1. The Mills & Boon
“John?” Sherlock asked, leaning forward across the table at Angelo’s and causing a single raven curl to fall across his forehead in an attractively Byronic fashion.
“Yes, Sherlock?” responded John, involuntarily leaning forward as well.
“You know...” Sherlock continued slowly, distracted by how very very blue John’s eyes were, the exact shade of the lips of a drowning victim, “I once told you I was married to my work.”
“We... we’ve just decided to see other people.”
“Does that mean... Oh Sherlock!”
After that, they were never again given a candle at Angelo’s, but that’s because leaping across tables that contain lit candles is entirely too much of a fire hazard.
2. The Pool*
Whatever Sherlock had been expecting at the darkened pool, it hadn’t been this.
“Well, this is a turn-up.”
“...John?” he stared at his flatmate. Archnemesis? John?
“I can explain everything. I started reading your Science of Deduction blog, and I fell in love with you. I realised you’d never look twice at boring old me. I knew I had to do something to set myself apart. I realised I’d have to go to medical school, then join the RAMC so I could get sent to Afghanistan where I could learn to shoot a gun with uncanny accuracy as well as field medicine and hand-to-hand combat before getting injured in a way that would lead to me being invalided back to London with an interesting backstory for you to deduce and a pychosomatic limp you could cure, along with a case of PTSD that would make it hard for me to find a roommate until I stumbled across Mike Stamford and he led me to you, though since the limp wouldn’t be enough to keep you interested, I took the worldwide criminal organization I’d begun while stationed abroad and arranged for a case that would allow me to shoot someone for you, thus proving my worth to you as a partner and a flatmate.”
John was actually talking faster than Sherlock’s internal monologue, which was the third most surprising thing about all of this.
“After that it was a dead simple matter of continuing the reign of terror letting you get to know and feel affection for John-the-flatmate while being intrigued by Moriarity-the-evil-mastermind until the point at which I could finally reveal myself to be one and the same thus becoming the one man interesting enough for you, Sherlock bloody Holmes, to fall in love with.”
“John.... there’s only one thing I still need to know.”
“How fast I can get you out of that hideous coat.”
“You, ripping off my clothes in a darkened swimming pool? People might talk.”
Sherlock smiled as he began striding towards his archnemesis/flatmate/crush. “They do little else.”
3. The Nickname
Sherlock is bored, lying on their couch with papers splayed across his chest and legs. “What is the significance of the three continents?”
John looks up from his copy of the Guardian. “What?”
“At the reunion you dragged me to last week, I heard some of your old Army mates call you ‘Three Continents Watson.’ I was merely enquiring as to the origins of that particular kenning. I assume it isn’t merely a reference to your numerous military postings.”
“It’s a bit of a long story.” John cocked his head to the side, and gave his flatmate a long, considering look during which Sherlock felt the temperature in the room rise several degrees. “Probably be faster if I showed you.”
“Showed me what?”
Approximately 10.2 seconds later, Sherlock is no longer bored.
Three continents, indeed.
4. The Prophecy
“John, there’s something I need to tell you. I... I’m not... normal.”
John snorted, “Yeah, noticed that,” without bothering to look up from the journal entry he was rather labouriously typing using both index fingers.
“You...what?” Sherlock had gone to all the trouble of preparing a dialogue-tree (in his head, obviously) prior to this conversation. This was not on it.
“You do keep eyeballs in a jar in the microwave,” John pointed out helpfully.
“I’m not talking about that!”
“You wear that giant bloody coat all the time, even in summer...”
It was a very nice coat, and it made him feel a bit like Batman. Even though Sherlock was obviously a much better detective. “No...”
Five minutes later, Sherlock had taken to running his hands back and forth through his hair while pacing in the tiny room.
“You shoot the wall when you’re bored...”
“No, not that...”
Twenty minutes later, Sherlock’s hair was quite thoroughly rumpled, and the carpeting... never mind, the less said about the carpeting in that flat, the better.
“You keep a taxidermied badger named Herman in your bedroom...”
“He’s from a case!”
“You’re actually a vampire...”
“No... no, no, wait, that would in fact be it, yes.”
“Yeah, Mycroft told me.” Pleased that that had finally been sorted out, John moved to get up. “Well, I need a cuppa. Want any?”
