Chapter 1: After five times it's beginning to look like a habit.
"Are you sleeping with Lestrade too?"
They don’t normally talk. Not like this. If you can call what they’re doing normal. Nothing about Sherlock Holmes constitutes as normal.
She can see him stiffen slightly at the question, but it doesn’t mean that it is the question itself that results in that reaction. It could just as easily be the fact that she’s talking to him at all. Because what they normally do is more like needling each other, or rather she is insulting him, trying to rile him up or offend, whereas he either returns the favor or simply ignores her, treating her like air. I.e. too boring to bother with. That’s worse and it makes her want to retaliate double fold, claw his eyes out, shred that stupid coat to pieces, humiliate him to the core. It hasn’t happened yet. But it might one day.
"Why do you think that I would?"
He doesn’t look at her, just continues to put his trousers on, his back half-way turned against her. She can see a small portion of his profile, but it is neutral, conveying no feelings at all. Like usual then.
She doesn’t really know why she asked that question, it just came out. She has thought about it before of course, like most members of the team. The power The Freak holds over her boss is baffling to say the least. It’s humiliating, for the whole team but mostly for Lestrade obviously. Not that Lestrade himself sees it that way. It could just be his kindness or sense of morals, people’s lives depend on the help of the consulting detective, even she can concede that. But the prize… it’s too high.
If she had any say she would kick his arse out as soon as he even tried to cross the yellow tape surrounding their crime scenes, verbally she has done so several times, but it never results in him actually leaving. He just waves her away with his imperious hand or makes a scathing comeback to one of her insults. Because he knows that by the end of the walk across a crime scene there is both “a puzzle” as he likes to call it and a detective inspector almost bending backwards in his efforts to showcase his neediness. They must be sleeping together, she’s almost certain.
"Because I’ve known Lestrade for several years now and he has never tolerated anyone to trample over him the way that you do."
"So therefore we must be sleeping with each other?"
There is a hint of scornfulness in his tone now but he’s still not looking at her. He so seldom does. His fingers continue from the trousers up to the buttons of the shirt, he’ll be out the door in less than five minutes. It suits her fine, she has laundry to do in the morgning, no time for socializing.
"It would at least explain it. We all know about the wife so he’s not getting any from her."
"Most certainly not," he agrees.
"….and you’re having him lead by the nose so profoundly it’s sickening to see it…It’s an easy assumption."
"Making assumptions is exactly why you’re not more successful with your crime solving rate and your boss is so eager to see me. At least I give him results."
And the itch to hurt him is back.
It barely leaves, not even when they’re having sex and she doesn’t even know why she’s doing this, sleeping with him. Anderson could very well be fulfilling enough, right?
But that is the core of the problem isn’t it? Anderson is not enough. Where Sherlock Holmes has a firm body, is energetic, full of stamina and surprisingly intuitive as a lover Anderson is anything but. He’s softer in the flesh, boring, definitely not as good looking as the freak, but he also lacks the finesse and technicality of lovemaking. She is pretty sure Sherlock Holmes is all about calculating and experimenting during their sex, he probably sees it as gathering data, but at least he’s more than competent at it, as with everything else that he does that doesn’t require social skills.
He is surprisingly tender sometimes but equally firm and rough when she wants it, he’s probably deducing her needs throughout the whole act but she doesn’t care. He’s a really good fuck.
She still doesn’t know how this little arrangement came to be and why it keeps happening.
If it had only been one occasion she could have written it off as curiosity but no, not when it keeps occuring.
The first time was right after a case. Lestrade had been forced to leave early, some problem with the wife and Sherlock was still high from the thrill of solving a, in retrospect, quite intricate web of clues leading to the arrest of a senior gang of cat burglars. She had been left in charge on the scene of the arrest to make sure procedures where being followed and final evidence gathered by the forensics (not Anderson back then). She had been in a really foul mood because of The Freak’s gloating and they had clashed verbally in a spectacular way even by their standards, but still ended up in his dingy flat at Montague Street twenty minutes later. If it was the proximity to his flat that sealed the deal or if it would have happened anyway she never could figure out.
All their recurring meetings followed the same pattern, one of them texted the other, always after a case, never during, a simple suggestion of time and place, nothing more.
It was easy, uncomplicated, it seemed to satisfy a need she obviously had although she couldn’t pinpoint why that was and it always ended as clinically as it started. They just had sex, never anything more. No talks afterwards, no awkwardness, no expectations, just thank you, good bye, see you next time. Not even that was ever really expressed, the continuation of their meetings, it just happened randomly. But after five times it was beginning to look like a habit now.
She wasn’t sure what she thought about it, after the third time she had felt nervous that this was something she was going to get caught up in, that it would change from being easy to turning complicated, because wasn’t that always the case in the end?
So she had hooked up with Anderson. He had flirted with her the very first time they met, but she had never really paid him any attention, she knew that he was married, that he was a compulsive cheater and she wasn’t that attracted by him physically either. But when she started to worry that things with The Freak were beginning to morph into something she would lose control over it was easy to replace one sexual partner with another. At least that was the initial idea. It didn’t end up being like that of course. Now she was apparently seeing them both.
She doesn’t know why she’s asking this question about Lestrade right now. It’s not like she’s jealous.
If there would be a potential threat to the continuation of these meetings it would probably come in the form of that new roommate instead, Dr Watson.
She can’t figure him out. He seems like a normal person, nondescript, nothing like the consulting detective at all, calm, steadfast and a bit on the quiet side.
But something is keeping him right in the middle of the craziness that must constitute living with Sherlock Holmes. At least they’re not cohabiting in that awful flat on Montague street. The squalor of that place runs a shudder down her spine at the memory of it, she needed to buy disinfection wipes from the Tesco store down the street afterwards just to remove the sense of stickiness to her skin. A layer of nonspecific gluiness had covered the floor of the whole flat and further sexual encounters had been at her place. But Baker Street is only marginally better, probably because of the doctor and that old woman downstairs. The Freak most likely never lifted a finger in his life when it came to cleaning.
But despite the dirty flat and the lack of any humanity whatsoever in The Freak's personality, Dr Watson has stayed firmly by his side on all occasions and even deigns to glare at her when she gives the detective one of her scathing insults. He is like a watchdog, Watson, so surprisingly loyal to and protective of a person who never shows any gratitude. Maybe they are sleeping with each other as well? Or the doctor at least harbors thoughts of being intimate with his flatmate.
He’s finished dressing now and is taking a final look in the mirror. Time to depart. She’s still sitting on the sofa, naked underneath a dressing gown. Nothing like the fancy dressing gowns he favors, it’s polyestersatin not silk for starters and it’s old, but she doesn’t bother with buying a new one.
It’s not like she’s seeing someone special.
Chapter 2: Lost opportunities
Lestrade and Sherlock hooked up once in the past.
Lestrade is still feeling the repercussions.
They had slept together that one time, in the beginning, before he even knew what he felt for Sherlock Holmes.
When he saw just the fit body and that face with the piercing gaze that did something to his stomach every time he tried to look into those eyes. A flutter that had eventually turned into a burning sensation reminiscent of acid reflux, gnawing away at his insides rather than producing that roller-coaster feeling of excitement that he had felt in the beginning. Before knowing what it could really feel like.
He still felt shame when he thought about it though.
Because Sherlock had been more or less under influence and so very accommodating, touchy-feely in a way he hadn’t been able to resist. So he succumbed to his baser feelings and they ended up having sex in Sherlocks old flat in Montague Street. A terrible place really, reeking with old chemical residue, cigarettes and dust in the air. The couch they had done the deed on could barely be considered an actual couch, springs were sticking out all over and the poor stuffing did not offer any comfort whatsoever, but at that precise moment he didn’t mind and Sherlock lived like that all the time so he hardly cared where they were positioning their bodies during the actual act.
It had been over quickly. Lestrade had no stamina to speak of, too many beers and too little sex in his private life made him come quickly and even if Sherlock was more or less off his head on drugs he still managed to throw Lestrade a look of disappointed disdain before rising on unstable legs to stumble off to the shower. For a moment Lestrade contemplated whether he should follow the younger man, maybe return the favour so to speak, but it felt like that opportunity had somehow past and he remained seated, half naked on the uncomfortable couch until the shower was turned off and Sherlock appeared through the bathroom door again.
“Oh? Are you still here?”
He looked genuinely surprised by that fact and Lestrade started to feel the effects of his mistake right there. It was like it had never happened and from the moment he left that flat, unwashed, with a sticky feeling clinging to his body and embarrassment running through his veins it continued to be that way. It was an event that had never taken place in the world according to Sherlock Holmes.
In the beginning he felt grateful over that fact. He had cheated on his wife for starters and even if he suspected that she was returning the favour as frequently as she could, it still plagued him a little bit. He was not that kind of husband.
Secondly, he had taken advantage of someone who was not capable of making rational decisions at that particular moment. A person who was 15 years his junior and in an already questionable professional relationship with him as a consultant on crime scenes, off the record and very frowned upon by the rest of his team. There were so many variables of bad in this scenario that he initially felt lucky Sherlock had decided to ignore that it ever had happened. Maybe he genuinely didn’t remember? He had a habit of deleting irrelevant information after all. Maybe this was such a thing? An irrelevance.
But the time had progressed and Sherlock got his act under control a bit. They worked together on several occasions and the consulting detective was starting to grow on Lestrade until one day he realised that he had slowly but persistently fallen for the younger man on more than a mere physical level. It was then that the flutter in his stomach really turned acidic and conflicting feelings were raging a war in his mind every time they met. He had it really bad and now the past event plagued him for other reasons than it had from the beginning. He resented the fact that Sherlock didn’t acknowledge it enough to remember it, he felt irritation over an opportunity that was now to be considered lost although it had truly occurred and angry with himself for allowing the other man to get under his skin in this way.
Because even if his marriage was now on the rocks and Sherlock was working more frequently with him than before and seemed to be off the drugs, Lestrade never did find a way to try anything with him again. For both of their benefit he clamped down his feelings and gave his all during working hours instead, because that was what everyone seemed to prefer.
He finally did a meek attempt straight after the case with the pink phone and the cab driver turned serial killer but was rebuffed even before being able to advance properly. A slight forwarding position of his head towards Sherlock’s lips but Sherlock just shook his head sternly and left, leaving Lestrade with flushing red-hot cheeks in the darkness. Embarrassing.
He wondered sometimes if sex was something Sherlock chose not to engage in when finally clean and fully focused on "the work". He was not some blushing virgin, that much was clear from what he remembered from their brief sexual encounter, those lips certainly knew what they were doing even when not engaging in a 1000 words per minute lecture at crime scenes, but other than that memory he never saw or heard of Sherlock participating in anything remotely sexual or flirtatious.
Not for lack of interest from his surroundings though.
There was poor unfortunate Molly Hooper of course, who even had Lestrade beat in holding a forlorn infatuation with the consulting detective. The occasional witness sometimes let their interest shine through during questioning but to no avail. And then there was Dr Watson.
Lestrade wasn’t a 100 % sure what the doctor’s feelings truly were for his flatmate but if the poor bastard really was smitten the sentiment didn’t seem to get reciprocated. Small favours Lestrade though, not sure he could handle seeing the development of a relationship between them actually occur. Time would tell of course, maybe he would get a confidante in the end, a new member to the "We who love emotionally stumped geniuses with razor tounges and selective memories". It could have been funny if it wasn't so tinged with bittersweet.
So when he drove home late at night, after a long day at the office and happened to pass by Montague Street, he glanced up at the window on the second floor, like he always did when passing. And there it was again, that small flutter of roller-coaster excitement, the way it felt in the beginning. Before he knew.
Chapter 3: Is this more than a one-time thing?
It's not like Dimmock wants to be the new Lestrade, he just wants access to Sherlock Holmes once in a while.
He never thought they would end up doing this. Huh, that shows you can’t be sure of anything.
Having sex with that crazy consultant Lestrade employs to bring his crime solving rates up and look better in front of their superiors would never have crossed his mind until today. He's mad as a hatter that one, everyone knows this, but Lestrade seems enthralled by the magic he wields over every unsolvable crime scene and right now Dimmock is tempted to agree, the man is a virtuoso.
Cuts a stunning silhouette too, allways impeccably dressed, tall and mysterious in that dark coat.
No wonder everyone thinks Lestrade is sleeping with him, with that cheating wife of his at home and a bright young fox right in front of his nose, who could blame him?
Lestrade is too old of course, Dimmock’s not sure how true those rumours really are, Holmes himself doesn’t seem that inclined to indulge in sex out of pity. He’s more like Dimmock’s age anyway, this isn’t back-stabbing or anything, it was inevitable so better him than someone else, right? He’s not sure who he’s trying to convince though.
He hears the shower streaming from the bathroom. It’s been twenty minutes now, how long is he going to be in there?
Not that he’s in a rush, he has the day off and nothing planned. But still, what’s keeping him? The shower is going to run out of hot water soon.
He stretches and is about to get up to knock on the door, see if everything’s okay in there, when a sudden shrill tone pierces the bedroom.
It’s on the nightstand beside his discarded shirt, one of those new slick models that cost a small fortune and are for the high-tech enthusiasts. Expensive taste, just as with the clothes.
The phone goes quiet and he reaches out to look at it, turn it around in his hand. It’s smooth and black, suits the rest of Holmes’s appearance.
He puts the phone down and let his fingers move over to the silky quality of the shirt instead. Expensive taste indeed.
As he is about to pull his hand back, the phone goes off again. The display reads “John”.
Who’s that then?
Dimmock knows too little about Sherlock Holmes to know who he’s associating with when he doesn’t have Lestrade on a leash parading around crime scenes and that doctor-fellow in his tow, what’s his name again? Something starting with W isn’t it? Waters? Watts? No, Watson. That’s it. Dr Watson.
