right hand like any other man?”

“Mrs Hudson!”

She giggled. “It's nothing to it if you palm…”

“Mrs Hudson!!!”

She slapped his hand. “You don't have to tell me. Sometimes I do hear you moan in your deep voice though when John isn't at home over night and I know you are all alone.”

His cheeks were on fire now; he could feel it. He couldn’t remember having felt so embarrassed ever before… He would never wank again. And if he had to, he would bite into the pillow when he came…

“Oh, Sherlock, don't blush! It's so normal to do that! And it shows that you could have that with another person, too.”

“Please, Mrs Hudson,” he pleaded.

She giggled again. “You are like the son I never had. You can talk to me about such things.”

Sherlock bit his lip. He would have never been able to speak about something like this with his mother. She adored him and had always done so much for him, but she would have probably rather cut off her tongue than to talk about sex with him. He had never talked about that with anyone. With whom? His father? He didn’t even want to imagine. Father was a gentleman and very gentle. Sherlock couldn’t even imagine him in a sexual situation. Let alone with his mother. He shuddered. Mycroft?! He knew big brother had made some experiences when he had been a teenager but he was sure his brother had never touched a man since then. He found it ghastly like every human contact Sherlock was certain. Of course he could have spoken with John with his vivid sex life. But as a straight man, he wouldn’t understand… And why did he think about that at all?! Sherlock didn’t have a sex life!

“Oh, look at you. I didn’t want to upset you. Silly old lady, me,” Mrs Hudson said with a sad sigh, dropping her head.

“Oh, no, you are not! If I had a sex life, apart from my… right hand, and sometimes my left one, you would be the person for me to talk about it,” Sherlock hurried to assure her. She giggled again and he knew he had fallen for her performance once more. He rolled his eyes. “You're not playing fair!”

“Of course not. A little punishment can't be foregone.” She smiled and winked at him but then she grew serious. “You mean a lot to me, Sherlock, you and John, and it's not nice to be yelled at like you did earlier.”

He looked at her enquiringly and saw she meant it this time. He nodded.  “I won't do it again.”

“That's a good boy! And now I'll make tea and then we'll try the chocolates, what do you think?”

Sherlock smiled. “That sounds very good to me.”

“Perhaps I'll even find a fresh package of ginger nuts.”

“Mrs Hudson – I love you!”

Her giggle and her blush made Sherlock's day. It was nice to be nice – he had to admit it. Perhaps he would always be like this now.

Interlude

For a while, Sherlock could be very proud of himself. Most of the times, he took a deep breath before he responded to something completely imbecilic, annoying or boring and thought, 'What would John say now?' and then said something sufficiently polite. There were some minor slippings on exceptionally hard days or in very idiotic situations but it never escalated – thanks to John, of course.

“Anderson, you are such an utter...” [John cleared his throat behind him] “…expert, but on this matter I disagree with you.”

“Lestrade, do you really not…” [John narrowed his eyes behind the DI] “…I mean, let me explain it, Greg, please.” This had happened when he had finally solved the 'London-Slitter'-case.

“Mrs 'I-don’t-remember-your-name', do you seriously think…” [John kicked his ankle] “… ouch… I couldn't solve this case for you? It might be just a four…” [another kick] “… ah, four-minute case for me but I’m delighted to help you.”

John was his conscience, as he'd always been. It worked pretty fine. Sherlock grew into his kinder personality slowly but steadily. People even started to smile at him! It was disturbing sometimes, especially when Donovan forgot to call him a 'freak' once and almost smirked at him, but he nearly behaved like a non-sociopathic person most of the times.

And then his brother came along.