“And this isn’t... an issue?”
“The tea? Not really, I’ll just put the kettle on, assuming we still have a kettle. Do we still have a kettle?”
“Forget the kettle! Vampire, John!”
“Sherlock, compared to rooming with you, that’s practically a minor detail.”
“Oh. Fine, then.”
“Since we’re on the subject...” John offered, ”Should probably mention I’m a werewolf.”
“That explains all the hair in the carpeting, I thought you’d been sneaking in a dog.”
“Nope, werewolf. Bitten in Afghanistan, bit of a long story.”
Both stood quiet for a moment, not entirely sure what to say next.
“Is there anything I should...” “Full moon’s Tuesday...”
“Oh. Will that be...” Sherlock considered the proper word choice before settling for “...a problem?”
“Well, fair warning, I tend to get a bit randy for a few days.”
“Fine, fine, I probably should have mentioned, according to the prophecies you’re also my soulmate, the other half of my heart, the missing part of my self, and we’re destined to be together eternally.”
They stared at each other. John broke the silence first.
“I see... I’ll just add lube and condoms to this week’s grocery list, then, shall I?”
“Don’t forget milk, we’re out again.”
5. The Brother
“Mycroft, what is the meaning of this?” Sherlock yelled at his brother, who stood immaculately clad and just out of range. Usually Mycroft’s impromptu meetings with John were more formal affairs than this, often involving one perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey. Today, though, he’d only just gotten in the back of the stately car before what’s-her-fake-name had pressed an odd-smelling handkerchief to his nose and everything had gone a bit wonky.
John had regained consciousness to find himself handcuffed to one very agitated consulting detective/flatmate. And shackled to the wall.
“The kidnapping you both or the shackling?”
“I’d settle for either, though both would be preferable,” John admitted. Next to him, Sherlock seethed.
“Our mother has recently become focused,” Mycroft emphasized the last word just slightly, “on the fact that neither of her beloved offspring has yet become espoused. I myself am currently preoccupied in attempting to serve Queen and Country in my own small way...” Sherlock snorted at that “...leaving me no time for nor interest in the development of more personal bonds.”
“Whereas you and Dr. Watson have already formed a perfectly serviceable long term committed monogamous partnership, which, if you formalize it within the institution of a civil union, should suit Mummy’s desires just as well.”
“John and I...” “Monogamy? More like enforced celibacy!” Both Holmes brothers turned to stare at John. “Not only are we not together, but I’ve had to give up dating entirely after that time he interrupted my dinner with Paula because he simply had to show me a bit of diseased lung. At the restaurant!”
“It was vital to proving that the body wasn’t actually the accountant’s!”
“It could have waited until after the dessert course!” John had had it up to well above his height with Sherlock’s excuses. “Just admit it, you hate the thought of me dating.”
Sherlock turned towards the wall, mumbling something that even John, approximately eighteen inches away, couldn’t catch.
“What was that, Sherlock?” Mycroft prodded. “I’m sure we’d all like to hear what you’ve got to say.”
“Don’t like...” mumble mumble “...else”
“Sherlock?” John asked, his voice gone gentle. “Can you please repeat that?”
“I don’t like John dating anyone else, alright? He’s wasted on them.”
Had Sherlock or John been looking anywhere else at that moment, they’d have seen an impressive bit of umbrella twirling from Mycroft, who sometimes practiced it at home in front of a floor length mirror. Sadly, they missed it, but John was compensated by seeing the red blush slowly spreading across Sherlock’s face, while Sherlock felt amply rewarded by his observations of John’s pupil dilation at close range.
“You... fancy me?”
“Like a schoolboy ready to pull your pigtails, I’m afraid.”
“Shut up, Mycroft,” Sherlock snapped, though he kept staring at John.
“You could’ve said... something.”
“Perhaps a text message saying ‘Do you like me, please respond yes/no’?”
“Shut UP, Mycroft!” they said in unison, still not bothering to look towards him. Sherlock noted how John’s eyes sparkled becomingly when he was furious.
And John was definitely furious. “You idiot... I cannot believe I could have been having sex this entire time! I could have been having sex with you this entire time! Do you have any idea how much I’ve been having to masturbate lately? Wait, don’t answer that, you probably do and could draw me graphs.”