Well, every hero needs a side-kick. Not sure what the purpose of that side-kick is in this case though. They have a medical team they employ at the Yard, no need for an outsider to interfere. On the other hand, if Holmes wants to use his own man, so be it, as long as he gets results.
If the arrangement is good enough for Lestrade it’s certainly good enough for Dimmock. He wouldn’t mind using Holmes on more of his investigations. And in the bedroom too, if this is on offer for more than a one-time thing. Going by the time Holmes is taking in the shower he isn’t completely sure. Is he scrubbing away all traces of their earlier activities in there?
The phone goes silent again and he really contemplates getting up now, he needs to pee.
But almost as soon as the display goes dark, it lights up again and the shrilling ringtone starts all over. “John” is obviously very persistent. Maybe he should answer. It might be important? Case-related.
So he reaches for the phone and presses on the green symbol on the screen before lifting it up to his ear.
It goes quiet for a second, then he hears a familiar voice on the other end. That slightly constipated nasal tone, usually firmer, now hesitant.
“Yeah, sorry, it’s me, DI Dimmock. Holmes is...” he hesitates but then ventures ahead. “...occupied at the moment.”
The line goes quiet again. When the voice comes back it’s suspicious.
“I didn’t know you had a case going.”
“Erm...well, no. Or rather, we had and we just wrapped it up. Or more accurately your colleague did.”
He wants to bite his tongue, this is going spectacularly bad. Who’s going to believe that Dimmock called Sherlock Holmes in for a case that got solved within the time span of an hour and without Watson knowing about it?
But he can’t risk exposing their activities, he’s not sure Holmes would like it and he himself doesn’t want to become the new Lestrade at the Yard, forever tainted by rumours of sleeping with the nut head consultant, however sexy the man is.
What is it that Sally Donovan calls him? The Freak, that’s right. Dimmock’s reputation has taken too long to build up, it wouldn’t survive something like this.
Besides, people would see it as him trying to challenge Lestrade. Everyone knows that Holmes is Lestrade's not so secret weapon, not to be borrowed by just anyone. They have only worked on that one case with the murdered bankers so far and that only happened because Lestrade wasn’t available. When Lestrade came back he was equal measures worried and pleased that everything had gone smoothly but he has never offered Dimmock the services of Holmes after that.
“He said he was going to pick up some nicotine patches about two hours ago. He never came back so I… Well, I started to wonder where he had gone off to.”
There is still that suspicious tone in Watson’s voice.
“Oh, well, I must have caught him right after he went out.”
“Solved it right away then?”
“Seems like it. It wasn’t that complicated apparently. For him.”
“And what is he doing now? Could I talk to him?”
“Erm, he’s...busy explaining something to one of my officers. I should really get back now, but no need to worry. I’m sure he’ll be home soon enough.”
The obvious question, why Dimmock has Holmes’s phone, doesn’t come, although he can picture that very question eating away at Dr Watson’s suspicious mind right at this moment. Maybe he’s saving it for his flatmate to explain. Better give a heads up when Holmes gets out of the shower.
“So...I’ll tell him you called, Dr Watson.”
“Yes, thank you.”
There’s a sour note in his voice now. He sounds displeased. The information he's been given obviously doesn't add up and now he's processing this with increasing anger. He almost sounds jealous. Are they maybe sleeping with each other as well?
Huh, who would have thought. If they are, Sherlock Holmes is going to have some serious explaining to do when he gets home.
Dimmock puts the phone down and falls back on the pillow again. This is definitely beginning to look like just a one-time thing. Pity.
In the background he can finally hear the shower being turned off.
Chapter 4: Straightening out questionmarks to end up with new ones
After the phone call with Dimmock a thought has been nagging John Watson ever since. Time to ask Sherlock some questions.
“Did you know that everyone at the Yard thinks you and Lestrade are sleeping together?”
Sherlock is lying on the couch, doing something with his phone while John is still sitting at the table with the remains of his breakfast and the morning paper.
He has contemplated this question for some time now but never really found the right moment to bring it up. He’s not sure why he’s even doing it now.
Sherlock has never cared what other people are saying about him. Inferior minds and all that. But John has found himself contemplating this rumour more frequently as of late and it has started to bother him. Both the fact that he has let it occupy his mind as often as it has, but also because the thought of the rumour being true would not sit well with him for reasons he’s not totally comfortable investigating the reason for.
So what if Lestrade and Sherlock are sleeping together? Would that change anything?
If they have been doing it the whole time he has known them then obviously it has not made any difference to his life, as he hasn’t even noticed it.
But still...it would bother him.
The thought is insistently nagging away with an increasing demand that is becoming more consuming every day. It’s reminiscent of that time at year 9 in school when his best friend started going out with one of the more popular girls and John couldn’t just be happy for them, instead he became resentful and it took a long time for him to process this development. As he remembers it, those feelings stayed with him longer than the actual relationship lasted and probably came as a result from a feeling of jealousy.
But that can’t be the case now, can it? Why would it bother him if Lestrade is having sex with Sherlock?
And yet it does, and he can’t take it anymore. He at least needs to know if it’s true.
“Don’t you care what that is implying?” He tries to sound like this is something he’s thought of just now, mere curiosity, nothing else.
“No.” Sherlock’s being typically vague. He’s probably sensing John’s nosiness and is not willing to bait or he really isn’t interested.
John’s having none of that.
“No? Why not?” he insists.
“Why should I care?”
“Well, because it implies that there’s more than professional interests behind your working relationship? It could be seen as advantageous that you’re sleeping with him to get access to crime scenes.”
Sherlock sighs but does not look up from his phone. He remains remarkably indifferent to the topic of the conversation.
“We are not sleeping together.”
Something lifts from the pit of Johns stomach but almost immediately transforms into a suspicious knot again. Because Sherlock is a habitual liar. And there is that time when John called Dimmock and Sherlock was suspiciously unavailable to come to the phone. A phone he is in the habit of always carrying with him wherever he goes. Glued to the palm of his hand more or less.
Could Dimmock have been covering for his colleague while Lestrade was busy with Sherlock? He never did get a satisfying answer from Sherlock himself. And then a case happened and they moved on.
Except John didn’t move on and here he is, sniffing around the subject again. It feels intrusive, but he can’t help himself.
“I remember you saying you considered yourself married to your work once.”
“That still applies.”
“But if people are beginning to question your presence at crime scenes and believe it’s because you’re sexually involved with Lestrade, that might harm your future work together. It’s not like you’ve worked with that many other people at the Yard. Seems suspicious.”
“To you or to others?”
John pretends to focus on the morning paper in his hands. Apparently there’s an election in Brazil coming up soon. Fascinating....
He can feel Sherlock’s eyes on him now. All the more reason not to look at him, he might deduce something John’s not eager to share.
“Personally I don’t care if you’re sleeping with anyone....” (liar!)
“But,” he ventures on and turns the pages as if all of this is truly irrelevant to him, “I think people like Donovan or Anderson for example could start spreading rumours and one day those rumours end up being heard by the wrong person. Like Lestrades superiors. That could put an end to you working with the Yard.”
“I doubt Donovan would put that much effort into spreading those rumours,” Sherlock drawls.
“She hates you.”
“Yes. But she’s not stupid enough to start rocking the boat she is sitting in herself.”
John lowers the paper and gives Sherlock an incredulous stare. The knot in his stomach tightens but his brain can’t make sense of what he’s hearing.
“What do you mean by that? What boat are you referring to?”
“The one you’re trying to put Lestrade in.”
Sherlock turns his attention back to the phone as if this whole conversation is beginning to bore him. But John is working himself up to new levels of irritation now. This has suddenly taken a turn he did not predict and he doesn’t like the creeping realisation of what Sherlock is saying.
“This makes no sense!”
He finds himself raising his voice, but Sherlock remains indifferent.
“She is only in it because of Lestrade,” he mutters, fingers still working on his phone.
“Stop talking in riddles! Are you sleeping with Donovan? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”
“Seems like it “
“But you hate her!”
Sherlock just shrugs in the face of John’s outburst.
“And as you so eloquently told me, she hates me, and yet...here we are.”
“But for God’s sake, why?”
“Like I said: Lestrade put her in that boat.”
John can’t believe what he’s hearing now. He’s given up all pretence of trying to look like this is just some casual topic sprung out of curiosity. His head is spinning from this shocking development. Donovan for God’s sake!
“What do you mean by that? That you’re sleeping with her because of Lestrade?”
“And again the question apparently needs repeating: Why?!”
“Because Lestrade and I had sex once when I wasn't really...I didn't think...this was years ago...well, let’s just say I wasn’t at the top of my game that night. It gave him certain ideas. Although I’m not against the idea of sex with Lestrade per se, I’m not willing to risk our working relationship because of some misdirected lust he’s harbouring for my person. Ignoring his feelings has proven ineffective so I’m sending him a message by sleeping with people around him. Eventually he’ll get the point and move on.”
Instead of taking in the surprisingly bad idea Sherlock is presenting, John’s mind focuses on the one thing that puts yet another spin on the already mind-blowing information he’s getting.
“People? As in several of them?”
“I’ve only managed Donovan and Dimmock so far. There’s Hopkins and if I’m really desperate Anderson, but that’s a line I would preferably not cross if not absolutely necessary.” Sherlock’s nose wrinkles slightly in disgust at the thought.
“But why people he works with?”
Finally Sherlock turns his head to look at John. Unfortunately the look he's giving is the one he reserves for people who can’t see the, in his mind, very logical thinking he’s presenting them with.
“Who else would he get that information from? If I just slept with someone out of our working circle he would never find out about it. I thought Donovan would suffice but she’s proven to be surprisingly secretive about what we’re doing. Dimmock also seems to be more discreet than I gave him credit for, but I’ve not given up hope on him yet. If that fails, there’s always Hopkins.”
“But you could have just chosen me!”
John blurts it out without thinking, it just comes spontaneously.
He regrets it the second it’s out of his mouth and the anger that had followed his outburst is being mixed with embarrassment now. He rises from the table and throws the paper down with force, making the cup and saucer rattle by the impact. He’s so worked up by confusing emotions that he doesn’t know how to proceed. Sherlock’s eyes are burning into him and he glares right back, trying to come up with something to take the meaning out of his words. Because they didn’t come out right. He would never....
“We share this flat together, and I didn’t want to risk our living arrangement for the sake of Lestrade’s stupid crush. The thought did occur to me, but I didn’t think...Well, I never thought you would be...”
Sherlock is for once reduced to being speechless. It only lasts a moment though.
“Besides, I started this little plan before you came around. How was I supposed to know?”
He clears his throat and regains his composure while John remains standing by the table, still fuming, trying to process how this thing that he has kept supressed for so long is suddenly out in the open, being exposed from all kinds of different angles. He’s not sure he’s ready to face that just yet, even if he’s the one who started this whole conversation.
But how was he supposed to know it was going to take this absurd direction? He was feebly prepared to face facts about Lestrade sleeping with Sherlock, but this? This is too much. It feels like he has exposed himself and his instinct is now to flee the scene.
In the background he’s vaguely aware that Sherlock is still speaking.
“....It seemed like the sensible thing to do at the time. Sure, I could have tried with you when things with Donovan didn’t produce any results, but it just seemed easier to go with Dimmock. If he had spurned my advances it wouldn’t have made any difference to me. If I had involved you in my plans, well....I wasn’t willing to risk ending up with a mess both at home and at work.”
Johns holds up his hands in a distancing motion and begins to back away. He can’t deal with this now.
Sherlock looks like he’s about to say something more, but then apparently decides against it and remains silent while John goes straight for his coat that hangs on the door, then continues out of the room, down the stairs.
Out on the street the cold takes a firm grip on him straight away and he automatically straightens his back and begins to walk briskly towards Regent’s Park.
He has a feeling that he’s just fucked things up spectacularly.
Chapter 5: Message through the press
Lestrade makes a desperate move. Unfortunately everyone gets to see it.
John’s face is like thunder in the background of the very intimate picture with the telling headline of “Internet boffin in heated kiss with detective inspector of Scotland Yard.” That is blazed over the front page of The Mirror.
Mycroft lowers the magazine with a sigh. He’s usually not in the habit of reading these kinds of papers to begin with, they are an abomination to mankind with their offending layout, but at the insistence of his assistant he has to conclude that it might have been a wise move to have made an exception today. If only for the sake of his brother’s continuing wellbeing.
The picture is of Sherlock in locked embrace with non-other than detective inspector Gregory Lestrade, in something that Mycroft concludes must be some sort of onslaught that his brother wasn’t prepared for.
That doesn’t mean that Sherlock is agreeing with being kissed by Lestrade, all this picture proves is that the photographer, a teenage girl with a good camera phone available, who just happened to pass by when said kiss happened, managed to snap a picture at just the exact moment Lestrade's mouth assaulted Mycroft's younger brother’s.
What followed that event is not yet clear, although Mycroft obviously will find out through CCTV soon enough. If nothing else, he’ll need to placate John Watson, who is looking absolutely murderous at the inserted picture accompanying the bigger one. He doesn’t seem to have been present during the actual kiss, but the “journalists” from the The Mirror (and probably other tabloids as well) have seem to have sought him out.
As John Watson is thought of as Sherlock Holmes boyfriend, his reaction is naturally something they will want to see, to spin this story even further. And John is unfortunately feeding them just what they want by looking ready to kill someone at any second now.
Mycroft feels like he should do something about this mess, but isn’t sure how to proceed. It is his own brother after all and anything to do with him usually never ends well.
And then there is John who already from the very beginning showed Mycroft his defiance. The pair of them are Mycroft’s biggest headache on any day, now they are threatening him with a very public scandal in something as tawdry as the world of romance.
The problem is of course Sherlock.
He has as of yet failed to see what John feels for him. Or if he has, he has chosen to ignore it.
Mycroft’s not completely sure which alternative is the most correct, it might be a little bit of both. Instead Sherlock has been focusing on his little strategy against Lestrade. Sleeping with people in the vicinity of the detective inspector, really? That’s not even a fully hatched plan, more like a disaster waiting to happen.
Mycroft knows what happened between Lestrade and Sherlock a couple of years ago and in a way he understands it, he felt angry too when he got the report and saw the CCTV-film of Lestrade sneaking his way into Sherlock’s flat at Montague Street while his little brother was out of his head on drugs.
But Mycroft's moved past it and never even put into action his own thought-out vendetta against the D.I.
Not until he saw Sherlock inviting Sally Donovan of all people in to his flat for the first time did he understand that Sherlock had his own idea of dealing with a clearly pining Lestrade. A Lestrade who has clearly been reading every sign wrong since that night together or become pathetically desperate, because that kiss reeks of desperation and John Watson is not going to take it silently. The jealous rage in that man’s eye is smouldering through the paper in Mycroft’s hands.
What Sherlock himself did after the kiss is still unclear, Mycroft feels like he really should get around to watch those recordings of CCTV so he will know what he’s dealing with and what lead to this outcome, but it’s all so banal, he’s not looking forward to getting involved. And that is a lot coming from a man who has spent most of his adult life doing just that, getting involved in other people’s lives, especially that of his brother’s.
He puts the paper away and contemplates the situation.
He should probably order a car to get him to Baker Street and see what kind of damage control can be done. If he’s lucky this might mean that Sherlock will have to face the feelings John Watson is so adamant to keep hidden from him but are so obvious to everyone around them.
That revelation could eventually turn into a positive development, Mycroft would be very glad to cement a more permanent caretaker in Baker Street than just a roommate even if he personally dislikes the idea of sentiment clouding people’s judgement.
Sherlock so clearly needs a carer, and a boyfriend could help Mycroft with that. But another scenario is that John will be so enraged that he decides to leave Baker street.
That simply can not be allowed to happen.
Mycroft sighs and levers himself out of the chair. Time to go interfere.
Chapter 6: The more you rile me up the closer I get
Jealousy is driving John crazy when he sees a picture of Lestrade and Sherlock kissing. It is threatening to get out of control but not in the way he expected.
24 hours earlier....
The atmosphere in the flat was so thick you could slice it with a knife and the way his anger was surging through him at this exact moment John was quite temped to give it a try. A knife would be preferable to end this chaos running havoc with his mind right now. Too bad no one was at the recieving end of that knife just yet.
He’d been confronted by a reporter on his way back from work yesterday, camera in hand and asking for a comment on a very public display of affection between Sherlock Holmes and a certain detective inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard.
“It will be in the papers tomorrow, would you like to make a comment, share your point of view?”
When he didn't answer that first question thrown at him, the reporter just kept going.
“Are they an item?”
“Do you and Mr Holmes have an open relationship, Dr Watson?”
“How do you feel about them kissing?”
The questions had felt like hail crashing over him, at first just intrusive and confusing as he didn’t understand the context. When being shown the actual picture of the kiss he had lost it completely. Unable to conceal his anger he had demanded to be left alone, ignoring the way the reporter took a picture of him as a way of response. When unable to shake the man off he had simply hailed a cab and left. At first unsure of where he was supposed to go, Baker Street was far from work and his credit card already under threat of becoming overdrawn he had settled for a short ride closer to the city centre, stopping by a tube station to escape down there for the rest of the journey home.
When finally arriving, Sherlock wasn’t in the flat.
Probably with Lestrade no doubt. Having public sex perhaps John thought bitterly. He felt himself puffing with anger at the situation without really understanding why he was so upset.
After the revelation of Sherlock’s sleeping arrangements with half of the staffers at the Yard there had been some sort of cold war situation going on between them. John had stayed out for several hours, walking around Regent’s Park aimlessly, thoughts running wild, anger combined with confusion bubbling inside him without the relief of an outlet. Unable to come to a satisfying conclusion to why he had reacted the way he had to Sherlock’s confession and what he was truly feeling about any of this he had finally gone home simply to find Sherlock being in a foul mood, torturing the violin with screeching noises by the window, back turned against the room for the rest of the evening.
The next morning was quieter but still frosty, although on speaking terms they clearly blamed the other for this new situation. Sherlock probably thought that John had overreacted and now was bringing a stifling atmosphere into their home, which was what he had wanted to avoid all along. In fact, that had been his reasoning for not involving John in his plan to send Lestrade a message that he was already sexually occupied, no room for a pining detective inspector, wasn’t it?
And here John came along and complicated things anyway.
He could feel Sherlock’s irritation radiating of him in waves in his direction. And he had a point, this was not a happy outcome, this pent up frustration between them. But John couldn’t shake the feeling of having been overlooked somehow. It was ridiculous, he knew it of course and he didn’t have any claims on Sherlock whatsoever. But still it rankled him.
The thought of Sherlock and Lestrade in the first place gave him acid reflux but the fact that the detective had also slept with Donovan and Dimmock of all people irritated him even more. It was a stupid plan to begin with, it would take someone as stumped regarding human relationships as Sherlock to come up with something like this. But what annoyed him the most was the fact that it annoyed him at all. Why did it bother him?
And the creeping suspicion that it was simply jealousy and envy didn’t sit well with him at all and only meant his mood deteriorated even further.
And now this.
He could still see the picture in front of him. Lestrade’s mouth devouring Sherlock.
And why had it happened at all? Had Sherlock caved in to the D.I’s advances? Had he given up on his plan and just succumbed? Had he maybe realized that sleeping with Lestrade wouldn’t be that bad? As he had so succinctly put it, he wasn’t averse to the idea of sex with Lestrade in itself, it was more a case of not wanting to complicate things workwise. Maybe he felt that the way the situation was at home right now, things couldn’t really get any worse? Maybe he would be moving in with Lestrade instead, now that he and John weren’t on the best of terms anymore?
He shook his head trying to clear it from irrational thoughts. No point in speculating until knowing all the facts. And if things were going to hell anyway he was at least going to have it all out conversation wise. No point in keeping anything bottled up anymore.
But the anger he felt when mentally seeing Lestrade having it on with his roommate, a full-blown snog in the middle of the street, made his blood boil and his thoughts went off on a rampage through his system again.
This was the state he was in when Sherlock finally came home, hours later.
As Sherlock didn’t say anything while throwing his coat on the back of a chair and acting as if John wasn’t even there, he decided to get things started himself.
“Do you know what happened to me on my way home from work today?” he began, making sure to try sounding neutral to begin with. No use in starting something the very first minute.
Sherlock purposely avoided looking at him, removing his jacket and laying it on top of the coat.
When he didn’t say anything, John continued.
“Evidently they will be running a story in the tabloids tomorrow featuring you.”
Sherlock shrugged, still not looking at him. “So? They do that all the time nowadays. “
“Well this time it’s a little different from all the other times you’ve featured in the media. It’s more personal. More sleazy journalism....”
He made a point of putting emphasis on the word sleazy to get a reaction. It worked. Sherlock turned his head towards him with narrowed eyes.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Sleazy as in Lestrade slathering his mouth all over yours in public.”
Sherlock whirled around facing John, surprise and suspicion in his eyes.
“How do you know about that?”
Anger flared inside John, making him rise in his chair, stepping up to Sherlock.
“That’s your question? How I know about it? I’ve not stalked you if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“I wasn’t thinking that.” Sherlock snorted.
“A reporter showed me a picture of the two of you while asking if I wanted to make a comment. Because like everyone else he thought we’re an item.”
“Yes, I can see that you would think that.”
This made something flare in Sherlocks eyes and he sounded exasperated when replying.
“Oh, for God’s sake, don’t start this again! You get defensive when people make assumptions about us as acouple, but you get equally angry when I didn’t involve you in my plans to make Lestrade stop hitting on me.”
“Must have changed your mind about that evidently!”
The tone in John's voice had risen during the conversation and the irritation in Sherlock’s eyes was clear. It would turn into a full-blown argument soon enough. But John wasn’t backing down.
“So that story you fed me the other day, that you were trying to spurn his attempts, was it only one of your usual lies? Because you looked very lovey-dovey in the picture I saw!”
“As usual you’re not very observant...”
“I know what I saw, Sherlock!”
“You take a quick glance at a picture and think you know how things are, do you?”
“Well, inform me then!”
Sherlock pivoted on his heal, huffing with irritation, trying to walk away but John quickly grabbed a hold of his arm.
“Don’t try to walk away from me, Sherlock! We’re going to talk this through even if that’s the last thing we’ll do.”
“What for? You’ve already made up your mind about the situation. Why you even bother about this is beyond me, but I’m not going to try persuading someone as stubborn as you to see things differently. Let go of me!”
But John’s grip became even firmer, he wasn’t done yet.
“You say that I don’t observe. But to me it’s quite clear what I saw. He was all over you in that picture and I’ve seen him enough times to know that he’s wanted to do that for a long time. Everyone knows that.”
“What he wants and what’s really happening are two completely different things, John. Now, release me, I don’t want to be forced to hurt you!”
“Hurt me? Are you kidding? I was in the army!”
“So? I know martial arts, fencing and boxing. I could brake you right here on this spot.”
“Try it and I’ll punch your scrawny arse to the ground in a heartbeat!”
Sherlock tried to brake free only to find himself in an even stronger grip. With his other hand he grabbed a hold of John to push him away, but John’s anger was making him quickheaded, so rapidly he managed to punch Sherlock’s hand away quite hard. This made Sherlock try to kick him instead, but it only resulted in him toppling over John as they both fell down on the rug. This signaled the beginning of a very quick but heated wrestling match on the floor, dirty tricks like hair-pulling and punching blows to the ribs fully allowed. John managed to snake his hand up and grab a full set of Sherlock’s hair while dragging his face closer to his, mouth overflowing with insults.
Sherlock yelped from the pain and tried in vain to kick John in the shins so he would release him but to no avail. As Sherlock’s eyes were about to start tearing from the yanking of his hair roots John opened his mouth to release his torrent of angry abuse he had felt building up inside him since seeing that picture of the kiss. But what happened next was as much of a surprise to him as it was to Sherlock.
If it was the proximity to Sherlock’s full lips or the strange intimacy of their struggling bodies he didn't know but before he got to reflect on his own actions he pushed forward and felt his lips crash into Sherlock's. He could feel the surprise of his actions in Sherlock’s body movements, but he wasn't trying to withdraw and after a few hesitant seconds the kiss was returned.
The kiss deepened as John’s free hand, the one that wasn't still holding a firm grip of hair, tried to run over Sherlocks back. Sherlock relaxed into him and the kissing continued as the hair was released and both of John’s hands were now free to explore his roommate’s body with keenness. He had wanted this for so long but never hoped it could happen. Sherlock had always been firm with projecting an image of celibacy. Then that image was replaced by a persona that had too much sex instead, with inappropriate people like working colleagues. And then finally there was that kiss with Lestrade.... Jealousy surged through him again at the thought of it and the kiss turned into a forceful bite instead.
“Ouch!” Sherlock yelped and tried to pull away but John wasn't ready to let him go now as they were finally getting somewhere. So he grabbed Sherlock by the back of his head and pulled him close again. He was going to delete every trace of that bastard Lestrade, Sherlock wouldn't be able to remember how the detective inspector ever tasted after John was through with him.
There would be time for questions later and he still had many of those, but right now he had a beautiful, tall detective with tousled hair and a bruised mouth in front of him, and plenty of ideas on how to inflict some bodily harm on those gorgeous planes of pale skin while having the best angry sex of his life.
Chapter 7: Confusing conclusions
John realises something important but makes a detour before trying to come to a conclusion
They don’t get very far.
An insistent knock on the door followed by a “Hoo-hoo” breaks them apart.
John is the first to let go, surprisingly fast considering how turned on he is. But it’s their landlady on the other side of the door and he just can’t, she’s old for God’s sake. No need to expose her to any surprises, although she is the first person who already from the beginning thought John and Sherlock were already sleeping with each other when they moved in. Must have missed all the other candidates Sherlock is sleeping with…
The sour jealousy stabs him as he arranges his clothes while Sherlock rises without a word and moves over to his chair just as the door opens and Mrs Hudson walks inside.
“I thought I heard you two up here, sounded a bit like a fight. “
She enters with a tea tray, not really looking at them and therefore missing all kinds of telling clues.
John manages to calm himself down, willing his heart to stop pounding so frenetically in his chest. Had this really been happening? The kiss and everything? Was he about to have sex with Sherlock Holmes, right there on the living room floor? The thought is mind blowing and also very arousing. He turns so she won’t be able to see his face clearly and sits down opposite Sherlock, crossing his leg over the other to hide his erection from view.
Sherlock is looking just like his usual self he notes, as if he hadn’t been pinned down to the floor by John just a minute ago. Not a hair out of place. Or at least not more than usual.
Mrs Hudson has been talking the whole time and evidently John has learned Sherlock’s method of being able to tune her out because he doesn’t really hear what she’s saying until she mentions Lestrade’s name.
“...he was here earlier. You were both out and he was in a hurry, so he couldn’t remain waiting for you to show up. He really is such a gentleman, always so warm and polite. I wish you would treat him a little better, Sherlock. He is a detective inspector after all.”
“Why would that matter?” Sherlock huffs from his chair, his usual snarky self again. John’s hackles immediately rises though. Lestrade’s name will do that from now on.
“He is a man of the law and he has always been so kind to you, no matter how rude you are to him and his colleagues.”
“I’m not rude, I’m merely stating facts when pointing out their stupidity.”
“That’s exactly what I mean by rude, young man. “
She looks at him reproachfully but of course Sherlock doesn’t care. He just lifts his steaming cup of tea to his lips and takes a sip while Mrs Hudson frowns at him and John feels about ready to explode. This is all too much.
Of course Lestrade’s been here sniffing around. Because he and Sherlock kissed and God knows why but John feels the sudden urge to smash something with his bare hands. But he can’t, not when Mrs Hudson’s standing there, it would upset her and he has never lost his temper the way he did earlier this afternoon. And now he’s reminded of why that was in the first place.