John suddenly grabbed Sherlock’s collar with his uncuffed hand and proceeded to mount an invasion of the taller man’s mouth with his tongue. He did not encounter resistance from the locals. After a long enough interlude that Mycroft began to consider a loud clearing of the throat, they broke apart, panting heavily.
Sherlock, of course, spoke first. “John, am I to take your recent actions as confirmation of...”
“Of course I love you, you utter prat! Why else would I have actually looked at the lung?”
This time, Sherlock initiated the kiss, and this time, Mycroft was forced to clear his throat. Repeatedly. And then cross the room to poke at their legs with his umbrella tip.
“Glad to see that’s settled. The ceremony is scheduled for next Saturday, and I’ve already taken the liberty of sending out invitations and arranging the reception. Though I should warn you, John, may I call you John now that we’re going to be family? Once the civil union has taken place Mummy is likely to start hinting about wanting grandchildren. Biological, preferably.”
John finally turned back to look at Mycroft. “How does that even... we’re both blokes! It’s not like we can just...”
“Is that so?” Mycroft smiled, a small, quiet, polite smile, and John, who had invaded Afghanistan and even once told Sherlock his shirt was on inside out at a crime scene, was suddenly very very afraid.
From the way Sherlock had gone still and silent next to him, he knew he wasn’t the only one.
+1 way they did
Their relationship had changed since the pool; not even Sherlock could be unaffected by the knowledge that he suddenly had a friend who would kill, die, and even buy the milk for him. And John had seen firsthand that Sherlock felt the same, excepting perhaps the bit about the milk.
But neither of them was the sort for big emotional declarations, John out of natural reticence and Sherlock because he rarely saw the point of stating the obvious unless it solved a case or made someone else look like an idiot. In the latter cases he preferred to state the obvious loudly and with gesticulation. So the strengthened relationship manifested in tiny ways, in Sherlock becoming better at waiting for John at crime scenes, in John finding more subtle ways to let Sherlock know when he’d said something a bit off in public.
The first time Sherlock had grabbed John’s arm to pull him with him, he’d almost dropped it again immediately until a look back at John’s face had reassured him it was acceptable. The touching had grown, with Sherlock now tending to touch John’s arm or shoulders to get his attention, and John patting him on the back to let him know he was proud of something he’d worked out.
“Not heading to Sara’s tonight?” Sherlock asked, taking advantage of John’s presence on the couch to sit at the other end and drape his feet across the shorter man’s lap. John grunted, then set the laptop across Sherlock’s legs so he could keep typing. “Had a talk at the surgery today, we make better friends.”
While Sherlock privately agreed wholeheartedly, he watched John for half a minute for any signs of hidden emotional distress. When he saw none, he relaxed again, still keeping his eyes on John.
John added, “Didn’t seem fair to her, what with you being married to your work and now me being married to it as well, we’re already in a bigamous relationship.” He managed to keep a straight face for only a few seconds, when a glance at Sherlock set him to giggling.
“Technically it’s polyamory, since all parties are consenting and equally involved.” That, of course, set them both off laughing, which they’d also been doing more of since the pool, and not always at crime scenes.
“Oh good, I’d hate to think I was the other man.” John was actually laughing hard enough now that he closed the laptop case and just managed to reach over Sherlock’s legs to set it on the table.
They’d calmed down a few minutes later, John absently running his hand over Sherlock’s knee. It was unexpectedly relaxing.
“Hmm?” it sounded almost like a purr.
“You’ve likely already deduced this all, but I just wanted to say... well. If you wanted to. You could. We could. Because... well. Of course, if not... that’s fine too.”
And just like that, the unspoken had been spoken. But then, John would be the one to say it. Sherlock was more reckless, but John was actually brave. “No, that... that would be good.”
John gently but firmly pushed Sherlock’s legs off and stood before offering his flatmate a hand up. “In that case, we’re heading to my room, I’m not spending any time in yours until you move that badger out, I swear he’s looking at me.”
“You do realise he’s stuffed?”
“That just means he doesn’t have to blink.”
“You’re mental, you know that?”
“I must be, yeah.” John looked at Sherlock and grinned. “Then again, I hear normal is boring.”