He senses how Sherlock is scrutinizing him from his chair, reading the shift in his emotions and suddenly it is all too much so he simply rises from where he is sitting, mumbling something incoherent to Mrs Hudson while grabbing his coat. The next thing he knows he’s pounding down the stairs again, just like a couple of days ago, when he found out that Sherlock wasn’t that unapproachable asexual creature John always thought him to be. But this time it’s somehow worse, because now they have that kiss between them and John doesn’t know how he feels about that and he doesn’t know where he is standing with Sherlock or where Sherlock and Lestrade are standing with each other either.
He’s never been good at this and with the added anger, pent up sexual frustration combined with a dash of jealousy and mixed feelings about his sexuality he just forces his way out into the fresh air outside, free of tempting flatmates, infuriating detective inspectors and a carpet that could very well have been the place for his first sexual experience with a man he never really admitted he liked in this way before.
He walks until his leg starts to throb and eventually the only place he can come to think of is Mike Stamford’s office at Bart’s.
Mike knows John well enough to know when something has happened but also when not to probe too much. They go down the pub when Mike’s finished his shift, successfully managing to avoid Molly or anyone else connected to Sherlock who also works at Bart’s, and they order two large beers, talk about everything that doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with a specific consulting detective.
It works surprisingly well as long as John’s sober. When he reaches and moves past his drinking limit he starts to babble and inconclusive sentences begin to form a puzzle that leads to a somewhat hazy picture of just what the hell has been going on between John, Sherlock, Lestrade and two other sods by the name of Donovan and….Dimmock was it?
Mike shakes his head at the mess of it all and calls for a cab to take them both home to his place for the night. John faceplants straights into the sofa and starts to snore seconds after. Mike turns him on his side so he will be able to breathe easier before going into his own bedroom to get undressed. Luckily his wife is out of town. She wouldn’t have liked this at all.
He considers phoning Sherlock for a second but then decides against it. He is John’s friend first and foremost and John’s in a hell of a state thanks to Sherlock’s sexual mind games. Let the man worry for once.
Because Mike Stanford knows Sherlock just as much as he knows John and he knows that Sherlock cares for his flatmate in a way he probably never cared for another person in his life. It doesn’t mean that he feels what John is obviously feeling for Sherlock, who knows if he’s even capable of that kind of affection, but he cares none the less and is probably worried right this moment that John might not come back.
At the same time John is too possessive. From what Mike gathered from the slurred speech at the bar there has been two types of kisses today, one good and one bad. The bad obviously being between Sherlock and Lestrade.
John almost spat out the name of the detective inspector with venomous tones, so he is obviously jealous. And that means he won’t just give up what he has waiting for him at home in Baker Street. Because John Watson, war veteran and soldier to the core doesn’t leave without a fight. If it is Sherlock or Lestrade who will have to face that fact tomorrow will be anyone’s guess.
When Mike wakes up the next morning John is still snoring on the sofa in the living room. He will probably be out for a couple of hours still, so Mikes writes him a note, informing him of where the Aspirin is, to drink lots of fluids and to leave the key to the apartment under the welcoming mat in front of the door. Classic place, first place for burglars to look for it and Sherlock would scoff at him if he knew. But Sherlock isn’t here, Mike’s late for work and John Watson is sleeping the sleep of the very hung over on his couch, right now he has no time to come up with a better place.
Around noon John wakes up and feels like he hasn’t felt for many years, maybe not since University: confused, hung over, guilty and angry at the same time and extremely anxious to get back to Baker Street as fast as he can.
Because why on earth would running away result in anything satisfactory?
He had Sherlock Holmes pinned to the carpet of their living room yesterday, they shared a kiss and were about to start sharing even more but today he is lying on Mike Stamford’s couch with a stiff neck, a foul breath and the headache from hell. That’s just stupid and he can’t even blame Lestrade for it because he chose this on his own.
Well, time to get things right again. He does care why there is a picture of Lestrade and Sherlock kissing in today’s paper (he hasn’t seen it but that’s what the reporter said would happen) and he doesn’t like the fact that it makes his blood boil thinking about it. But he is going to let Sherlock explain. Eventually.
After he has pinned him to carpet again and claimed what he never got around to claim yesterday.
Chapter 8: Going off rail
Lestrade and the events of the kiss.
Sherlock is standing by the window with his back to the room when Lestrade enters.
Dusk has begun to cast shadows in the room, the only light coming from a small lamp by the desk, otherwise the room is cast in darkness, making the person standing by the window looking ominous and slightly spooky.
He is clad in a shirt, accentuating his slim frame and Lestrade feels his pulse accelerating a bit as his eyes travel over the other man’s silhouette.
This is not good, he thinks to himself because this is not why he’s here and at the same time it is exactly this, his feelings for Sherlock that has brought things to it’s edge. Because there are so many “shouldn’t” between them now, most recently Lestrade going for that kiss earlier today. He doesn’t even know why de did it. Or, of course he knows, because Sherlock was looking temptingly delectable this morning, but on the other hand he always does and Lestrade has made a point of not acting on his feelings. And yet, he did this time.
It was like watching a train derail without being able to stop it although he himself was the very train crashing into Sherlock, aiming for those full lips, pushing his tongue in and everything.
During the very first second he could even pretend that his feelings were reciprocated because it took Sherlock a moment to comprehend what was happening. He must have been tired or something because Sherlock always sees everything, can predict all actions from people around him but not this time. So, for a full second Lestrade actually enjoys the kiss. Then his brain catches up with his actions and Sherlock stiffens beneath his touch and violently pulls away.
But the inevitable reprimands never come, because as they part, still panting and the surprise in Sherlock’s eyes evident, there is movement in their line of sight.
A young girl with brown hair, a backpack, Dr Martens on her feet and a camera phone aimed at them, smiling lopsided because just like Lestrade can’t fathom what he has just done, this girl is equally surprised by her sheer luck.
Ever since Sherlock started appearing in the press his fame has risen, he is beginning to become an internet sensation of sorts and this girl probably recognised him. There is no other explanation for the positively gleeful expression on her face as she was holding her phone in their direction, documenting the kiss.
And before either of them can assemble themselves enough to react she starts off in a run, disappearing around the corner.
“Hey!” Lestrade yells and goes running after her, because what the hell?
But as he turns the corner she is way ahead of him, soon disappearing into the crowd further ahead. He keeps trying to chase her a little while longer although he already knows it pointless, she is nowhere in sight.
As he returns to where he came from Sherlock is gone.
He goes back to his office, feelings all over the place but showing his usual calm self on the outside, nobody notices anything strange about him.
“Where’s Holmes?” Donovan asks him as he is about to escape into his own office, “I thought you were coming back here together?”
“Oh, you know how he is. Dashed off somewhere. I’ll call him later.” And with that he disappears in to his room, ignoring her questioning look, locks the door for once, pulls the blinds so no one can observe him from the outside and then buries his face in his hands.
Could he possibly have complicated things more if he tried? What the hell had he been thinking, assaulting Sherlock like that?
Granted it was just a kiss, but still. He feels utterly embarrassed and scared of what this will mean for their future relationship.
Because he has settled for what they have between them for a long time now, he should have been able to stand by those rules, keep it professional with a hint of friendship and camaraderie, nothing else.
But obviously some other part of his mind thought otherwise and hasn’t he just completely mucked up everything now?
He can't help but to blame John Watson.
There has been some tension lately between him and Sherlock. Lestrade doesn’t know what it is about but it has resulted in John not coming along on cases as much, this morning being a perfect example of that.
“He’s at work,” had been Sherlock’s terse reply when Lestrade asked about it.
Lestrade knows how John feels about Sherlock, it’s obvious, takes one to know one and all that.
And he has been afraid that one day Sherlock will see what everyone else sees and reciprocate those feelings.
But as the new friction between them developed, the stupid, irrational part of Lestrade’s brain, the one that insists on harbouring feelings for a person who hasn’t shown him any interest in returning those feelings, whispers in his ear that this might be his chance, that he should just go for it and so he did. And look where that landed him.
During the day he tries ringing Sherlock but gets no reply, he even goes by the flat but no one except Mrs Hudson is at home and he can’t stand staying there, waiting for Sherlock to return. Or worse, face John.
So he returns to work, goes about his business as usual, talks to his colleagues about the case they are currently investigating and acts as if this morning never happened. If Donovan gives him a funny look once in a while he ignores it and they manage to go about the case without bringing up the obvious absence of Sherlock Holmes, most of his team actually seem relieved that he isn’t there.
Eventually, as people are either heading home for the day or leave to continue the investigation elsewhere, he gathers his things and heads over to Baker Street.
Better to take the bull by the horn, sort this out, apologize if necessary and hopefully try to get past this. Because they both need each other. The crime victims of London need them to keep working together, Sherlock’s brain needs the stimulation and Lestrade needs the help.
He has almost completed the prepared speech he’s going to deliver when he enters the flat and sees Sherlock standing like a wraith by the window. The sight makes all words abandon his brain and he wishes that he would have kept pretending that everything was normal. Because he’s not sure he can do this.
Sherlock doesn’t turn but there is a slight stiffness to his spine as Lestrade enters the room so he knows he’s there. As Lestrades steps further inside, grateful for the absence of John Watson and is about to start speaking Sherlock suddenly twirls around and faces him.
“Lestrade…”, he drawls, sounding exactly like he always does, fixing the detective inspector with his piercing gaze. “How’s the case going? Any new developments?”
Lestrade freezes for a second, so prepared to deliver an apology and some chosen words to help clear the air that he almost starts reciting his prepared speech automatically before catching himself and changes tracks.
“Hm, yes…Well, we gathered as much as possible from the crime scene, Anderson and his team are still working on it I believe, and the witness was taken in for questioning...” He interrupts himself, unsure if he should go on, but Sherlock motions him to continue with a wave of his hand while seating himself in his chair, closing his eyes. So Lestrade continues, Sherlock asks the occasional question and order is temporarily back between them.
Lestrade doesn’t ask where John is and Sherlock doesn’t mention it either, they simply go over the case, Lestrade leaning against the desk to keep his distance from Sherlock, he really can’t bear looking in to the consulting detective’s eyes right now.
During their discussion he removes his scarf, puts it on the surface of the desk and forgets about it lying there as he leaves 40 minutes later, relief and happiness fighting for domination inside him. Sherlock promises to look into the case tomorrow if they gather information interesting enough to warrant him giving it his attention. His imperious words are still ringing in Lestrade’s ears as he steps out into the cool evening air, heading home.
Past noon the next day heavy foot steps can be heard working their way up the stairs and eventually a tired-looking, slightly sweaty John Watson appears in the doorway. He looks as hung-over as he actually is and his gait is slightly wobbly as he enters the flat. Sherlock is sitting by the desk, writing something on the computer and doesn’t bother to look up, so John walks up to him and stops just by the edge of the table.
He is still feeling determined to clear the air but other more physical matters such as slight nausea, dehydration and the beginning of a headache makes his thought process slow, searching for the right word but coming up empty. Sherlock continues to type so John tears his eyes away from him, letting them wander over the messy desk, while continuing to look for a good opening line. Sherlock is obviously not going to provide any assistance in that matter.
He reaches out his hands to steady himself against the desk and feel something soft beneath his left hand. Looking down is almost a hardship in his condition but he does it nonetheless and sees something that makes him frown at first, as if not comprehending what it is that he’s seeing. On the desk, beneath his fingers, lies a black and grey scarf, bundled up in a pile and even if he hasn’t seen it on many occasions he immediately recognizes it.
As he still looks at it Sherlock turns his head, sees what John is staring at and a slight dilation of his eyes convey his surprise, quickly replaced with nervousness.
John knows full well that it wasn’t there yesterday. He sat by the desk yesterday, he would have noticed it, which means Lestrade was here when John had left.
And just like that all his good intentions fly out the window.
Without a word he circles the desk, yanks Sherlock out of his chair and grabs him by his shirt. He can hear Sherlock say something about John drawing the wrong conclusions, but John can’t really bother to listen through the haze of anger surging his suddenly invigorated body.
With a firm grip of the shirt he pushes Sherlock to the floor and then lowers himself on top of the sprawling body beneath him.
This what not really what he had in mind when he left Mike Stamford’s home half an hour ago but the results are the same. Sherlock is lying on the same carpet as he did yesterday and John is already panting from exertion.
Too bad he’s too angry right now to even consider their proximity, the way his heart hammers like crazy in his chest and the glint in Sherlock’s eye.
Downstairs a key is inserted to the lock of the front door and a moment later it quiety swings open, letting a new guest enter the house.
Chapter 9: Made to see reason or succumbing to threats
Yet another interruption.
Mycroft climbs the seventeen steps up to Sherlock and John’s flat with heavy steps.
It’s not only from the effort that he’s treading slowly, he’s not particularly keen on facing whatever scene is playing out between his brother and his flatmate. At least he can’t hear any shouting.
He’s informed that they are both at home so maybe they’re playing the silent game instead, Sherlock is an expert at that particular game when he wants to be.
Mycroft can still recall his brother as a child, staying silent for days as punishment for some perceived slight. Mycroft usually could manage it the first day or two, even revelling in the unusual quietness around their family home. But of course Sherlock knew how to turn his silence into an oppressive atmosphere not even Mycroft could finally stand any longer. So, by day three or four he would have to succumb and through gritted teeth apologize, if mostly for the sake of their parents who thought their quarrelling was tiresome.
Up on the landing he takes a deep breath before opening the door into the flat.
What he sees makes his eyebrows shoot up and a slight gasp escapes his lips. It’s the most expressive he’s been for months, a testament to how truly shocked he is by the picture presented in front of him.
John Watson has his younger brother pinned to the floor, hands in vicelike grips around Sherlock’s wrists, sitting on top of him with legs on either side of his body. At first Mycroft mistakes it for a genuine old-fashioned scuffle, John Watson looks impossibly incandescent with supressed rage and Mycroft can see how his grip is firm, making imprints on Sherlock’s skin. But a second later he can see something else and embarrassed he turns his eyes away.
Because despite his evident rage the good doctor is also very hard, his stiff member pressing against the fabric of his trousers, obvious for anyone with Mycroft’s scrutinizing observational skills. And half a second later he sees that Sherlock is very aware of this fact too and that explains why he is letting his flatmate pin him to the floor in the first place.
The tableau only lasts for a second or two even if it feels like much longer for Mycroft, then the two combatants on the floor become aware of his presence and like being struck by lightning they fall apart. John’s face is flushed, by anger, lust and embarrassment in equal measure. Sherlock is of course not embarrassed at all, merely annoyed by the interruption.
He remains lying on the floor as John gets up quickly, brushing his knees as if them being dusty is what Mycroft would frown upon and not the fact that he has just been on top of Mycroft’s little brother.
No one knows what to say, and that’s saying much considering that Mycroft always knows what to say. He did know about John’s infatuation with Sherlock of course, it’s been evident for a long time now, but he never believed it would be acted upon. Especially not after the photos of Sherlock and Lestrade kissing. He expected shouting, anger, accusations perhaps but this…? No.
He mentally shakes his head and clears his throat before turning his eyes down to Sherlock who just remains lying on the floor, clearly displeased with the interruption. Mycroft’s not sure what his brother really feels for his flatmate but obviously he had been willing to engage in something physical with the man. The question is if it’s only to scratch an itch, to satisfy his curiosity?
John Watson is definitely not he kind of person who would be content to shag a couple of times and then let Sherlock move on to the next curiosity that comes along. It would be the end of their flatsharing for sure.
When no one still hasn’t said anything Sherlock finally sighs and rises himself so he’s resting on his elbows.
“What do you want, Mycroft?”
That kickstarts Mycroft again, the world rights itself, order is resumed. Younger brothers and their snarkiness, it’s familiar and strangely comforting and Mycroft knows how to deal with that. So he puts on his bland face, as if this whole scenario is utterly beneath him. It is in fact utterly beneath him, the situation doesn’t require much acting on his part and he steps right in, claiming the room, ignoring Sherlock on the floor, ignoring the flushed face of John Watson even more and just exudes pompousness.
“I’m here because I was alerted to a certain article in the press...,” he begins but is interrupted by Sherlock who groans and waves his hand imperially, as if shooing away a fly.
“It’s a tabloid, Mycroft, nothing that concerns anyone in this room.”
John turns his head to look down on him as he speaks. It’s clear that he doesn’t agree with Sherlock. What is also clear is how extremely jealous the doctor seems to be. Mycroft can’t help groaning at this mentally. It was just a kiss for God’s sake!
Outwardly he shakes his head disapprovingly.
“What do you think will happen to Lestrade when this reaches his superiors? His relationship with you has always been shaky at best, this takes it to a whole new level.”
“Please,” Sherlock rolls his eyes and finally stands up in an elegantly fluid movement. He straightens his shirt and walks over to the mirror above the fireplace to arrange his tousled hair. “It’s not even what it looks like. This is purely speculative journalism at its lowest point. I’m surprised you even bothered with it, you know how the press works.”
“But we also know how you work.”
John has finally collected himself enough to participate in the conversation. Sherlock glares at him.
“You’ve not even bothered to hear my explanation. Same goes for you.”
He turns to Mycroft now, still all sharp tongued and acidic tones but something in his face betrays a slight weariness, like his suddenly tired of this whole mess. Mycroft knows that face. He has had a lifetime of seeing it whenever Sherlock has made a mess of things, usually without foreseeing the result in advance and therefore even more irritated with the results.
It’s the ”Let’s all ignore it until it goes away”-face but John is obviously not having any of it.
Even if he has managed to calm himself in the presence of Mycroft there is still rage simmering beneath the surface. It’s tempting to leave Sherlock to his mercy but at the same time Mycroft has read the file on John Hamish Watson and knows what a temper the man possesses. There was that incident in Afghanistan …
No, he decides against it and instead of retreating he steps further into the flat, walks over to the two chairs facing each other in front of the mantle piece and after a quick assessment sits himself down in John’s chair.
Sherlock groans loudly and dramatically at this, because he knows Mycroft’s modus operandi and he would probably like to solve this on his own, physical damages be damned, but Mycroft won’t allow it. John might be sexually turned on by Sherlock and the heat of the moment might lead places that eventually would be beneficial for all of them, but at the same time, judging by the shape John seems to be in, hung over and brimming with both jealousy and rage, there is a chance that he won’t be able to see things rationally.
He’s not likely to listen to Sherlock’s half arsed attempts at explaining himself and he will probably not believe a word of it any way. Things could just as well turn really ugly and lead to this flat sharing arrangement to end. Mycroft is not willing to give up the security it means to have someone live with his little brother, look after him and keep him safe. But this love business, with emotions running all over the place, might ruin the balance that they have, feelings are likely to get hurt and everything always turns messy in the end. Better stay off it altogether.
“Why are you here?” Sherlock hisses but Mycroft just steels himself and produces his blandest expression.
“If you’re not willing to discuss Detective Inspector Lestrade, let’s see this as a social visit made out of brotherly concern.”
“I know all about your brotherly concern. You’re just here to spy on me. It’s oppressing and you’re putting John off too.”
“Don’t involve me in this.”
Mycroft turns toward the doctor as he speaks.
“You’re already involved, doctor Watson. My suggestion is that you take a walk outside to calm yourself or indulge in a refreshing shower. Your appearance is a bit… rumpled.”
John opens his mouth angrily but closes it again without saying anything. Instead he stomps out of the living room, down the hall to the bathroom and slams the door behind him with a loud bang. When the shower is being turned on minutes later Mycroft finally turns his full attention to his brother and tuts disapprovingly.
“Even by your standards, and I admit I never thought your interest in wreaking havoc would ever include such messy business as matters of carnal pleasure, you’ve outdone yourself this time.”
He can see Sherlock tensing but for once no barb is coming from his brother’s lips. A clue on it’s own how rattled he is by these developments. So Mycroft ventures forth. If he’s lucky he will have Sherlock heading for the door within minutes, maybe less.
“I always thought you would push the poor doctor to his limit, but I must admit I never predicted this particular method. Sex? Really, I thought you had better sense. It’s enough that you unhinged the detective inspector....”
“I haven’t! He attacked me!”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that!”
“For no apparent reason? How curious....” Mycroft lets the sarcasm drop from every syllable.
Sherlock spins around to face him now and Mycroft meets his gaze calmly.
“Do you think I don’t know about your little....”nightly adventure” with him a few years back?. And how you now repay him by sleeping with his staff, left and right to shake him off? It clearly not going according to plan. Quite contrary I would say. “
“This is none of your business, Mycroft!”
“It becomes my business when your childish games provoke the quite alarming feelings of rage and violence in your flatmate towards you. Like I said, I always thought he would snap, but not over something like this and not with such intensity.”
“I had it under control.”
“Clearly. And how do you propose to continue with this mess? I think it is fairly likely doctor Watson will feel inclined to move out of here unless you solve this.”
Sherlock hisses like a put-upon cat cornered by a dog, probably because he can see that Mycroft might be right. If he doesn’t deal with this delicately it may all blow up in his face.
“I was dealing with it. Until you walked in here, sticking your abnormally large nose into something that doesn’t concern you whatsoever. Leave!”
Mycroft just shakes his head. He's not leaving.
“Then I will!”
With a swivel he’s out the door and Mycroft afford himself a small smile to play on his lips. Not even two full minutes. Sherlock must really be stressed.
When John returns from the bathroom ten minutes later, flushed and with wet hair spiking in every direction but at least noticeably calmer, he is met by the sight of only Mycroft still reclining in his chair, no sign of Sherlock.
Despite his effort to sound as calm as he wants to present himself there is a tinge of anxiousness in his voice and Mycroft really has to pity the man. To be a victim of such base feelings as jealousy, it’s deplorable.
“He needed to clear his head and went for a walk.”
John clearly doesn’t believe him.
“Just like that?”
“Yes. And I suggest you make use of the time he’s gone to reign in your feelings, doctor Watson. It was rather difficult to ascertain whether you were going to beat him senseless or assault him sexually when I walked through the door. “
John immediately gets an irritated look in his eyes again, not violent but certainly incensed. He’s never liked Mycroft, from the very first meeting in the warehouse there has been suspicion and wariness on John’s part towards Mycroft and it has never really disappeared. Mycroft doesn’t care. That John doesn't blush or turn his eyes away does him credit though, it would actually be impressive if it wasn't so stupid at the same time.
“I know it’s difficult to put up with my brother at the best of times, and even worse when things he does affect you personally. I also understand how difficult it can be for a person to have feelings for someone like him, just ask Molly Hooper or DI Lestrade, it never gets any easier with time either apparently. “
John draws a heavy breath. It’s probably the name of Lestrade that provokes it, it’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
Mycroft shakes his head.
“Despite that, no one has appreciated your presence in his life more than I have. As a friend he’s never had before, a companion and yes, even as a conscience and moral compass he certainly lacked before your arrival. I’m in no position to force you to stay, not really, but I think this little arrangement of yours have been just as beneficial for you as well. You are good for each other. On a platonic level."
He watches John's eyes brim with anger towards him now but doesn't hesitate.
"Therefore, I request you to rein this in before it goes too far.”
John shakes his head vehemently.
“There isn’t anything going on.”
“No. Not yet. But there will be if you let it. From the look on Sherlock’s face he would let you choose the direction yourself, pain or pleasure, but I assure you, it won’t last.”
“You don’t know that.”
It’s the first official admittance that John has said out loud, even if his feelings have been blatant for some time now. Mycroft savour the moment, people so seldom man up to uncomfortable truths.
“Oh, but I do. Because it never lasts with Sherlock. It's not in his nature. Besides...”
Mycroft rises from the chair and suddenly he’s looming ominously over John. To his credit the doctor doesn’t move, he just pushes his chin forward in defiance.
“...if you do chose to continue with this and end up hurting him, you’ll have me to explain yourself to.” The glint of teeth flashes by, gone the next second.
“Are you threatening me?” John looks at him incredulously.
“Merely laying bare the price of taking things further with my little brother. Your own choice entirely of course.”
With that he strides out of the room, leaving John in his wake, considering what he’s just been told.
Chapter 10: Embarrassing encounter
Lestrade has an embarrassing encounter while contemplating his situation.
Lestrade sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he sat down in the canteen of S:t Bart’s to wait for the pathologist to deliver the autopsy results of a victim from his most recent case. Thankfully it wasn’t a particularly difficult case, he didn’t need to contemplate asking Sherlock Holmes to help him solve it, but a nagging voice at the back of his head tutted at him and sarcastically informed him that soon enough he would be forced to face that dilemma.
Deep down he knew Sherlock wouldn’t turn him down, after all he seemed to be opting for ignorance when it came to the kiss and The Work was always his number one priority no matter the circumstances, but still. Lestrade wasn’t looking forward to it. And even worse, he wasn’t looking forward to facing John Watson either.
It was akward just thinking about it and he pinched even harder to shake the image from his head, shutting his eyes as if afraid that the army doctor would emerge if he looked around the half-empty canteen closely enough.
He sat there for a full minute, eyes closed, supressing any unwanted images from his too imaginative mind, feeling the skin on the bridge of his nose begin to tingle under the pressure from his fingers.
As he finally opened eyes and let his hand fall down to cradle the lukewarm cup of coffee he had bought earlier he startled at the sight of a figure looming in front of him, on the other side of the table.
It was not like he had avoided her on purpose, he didn’t always use her after all when they needed help from a pathologist, but the fact that he hadn’t bothered to even check if she was available was a sure sign that he didn’t want to meet her right now. Like everyone else, he knew how she felt about Sherlock and he always hoped he never came off looking like that despite sharing the same feelings.
Because she was so obvious, her heart on her sleeve for everyone to see and Donovan had once confessed that she wanted to slap Molly hard in the face for being so foolish and silly around Sherlock.
“Must be something that’s contagious by the way”, she had added, giving her boss a meaningful look but she didn’t elaborate and he ignored it.
He knew how she felt, she didn’t like how he invited the consulting detective to their cases, let him take charge of the investigations when Lestrade himself should be doing that job and she definitely didn’t like how lenient Lestrade was towards him, with his rude behaviour and superior attitude, but surely he wasn’t projecting his feelings as openly as Molly Hooper at least? Donovan couldn’t possibly know why Lestrade behaved the way he did around Sherlock.
He looked up and met Molly’s eyes quickly and then swivelled his gaze to the side. He knew it looked suspicious but he couldn’t face seeing the questioning look on her face.
She had seen the picture then.
He heard himself clearing his throat but not offering her to sit down so she remained standing in front of him and the silence stretched for so long without anyone saying anything that it actually became embarrassing eventually.
He finally succumbed first.
“Nice to see you, Molly. Care to join me? I’m waiting for Dr Singh to come and deliver an autopsy report.”
He chanced a quick glance at her face and saw slight suspicion in her features, as if seeing him for the first time.
Maybe that was actually the case.
When Sherlock was around she never had eyes for anyone else and when Lestrade came alone they only exchanged case related information. He was probably only “the cop who knew Sherlock” to her, although they had met many times during the years.
He wondered if he should explain why he had asked for Dr Singh instead of her but decided against it, he would probably muck it up somehow, make it all even more awkward than it already was. Besides, he didn’t have a plausible reason to give her anyway.
She sat down and put her hands in front of her.
She came off as nervous and a bit insecure, even more so when Sherlock was around, but also on other occasions, she was by nature skittish in her own skin, but now she seemed strangely calm. Determined.
“So....I saw the picture,” she began.
Ok, straight ahead then.
No point denying anything really, the picture said everything.
Sure, he could try to fabricate some story about it being for a case but he was a terrible liar, that was much more Sherlock’s area. No point in even trying.
So he just cleared his throat and nodded his head without replying. What could he say anyway?
When she understood he wasn’t going to say anything she jutted her face forward stubbornly.
“Never understood that the two of you....I mean....that he was....”
The confusion was evident on both of their faces. This was Molly Hooper trying to figure out if her pretend-boyfriend had been someone else’s boyfriend all along while Lestrade struggled to save the small scraps of dignity he had left by trying to downplay the whole incident. But at the same time he felt sorry for her. He knew what it felt like, loving Sherlock Holmes and clambering to every small sign of hope there was.
He might just as well be honest.
“No. Look, that picture is not what it looks like.”
She frowned, even more confused, if possible.
“You’re not together?”
He shook his head.
“So what is it then?”
“Me making a fool of myself.”
That changed her demeanour. Her face softened.
Oh god, this was so humiliating. He took a huge gulp of the frankly appalling coffee while a small smile started forming on her lips. She was clearly relieved. Her fantasy could resume now. Maybe he was doing her an injustice by telling the truth because now she would likely never move on.
“I always thought you were married. To a woman,” she finally said.
“Look. We’re not an item, me and Sherlock. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing and no one’s more embarrassed than me. If you don’t mind I would just like to forget and move on. “
“Yes....of course. Sorry, I didn’t mean to.....I just. Well, you know, when I saw the picture I was very surprised....”
Jealous more like it Lestrade thought but didn't say. He wondered who else was fuming when looking at him locking lips with Sherlock in that picture.
That man always had an aura of pent up emotions simmering beneath the surface, like he could blow up if provoked. And wasn't this just the type of provocation that would make the usually calm army doctor lose his temper in seconds?
“I didn’t mean to pry,” she offered, “I just felt a little blind-sided. Never thought the two of you were an item, you never acted like one before, so naturally I felt a little…well, deceived. Sorry, I shouldn’t…”
She was back to her stammering insecure self again and he sighed inwardly. Couldn't she just leave already?
“.....I didn’t want to offend. Just....”
She hesitated and when nothing else came he couldn't help but look up at her expectantly.
She looked really uncertain now but at the same time something was on her mind, something she didn't seem able to drop.
He could see the exact second she decided to go for it. Her cheeks blushed slightly and she leaned forward as if to minimize the risk of someone overhearing despite the fact that no one was within earshot from where they were sitting. The closest person was several tables away, an old woman in a lab coat, fully engrossed with something on her phone and unaware of her surroundings.
“....what was it like?”
He blinked several times while trying to wrap his head around her question.
Was she asking him what kissing Sherlock Holmes was like? Her curiousity must have gotten the best of her because....really? He was frankly baffled. She was looking eagerly at him now and he scrambled for something to say when a folder suddenly landed between them with a small thud and broke their intimacy. Molly instantly retreated in her chair and Lestrade looked up from the folder startled, seeing Dr Singh standing there. Where did he come from?
“All finished, Inspector. Typical signs of suffocation, as you suspected. “
Molly rose and started making her excuses. Dr Singh gave her a glance but then continued to speak about the autopsy results. They never seemed like close colleagues, he probably resented her connection to Scotland Yard, mostly being stuck doing more ordinary autopsies, if there was such a thing as ordinary autopsies. Or maybe he had tried to ask her out once, but had failed to catch her attention? Difficult to be noticed if you were standing in the same room as someone like Sherlock. Lestrade shook his head, this was all speculations and none of his concern anyway.
He didn't know if he felt relieved or not by the interruption. Because frankly, it might have been nice talking about it with someone who would understand exactly how the feeling of kissing Sherlock Holmes might go straight to your head, clouding every sense of logic and reality, for just a second of those warm lush lips pressing against yours.
He sighed and turned his attention back to Dr Singh. It was exactly this type of foolish wishful thinking that got him in this situation in the first place – a laughing stock at the Yard and everyone else too for that matter, and with a very awkward relationship with Sherlock Holmes. And even worse, he dreaded the next time he would stand face to face with Mycroft Holmes or John Watson.
Which one would make him regret that kiss the most?
Chapter 11: A miscalculation
John makes decision but ends up questioning if it's the right one.
The problem with sticking to a plan was of course when the other participant wasn’t really in on the strategy and therefor had an agenda of his own.
John was determined to abandon any ideas he had about doing anything with his feelings for Sherlock.
It would get messy, things would get complicated and more importantly, he could risk losing Sherlock both as a flatmate and a friend if things didn’t end well.
With a small but still solid history of broken relationships behind him he knew how easily something that looked like a good idea at the beginning could unravel, and quickly too. Not to mention the fact that he didn’t even know if Sherlock would be amenable for a relationship with him. He had seen no indication of it and even if Sherlock might be curious that wasn't the same as acctually jumping into a relationship with someone.
There were too many uncertainties to consider and even if he hated the idea of Mycroft being right, he had to concede that the man probably knew a thing or two about his erratic brother. Worst case scenario would obviously be if Sherlock treated their relationship like an experiment, a source for knowledge and experience and when growing bored, as Mycroft claimed he would be, moved on to the next experiment, without concern for John’s feelings.
Sherlock was not a cruel man and would not have the intention of hurting John deliberately, but even so, he was no expert on human nature and feelings, so it was still a very likely outcome.
Rather than risk getting his heart broken or at least his pride wounded from that experience John decided not to risk it.
If Lestrade actually was an issue and he was seeing Sherlock on a more romantic level, John would have to work through his jealousy, however difficult that though seemed.
No more wrestling Sherlock down on the carpet, no more temper tantrums and alcohol binges because of his hurt pride and closeted emotions. He had to get his act together and fast, this situation had spiralled out of control ever since he found out about Sherlock’s sex life.
And in reality, it had nothing to do with him who Sherlock slept with. Of course it felt iffy to consider Sherlock sleeping with Donovan and Dimmock to get a point across to Lestrade, it was quite frankly stomach-turning if he really gave it a thought, but he couldn’t afford to let that be an issue between them and so decided to try forgetting all about it.
But this way of thinking highlighted the biggest flaw of his plan.
Because intentions and actual behaviour are two completely different things and however determined he was of making things work, go back to how everything had been a couple of weeks ago, he could not control Sherlock Holmes and he, as it seemed, had quite a different agenda.
When Sherlock returned to the flat later that evening John started by apologising for his rough behaviour without going into the reasons behind it and Sherlock, who never was a person keen on talking through issues and arguments, just nodded and seemingly accepted the apology without John actually saying the words.
They ordered dinner, watched some tv and things slotted into their usual pattern without any true effort. The next day a client showed up and they immersed themselves in that scenario for the following couple of days and things were like they had always been, more or less.
With the exception of a small detail that to begin with took John a while to notice but after the case was solved, became much harder to ignore.
Sherlock mostly behaved like he always had been, but small changes in his behavioural pattern started to wear down John’s tolerance and resolve when the thrill of the case disappeared and he was stuck in everyday life with a man he had secretly lusted for ever since they moved in together.
However determined John was to ignore those feelings Sherlock wasn’t making it easy for him, because suddenly he was more tempting than he had ever been before.
At first it were small details, like coming out of the shower, still dripping wet, the pale smooth skin glistening with water, a towel dangerously low on his narrow hips and those dark curls framing his face, letting rivulets of water travel down his chin to his chest in a way that made John want to reach out and follow the pattern with his fingers. Or his tounge.
Sherlock had always had an uncomplicated relationship to his own body and its exposure to his surroundings, so the half-nudity in itself wasn’t anything new. But it was the way he was doing it now, flaunting his nakedness (at least according to John), involving wetness to make his skin look more appealing, the accidental slip of his towel that almost revealed everything underneath, but was prevented by a last second catch of his fingers to the hem of the towel. And then of couse his seeming obliviousness to the effect his exposed body was having on John.
It was new experience and highly distracting to John’s resolve to remain a friend and flatmate only.
Other dangerous distractions would be Sherlocks use of his mouth.
He never ate during cases but the very first night after the case was solved he seated himself on the sofa, cross-legged with a bowl of cherries in his lap.
The cherries had been bought by Mrs Hudson earlier, she always tried to include some healthier alternatives to their normal intake of take away, toast and tea by sometimes bringing them fruit, and this time she had bought some cherries and even, despite claiming not to be their housekeeper, made the effort to pit them before serving them to her tenants.
Nine times out of ten the fruit decayed in the bowl before someone (usually Mrs Hudson herself) threw them out. Occasionally John would succumb to her efforts and eat a pear to please her, but Sherlock never touched the fruit, except sometimes for experimenting on them.
But this particular evening he sat with the bowl in his lap and started to eat the cherries while seemingly distracted by something on his computer.
It could be argued that Mrs Hudson never had bought cherries before and maybe they were a particular favourite of Sherlock's, but the fact that he not only took the whole bowl in his lap but also ate the offered berries while seemingly enjoying them was something so rare and unexpected that it immediately caught John's attention, and if that wasn’t enough, it was also the way he ate them that made the lower part of John's abdomen tingle with a nervous energy.
Sherlock made eating cherries looking straight out obscene, slowly bringing each berry to his luscious lips, making a small, almost succulent noise before closing his mouth and thoughtfully starting to chew the ripe flesh.
John breatlessly observed his mouth working on the cherries before finally swallowing them, turning the focus to the throat that visually moved, making the Adam’s apple bobble, before starting the process all over again by lowering a delicate hand into the bowl, pick a new cherry to slowly bring to his lips.
It was mesmerizing and frankly obscene to watch, soon enough driving John from their living room up the stairs to his own bedroom to calm himself by throwing open his window and letting the chill evening air cool him down.
He wasn’t stupid enough to think that he would suddenly stop lusting after Sherlock after doing so for the better part of their flatsharing days, but he was determined not to indulge his fantasies like he had in the past. So no wanking to these new images was allowed and therefore John Watson soon became a very horny but also a very frustrated man, both sexually and emotionally.
It took him almost a week and a half to catch on to what type of game Sherlock was playing and he when he realised he was having none of it.
Sherlock was putting on his best seduction act and it was driving John crazy, even when he figured out what the purpose of that game was.
Something had obviously been awoken within Sherlock.
It might have been John’s possessive streak, the violence or the sheer adrenalin of wrestling on the floor, the proximity and the pounding of their hearts in tandem, always interrupted just before the real action could begin.
He had to admit it had been arousing, the feel of Sherlock beneath him, laying there on his back, arms pinned to the floor.
But no….this was something that might intrigue Sherlock at the moment, but it was unlikely to last. Sherlock lost interest in things of high intellectual importance frequently so how could something as base as sex and emotions survive his attention span for longer than a second?
As hard as it was to supress his feelings and urges, it was what he had to do, despite Sherlock ramping up the game even more for every passing day.
John finally caved in and wanked in the shower one morning when Sherlock was still asleep, just to release some of the tension, and if Sherlock could read the signs on him later in the day and smirked slightly at the sight, John didn’t care, it felt good to at least be rid of some sexual frustration.
"I can do this. It will pass eventually. I just need to stick it out and he will grow bored of his games soon enough."
That was what he kept telling himself when Sherlock for the umptieth time walked through the flat in nothing but underpants, wild riot of dark curls bouncing on his head, temptation written all over him. John tried hiding behind a paper and ate his fifth toast of the day, supressing his sexual needs by stuffing his face instead and taking long showers afterwards. If gaining a few pounds to prove a point, so be it. He was not prepared to cave in.
But if John Watson was a stubborn man, he had underestimated just how stubborn Sherlock Holmes could be when challenged and just as John was getting the hang of the overeating and the long showers to keep his desires in check, a new ace up his flatmate’s sleeve was thrown upon the table.
This new ace came in the form of a tall, brown-haired city boy in a dark blue suit and an oily smile playing on his lips as he was lingering in the door frame to the living room. John eyed him suspiciously and was awarded with a pompous once-over. There was a mutual dislike between them from the start.
Sherlock was standing by the table, putting his gloves on, back turned against the both of them. As he swiftly turned around, coat swishing around him, dressed for the evening and still distracted by putting the final touches to his appearance by adjusting his scarf, he gave John a quick glance while motioning in the stranger’s direction with one of his hands.
“John, meet Sebastian Wilkes. We went to uni together and he has contacted me regarding a case. A very interesting one too. Usually I would invite you along instead of wasting valuable time recounting the details afterwards, but he’s offered to talk me through it over dinner. Just the two of us. “
With that he strode towards the door where the stranger stepped back to make room for him to pass. With his mouth open in surprise all John could do was see the two of them disappear down the stairs, followed by the door downstairs slamming shut behind them.
Quickly he rose from his chair and rushed over to the window. He parted the curtain just in time to see Sebastian Wilkes open the door to a cab, letting Sherlock enter first. Just before doing so his flatmate turned his head, looked up to the window where he met John's eyes.
It lasted shorter than a second but it made something inside John feel anxious, a nervous flutter in his stomach when looking down at his friend, like he had made a horrendous miscaculation.
Then suddenly, Sherlock winked, turned his head an disappeared into the cab, followed by his companion, departing into the night.
Chapter 12: Dinner date - expectations vs reality
Sebastian takes Sherlock out to dinner, full of expectations, but soon things take a strange turn.
Sebastian contemplates Sherlock sitting on the other side of the table.
He looks very fine.
Fit, clothes accentuating that body flawlessly, hair in that dramatic but still very suitable style that suits him so well, framing his face perfectly.
Sherlock has always looked good, but the years has given him some additional elegance and self-confidence that comes with maturity and that he had not possessed back at university.
Sure, he has always been an arrogant sod, but in his late teens/early twenties he lacked the panache to fully pull off the attitude and match it with a suitable appearance.
Sebastian can still recollect the sometimes questionable clothing choices the younger Sherlock had opted for, always going for the slightly dramatic, but without the knowledge of what actually suited him.
Not that Sebastian had been that aware of appropriate fashion back then either, before money and connections got him the right knowledge of how to dress to impress.
When he had sent the e-mail, requesting Sherlock’s assistance in a rather delicate matter at Shad Sanderson Bank he wasn't sure if he would even get a reply. Considering how thing ended between them at university he couldn’t hope for much, but still made an attempt.
Frankly, he has been dying to reach out over the years but it hasn’t been possible until recently.
Sure, he had heard of Sherlock’s little detective job and he knew that the man lived in London, but still, Sebastian has never had any real reason for contacting him. Not until now.
The break-in at the firm isn’t a huge deal, not really. A breach of security, not one of Sebastian’s responsibilities even, but when he found out, his first thought was to reach out and try contacting Sherlock. He persuaded his bosses that he could handle the issue, sent an e-mail to the address that he found on that strange web site that came up when googling Sherlock’s name and then hoped for a reply, but not fully expecting one.
To his huge surprise, Sherlock not only replied, he also accepted Sebastian’s invitation to dinner, overtly disguised as an excuse to talk about the case but really, this is nothing short of a date, complete with lit candles at a fancy restaurant, Sebastian in one of his better suits and Sherlock at a surprisingly well-behaved mood. Maybe the man has changed, mellowed a bit? Rumour has it that he is still as arrogant as he used to be, but if he is, he is hiding it well.
Sebastian is feeling very pleased at the moment.
The one thing he hasn't really counted on is that short fellow in Sherlock’s flat that Sebastian gets to meet when coming to pick Sherlock up for dinner.
Who is he?
No, surely not. If he was, why would he let Sherlock swan off to a dinner just like that with another man? But he does look decidedly unhappy. Maybe he just a jealous flatmate?
Sebastian can’t help but scoff. Stupid sod. If he has the opportunity to share a flat with someone like Sherlock but doesn’t take the opportunity to make a move, then that’s his loss. Snooze - you lose, as Sebastian’s nephew keeps saying.
Some time into the dinner, case discussed and glasses filled up, Sebastian tries tossing out some feelers, to see if Sherlock will bite. They haven’t breached anything beyond mere formality yet and Sebastian feels like he should put this into the next gear if he’s going to be able to pull this off.
To him, Sherlock Holmes is that great white whale that got away, when they were young. They never had anything going on at university, despite his efforts. Sherlock was such an innocent youth then, didn’t catch a single innuendo coming his way, just held onto to his strict professional persona like a drowning person to a lifesaver. Then the drugs entered the picture and Sebastian thought things were going to change, but they didn’t. It just meant that Sherlock cared even less about people, he only lived for chemistry, drugs and experiments. Later, drugs apparently got switched for crime solving instead, which is a relief. Sebastian isn't sure if he can cope with a drug user, however dishy he might look in a tight suit and Byronic curls.
Sebastian can see him starting to squirm where he’s sitting on the other side of their small, intimate table for two. He’s beginning to look slightly impatient.
Just as Sebastian is about to lean over, going for one of Sherlock’s hands, resting on the table, he becomes aware of a commotion at the entrance of the restaurant. He can’t see what’s causing it at first, but voices are being slightly raised and the maître d looks irritated while addressing someone Sebastian can’t quite see yet.
Never mind he thinks, turning his attention back to the task in front of him, going for the hand now, placing his own above it while searching for Sherlock’s eyes to meet his.
“As you might have guessed…” he starts, not having practiced this exactly but still, he has come here prepared, but getting no further when a man striding through the restaurant in full speed, catches his attention, interrupting his speech.
It’s that the man from Sherlock’s flat? The short one, with the unhappy face?
Sebastian furrows his brow in surprise and his confused expression makes Sherlock turn to look at what Sebastian is staring at.
But the short man with the formerly unhappy face has already reached their table now, having ploughed his way through the restaurant, an angry maître d in tow as well as two servants, trying to prevent him from getting any further.
“John?” Sherlock exclaims, surprise on full display.
The formerly unhappy-looking man has now exchanged that expression to one of a more angry variety. Not full-on rage or anything, but he looks incensed for some reason and Sebastian releases his grip on Sherlock’s hand to lean back in his chair, automatically backing away from the man’s presence.
“What the hell is going on?” he manages to bark though, looking over to the servants and the maître d who has now reached their table as well.
“I’m terribly sorry, sir. He just barged in, despite our orders for him to leave.”
They grab the man, John apparently, by the shoulders, trying to drag him away while he puts up a resistance.
“Stop it! I’m telling you, I know that man! His my friend, my flatmate! Sherlock, tell them!”
He looks about ready to punch someone right now and maybe it’s that fact that starts Sherlock into action, prompting the staff to let him go.
When the dust has settled and they have left, John make a show of straightening out his rumpled clothes while Sebastian and Sherlock just look at him.
“Excuse me, but what are you doing here, John?” Sherlock finally asks, when he realises that the other man isn't offering any explanations. Sebastian can’t tell if he’s annoyed by the intrusion yet, but he sure is. What’s going on here?
“Like you said, Sherlock. It’s a waste of time, you telling me the details of the case afterwards, and I know how you hate inefficiency. So, I thought it might be better if I just came along. That way we can head off, get cracking on the case immediately after this.”
He grabs a chair from a nearby table, plants it firmly between Sherlock and Sebastian and sits himself down.
He turns to look at Sebastian, a glint of something menacing in his eyes, the lets his gaze linger to the hand that has just seconds ago rested firmly over Sherlock’s.
“Seems like I came just in time!”
With that he reaches for one of the glasses of wine, takes a huge mouthful before putting it down on the table with a determined clinking sound.
“Well, then. Shall we get started?”
Chapter 13: Taking the leap
Sherlock's dinner with Sebastian has been interupted by John, but what now?
John wants them to leave, they can handle this on their own.
“We usually don’t involve clients in any further capacity than the initial telling of details. We have those now, so your presence is not required at the moment. We will get back to you when we have something to report or the case is solved.”
He knows he’s being rude and even Sherlock is frowning slightly where he’s sitting, all dolled up in his nice suit, curls shining in the light from the candle, for once not saying much. This is normally his part, the abrasive one who can’t behave in his communication with other people, but apparently he’s connecting really well with Sebastian Wilkes.
Sebastian doesn’t look very pleased at the moment. He has removed his slimy hand at least.
Just as well, John’s not sure if he can handle watching any intimacies between these two.
After they left Baker Street, jumping into the cab, John had paced the living room, fuming and worried. His first thought had been to swallow his anger and ignore the whole thing. This is only Sherlock winding you up and somehow he has managed to find someone willing to assist him in this.
But after thinking it through John felt like he couldn’t be absolutely sure of that.
The man in the fancy suit had looked decisively eager and eyed Sherlock in an appreciative way. Besides, where would Sherlock find a man willing to play this type of game, just to spite John?
If Sherlock had really wanted to annoy, he would have chosen Lestrade to come get him, that would have driven John right to the edge.
No, likely this was a real client with a genuine case.
A client who supposedly wanted to take Sherlock out to dinner as well. Other clients usually settled with sitting in a chair, telling their story and be done with it, but this one had to show up in a fancy suit and a smarmy smile, all but courting his flatmate, it was extremely annoying.
The more he thought about it, the more worked up he became.
Finally succumbing to his inner jealous paranoia about what exactly Sebastian was planning to do with Sherlock, he did something Sherlock would have been proud of, if the circumstances had been different.
John was going to crash the date.
Said and done, he searched the internet for Sebastian’s name, striking luck straight away by finding a picture of the man, complete with name and workplace information. After getting a secretary to reveal the name of the restaurant where her employer had booked a table for the evening, John was off, arriving at the place just in time.
After fighting his way inside, he’s now sitting between them, cockblocking to his fullest capacity and ignoring both Sebastian’s angry glare and Sherlock’s stoic expression. He can’t say that he’s pleased with his own actions, a small part of his brain berates him for doing this, but a much bigger part of him fires back: the man had his hand over Sherlock’s, for God’s sake!
Finally Sebastian gives up. He pays the bill and tells Sherlock to call him when he’s gotten somewhere with the case.
John notes that Sebastian very pointedly only addressess Sherlock.
“Keep in touch!” Sebastian finishes when he walks them out of the restaurant, but before Sherlock has the opportunity to respond John interjects with a grumpy: “We’ll be rather busy, no time for that many phone calls unfortunately.”
Sebastian gives John a final glare before leaning forward, shaking Sherlock’s hand.
His fingers linger a little too long in Sherlock’s, making John grab a hold of his flatmate’s arm in a firm grip and pull him away, while signalling for a cab.
He doesn’t even know where theyre supposed to be heading, they just need to get away. Now.
A cab finally pulls up and they both get in, silently.
“Where to?” the cabby asks and Sherlock gives John a questioning look, raising an eyebrow. Clearly he's not offering any suggestions.
John doesn’t know what to say.
He hasn’t all the details about the case, he doesn’t know where they should be headed and it definitely doesn’t feel like he’s won, despite chasing Sebastian away and getting Sherlock to come with him.
No, this is exactly what he told himself that he wouldn't do. Get involved. And yet, when his feelings took over there wasn't a rational thought in sight.
He’s acted purely on account of his emotions and they have clearly gotten the better of him.
“Baker Street,” he finally says to the cabby. Because he doesn’t have any idea of where else to go.
Next to him Sherlock looks like he’s sulking. He has sunk into his coat, hands in his pockets and his eyes are narrowed.
John feels like he should reach out and touch him but doesn’t know if it might be too late for that now.
“I don’t get you,” he finally says.
“Clearly,” Sherlock murmurs.
“You hate these kinds of things. Food, sitting at tables, socialising. Not to mention touching. But maybe it depends on who’s touching you.” John sighs.
“Possibly.” Sherlock concedes, but doesn’t offer anything more.
John wonders if he should apologise.
It’s a bit unclear if Sherlock’s upset about being interrupted while working or because he actually liked Sebastian’s hand crawling over his.
A part of him knows that Sherlock’s hardly interested in Sebastian, but that doesn’t help John losing his calm when provoked.
He sighs and draws a hand over his face.
He’s tired now.
Weeks of battling this, supressing his feelings, fighting not to succumb to temptation.
And what for?
So someone else gets to be with Sherlock?
No, that's not an option, he won’t be able to stand it.
He knows what he should do before the thought is even a fully developed plan in his head.
Maybe he knew all along but was too scared and stubborn to concede it?
But now, when faced with the option, he knows this is the only choice.
Because however terrible it’s going to hurt when Sherlock tires of him, and he isn’t stupid enough to think that can’t happen, the other option is worse.
The risk that Sherlock finds some one else.
He turns his head and looks at Sherlock who has sunk even deeper into his coat now, only his nose and curls are visible above the collar.
With a feeling of falling, his stomach churning with both dread and anticipation, he takes a final thorough breath before leaning towards his flatmate.
This is the final time, he thinks, the final time this man is my flatmate. Whatever the outcome he will be something else when this is over.
And then he kisses him.
Chapter 14: When everything is the same and nothing really is
John and Sherlock are a couple now and Lestrade tries coping with that. It's not that easy to pretend like nothing has changed, when everything actually has.
It’s all very different now, and yet some things are like they have always been.
That thing when Sherlock enters his crime scenes or his office and insults the hell out of everybody, makes inappropriate comments and unorthodox choices in his investigations, that still remains.
He looks the same, acts the same, talks the same and yet, something has shifted and Lestrade gest an uneasy feeling in his stomach every time he sees him know.
It’s John Watson of course and Lestrade curses the day that army doctor stepped into Sherlock’s life and just planted himself there, right in the middle of it, building up the courage during time and finally, like a spectacular magic trick gets the prince and the whole kingdom as well.
They reign supreme in Baker Street now, no longer just living together but forming a unit, a couple who has everything that Lestrade wants, but can’t have.
Not with Sherlock anyway.
He can still remember the time he sensed it, the change.
They just walked on to a crime scene, Sherlock up front, John in the back, like all the other times they have arrived to help.
But there was something different this time, like electricity in the air and while not understanding it at first, it suddenly hit him, like sledgehammer straight to his head. They’re sleeping together!
The way John gave him one of his dark glares, the one that had become a permanent fixture on his face since that damned photo in the papers, a mixture of Back the hell off and He’s mine! And as if feeling the need to confirm it, his hand had possessively landed on Sherlock’s arm, his eyes still firmly turned towards Lestrade, driving the point home.
Sherlock had merely glanced down at the hand on his arm before continuing with what he was doing, namely addressing a junior officer about his incompetence. Like he always did.
And yet, everything was different now.
Lestrade suppressed his feelings that day, pushed them so far away from his mind as he could, just to survive the day.
Thankfully the case was solved quickly, there was no further need for more visits from the dynamic duo and the next time he saw them, a few weeks later, he came better prepared.
Feelings bottled-up, his armour intact, he could pretend like things were like they always had been and John eventually stopped rubbing his nose in it.
But he didn’t stop coming along on cases. Apparently there were limits to his willingness to let Sherlock out of his sight, especially when there was a chance of Lestrade being present.
They never did talk about it though.
They never hashed it out and Lestrade didn’t know if he should be grateful for that fact or not. He didn’t like this situation between them, he didn’t like John full stop, but if it made Sherlock happy, fine, he could try to tolerate it and move on.
The next uncomfortable situation came after an incident where Sherlock ended up injured with a concussion.
Watson took him to the A&E of course with Lestrade arriving an hour later, just to check on how the consultant detective was faring.
In the waiting room he bumped into Mycroft Holmes, striding towards him in his usual tweedy splendour and umbrella in hand.
He was clearly departing, but stopped to greet Lestrade, all shallow politeness and formality as usual.
They never had warmed towards each other despite all the years, Lestrade wasn’t sure if Mycroft Holmes was even capable of understanding the concept of connecting with another human being, but there was at least a mutual understanding between them that both did their best to look out for Sherlock.
Lestrade thought that the elder Holmes was a bit too overprotective with his CCT cameras and constant meddling into his brothers affairs and sometimes he wondered if Mycroft knew what Lestrade felt for his brother and what had happened between them that night, long ago, when they ended up sleeping with each other.
Best not dwell on that, was his usual reprimand whenever that thought popped up in his head and as Mycroft never said anything to hint that he knew something about, it it was easy to keep ignoring that incident.
This time, Mycroft did not look very pleased though.
After the initial greetings and exchanging of polite formalities, there came a quick contemplation of his umbrella handle while weighing his words carefully, before finally nodding his head towards the door Sherlock apparently was behind, resting. Most likely with John as his companion in the room.
“New developments, Detective Inspector”, he said curtly. As if it was Lestrade’s fault that his brother was sleeping with his flatmate now.
“Yes, seems like it”, Lestrade finally offered, unsure of what was wanted from him.
“How are we feeling about that then?”
Lestrade shrugged and Mycroft frowned a displeased frown and everything and nothing was said between them without the need for words. This is a complicated mess and it will most likely end in heartache and frustration passed between them. There was a mutual understanding between them about that scenario at least, even if neither of them said anything negative out loud.
Then Mycroft just nodded and kept walking.
He wasn’t pleased and that somehow delighted Lestrade.
Because Mycroft Holmes could be a downright bastard when he wanted to be and that self-important smirk on John Watson’s face could be wiped from his features in a noot to distant future if they were lucky.
Unable to hide his grin at that thought he stepped into the room and faced the two doomed lovers.
If he noticed the lovebite on Sherlock pale neck or the slightly swollen lips, most likely from a passionate kiss just being made, he ignored it and felt his armour close around his feelings again, bracing himself.
Because things are the same, he told himself.
Even if everything was different now.
Chapter 15: Jealousy is a disease die slow
Finally having Sherlock Holmes as his boyfriend is everything John has ever wanted, and yet, it's more or less torture almost all the time.
Being Sherlock Holmes boyfriend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Far from it.
Sometimes John wonders what’s wrong with him for ever having wanted this. Because he’s never been as frustrated, jealous and insecure of himself and his relationship as he is right now.
To begin with Sherlock is a plunderer.
He walks inside a room and takes absolutely everything and everyone hostage while doing it. John finds himself reduced to a mere shadow, because no one is looking at him but a lot a people are watching his boyfriend. Many with hate or anger in their eyes, and although that can sting a bit, John can live with it, just as well as Sherlock can.
Bit it’s the other looks, the sexual ones, the longing ones, the looks from people Sherlock has slept with or people who wishes to sleep with him that makes the experience excruciating for John.
Secretly he hates himself for feeling like this, because it’s irrational and stupid and purely based on insecurity. But when he sees Molly or Lestrade or even someone like Donovan who does actually not like Sherlock but still has had the privilege of having slept with him, something twists inside John and he becomes cold and hard and unfriendly.
He tries talking about it to make it go away, because the one suffering the most from this is himself. But Sherlock doesn’t understand.
Of course he doesn’t, because to him the concept of feelings and entanglements and sex doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand.
He likes John because of what they share together when it comes to their home and the case work and now when they’re having sex he says he likes John even more because it means he can monopolize John’s time completely and Sherlock loves an audience, whatever the situation.
That Molly lusts after him is not of any concern to him and he doesn’t understand why John should feel threatened either, “it’s not like she’s getting what you’re getting” as he simply phrases it. But John doesn't appreciate the way Molly tilts her head just slightly, gliding her gaze up his boyfriends frame when she doesn't think anyone notices and despite what Sherlock claims, he does like Molly in his own special way, even if he doesn't like her like she likes him.
Donovan is even more of a non-threat because they only slept as part of a stupid plan, Sherlock certainly doesn’t like her and she doesn’t like him. Or so she says, John bitterly thinks without being able to help himself and throws all logic out the window when he sees her. Sherlock hates it when John brings her up, he thinks it’s a thing of the past and not even worth thinking about, even less so to discuss, sighing dramatically when John makes a comment. So he tries to stop himself from doing it,ending up alone with his suspicious thoughts instead.
But the absolutely worst, the one person John categorically can’t stand and Sherlock despite that fact insists on both working with, talking to and texting, calling and hanging with on a regular basis is Lestrade.
They are always together, as soon as John turns his back they are sitting or standing hunched over one thing or another, forever linked together in a symbiosis that makes John want to punch both of their faces when seeing it.
They feed of each other because of the case work.
Lestrade needs Sherlock's help and Sherlock needs the work.
Despite John’s blog and whatever Mycroft manages to lure his brother into helping him with, in the end it’s Scotland Yard who is the largest provider of work for the consulting detective and Scotland Yard means Lestrade 9 times out of 10.
Dimmock has not had the gall to show himself in their presence since the rumour that Sherlock and John are a couple spread like wildfire through the corridors of the Yard. That confirms a suspicion John has for a long time harboured about the man, but he is grateful for the abstinence as he isn’t sure if he could cope with yet another person in their lives that he needs to keep a jealous eye on.
Slowly it is eating him up inside and no matter how hard he embraces Sherlock when they’re out in public, how much he tries rubbing people’s noses in the fact that Sherlock is his, he hates that he feels like this.
Because John Watson was never a jealous person until Sherlock Holmes and now he’s almost drowning in it.
Since Sherlock doesn’t understand the issue, John tries talking to someone who doesn’t really know them as a couple and who can look at them objectively.
Harry and her estranged wife Clara seem like the best option, also being a couple with their fair share of problems between them who still have the intention of working through those issues, so he invites them over for tea.
It doesn’t go according to plan.
Clara doesn’t warm to Sherlock at all, Sherlock is his usual antisocial self, refusing to sit down and talk like a grown-up, and Harry is already on the wrong side of tipsy from the beginning, so when they leave everyone’s feathers are more or less ruffled and Sherlock haughtily declares that he’s off to Bart’s for at bit of breathing space, leaving John fretting at home about what Sherlock will be up to when John isn’t there to observe him.
What if Molly makes a move?
Or Lestrade comes by with a case and finds Sherlock alone and vulnerable to temptation?
As he paces the living room conjuring up scenarios where Sherlock will end up in the arms of someone else, a voice in the back of his head, decidedly sounding like Mycroft, tuts at him and says “ I told you there would be trouble if you got involved with my brother ."
No one except Mrs Hudson seem happy about their new relationship and as John’s jealousy begins to grate on Sherlock’s nerves as well as his own, John wonders how something that he has wanted and lusted after for such a long time could’ve turned poisonous so quickly after achieving it.
When Sherlock is lying next to him at night, or when they’re having sex, burying themselves in each other, licking, grinding, clawing, touching, panting and fucking, everything is fantastic. It's everything he could have ever wanted and more. But as soon as the intimacy is over, when they are in the presence of other people and Sherlock sucks the very air out of the room, then John almost wonders if this is nothing but delicately intricate torture.
Because as much as he loves Sherlock Holmes, the fear of losing him is even greater and a part of him knows that if that fear wins over his love, consumes him whole and poisons their relationship, he will lose it all.
When he twist and turns in anxious worry about what his boyfriend is up to at the moment while he has left John waiting at home, he wonders if that wouldn’t be the best solution in the end.
Because right now he’s living in hell.
Chapter 16: Fight tooth and nail
John and Lestrade come face to face finally and old resentments as well as new ones surface with dramatic results.
He wasn't sure how he ended up in here but from what he could remember it had all started with Lestrade coming by.
Sherlock was out for once and John had come home from the clinic late.
He had slumped down in his chair, enjoying a plate of baked beans and some Kabanos sausages, ready to turn the tv on and just relax.
It had been a couple of hectic days lately. He and Sherlock had been working a case that ended around a week ago and straight after that he had gone to do a couple of shifts at the clinic, working full days filling in for some of the regular staff who were bedridden with the flu.
It was good to work, it kept his thoughts from wandering into the dark corners or his mind and it also helped stave off the green-eyed monster called Jealousy that had been plaguing him lately at all hours of the day.
Things between him and Sherlock had almost been normal during the week, as normal as living with someone like Sherlock Holmes ever could be.
The detective had spent a few days coming down from the high of the case, working on some experiments in the flat, playing his violin and just basically relaxing in that way that didn’t mean relaxing to anyone else but clearly worked for him.
Then he had been off to Bart’s a whole day and now he was apparently out again, but John was too tired and hungry to give it any serious thought.
Sherlock never left notes when he went somewhere, didn’t see the point, and despite John nagging him about it in the beginning even he had given up, relying on the phone and Sherlock’s mood if he was going to get an answer or not.
Top Gear was on, the sausages were great and John felt his general mood improve as he relaxed in his comfortable chair.
Downstairs he could hear the doorbell, followed by Mrs Hudson’s voice resonating but unable to make out any exact words. He just wished it wasn't a client, because he felt knackered.
For a second he thought he was off the hook as silence settled once again downstairs, but a few minutes later there was the unmistakable sound of steps coming up the stairs with a resigned trepidation. Shit, there goes the evening, he thought with a sigh.
As the door finally opened and highlighted the unmistakable figure of Gregory Lestrade, the evening went from slightly irritating to full blazing bad within seconds. Shit indeed.
John hated the man with a passion and was fairly certain the feeling was mutual.
That hadn’t always been the case and sometime, back in the early days, they had perhaps even had a sort of respect and understanding between them.
Before John found out that the grey-haired much older, not that very fit (and what had Sherlock ever seen in him??) detective inspector had slept with his flatmate come boyfriend.
If Lestrade truly ever had liked John was questionable, seeing as he had all the facts in hand from the beginning, maybe he had only been good at pretending and now there certainly wasn’t much love lost between them.
John always made a point of making sure the man from Scotland Yard made no mistake as to who Sherlock belonged to and despite sometimes feeling that his jealousy was a source for some embarrassment and insecurity, that was never the case when it came to Lestrade, who he felt needed to be reminded of this fact more than anyone else.
So if John’s hand grabbed Sherlock’s a little firmer on crime scenes or if he ended up almost sitting in his boyfriend’s lap on account of their proximity, it was for the benefit of Lestrade never ever making the mistake of thinking Sherlock Holmes would be available for him.
As the man now marred the doorway to their Baker Street living room John wasn’t late to frown his face in obvious displeasure and openly show his hostility towards the man, despite the fact that he hadn’t yet uttered a single word.
Lestrade looked uncomfortable but at least had the decency to not look unfriendly.
Actually he seemed tired and unsure, like he wished he could be anywhere else but here if fate hadn’t forced him to climb the seventeen steps up to the flat and face an incensed former army doctor and very possessive partner of the consulting detective Lestrade likely would have preferred to have clapped his eyes on when entering the flat.
Mrs Hudson must have informed him of Sherlock’s temporary absence and yet he had braved the climb to face John instead.
The man was obviously desperate, or he would have turned in the door.
John glared at him.
Patiently Lestrade met his glare and then stepped inside, making John’s nostril flare in provocation.
They stared at each other for a good full minute before Lestrade sighed in exasperation and threw his hands out in a gesture of impatience.
“What exactly is it you want from me, John?”
“Nothing,” John immediately snapped back but Lestrade shook his head.
“Clearly you do. I have never done you any wrong doing and yet you treat me like I owe you something. I’m here for Sherlock as you very well know…”
“Oh, believe me, I do! And that is exactly my problem with you! Your constant skulking in the shadows, wherever I turn there you are. It’s worse than that mouldy spot in the corner of our refrigerator that I always foolishly think I have managed to get rid off, but then magically reappears as soon as I close the door and is the first thing I spot again when opening it the next time. Like you, that mouldy spot is connected to Sherlock, and I wish I could delegate it to be his problem instead. But since he has no problem with either of you, the problem remains with me.”
If his voice had a tone of barb to it, so what? He was done tiptoeing around the subject anymore.
Apparently Lestrade had as well because he stepped even further into the room, now looming over John’s chair.
“I’m not here to steal your boyfriend so get over yourself. How many bans you might put up around him, you can’t keep him from his work, and since I’m part of that work you’ll just have to suck it up and accept my presence. Believe me, you’re no joy to be around either, but I’m doing it because it’s my job and because Sherlock is my friend.”
“Oh, friends now are you? Funny, he’s never mentioned it. Pretty sure he’s said he doesn’t go in for having friends.”
“Step off your high horse, Watson. You know what I mean. I’ve known him far longer than you have and when you’re out of the picture again I’ll still be here. Like I always am.”
John pushed himself out of his chair with anger.
“Oh, planning to get rid of me then?”
“I will hardly need to, you’re doing an excellent job of that yourself! He doesn’t like your jealousy, it’s embarrassing!”
“No, what’s embarrassing around here is you! Hanging around every opportunity you get, waiting for any crumb he’s willing to through you. Too bad he’s already had you and spit you out again. Clearly not his taste - old washed-out has-been with a failed marriage in the rear-view mirror and a lonely future to look forward to!”
Lestrade looked like he had been slapped across the face and John could feel the sizzle of triumph in his chest for a second.
It felt good to finally be able to let some of his resentment out in the open. He had been dying to say something for a long time now but the opportunity hadn’t presented itself until now.
Stupid bastard, coming here, sniffing around what clearly belonged to John!
“As far as I understand it, Sherlock has never forbid me coming over, quite the opposite. With me at least he gets some excitement on offer instead of this dreary domesticity scene with your sorry excuse of existence as his live-in doctor and housekeeper,” came the waspy reply.
John could feel his knuckle connect with Lestrade’s jaw before his mind was up to speed and he could reflect on his own actions.
The pain radiating through his hand competed with the satisfaction he felt blossoming in his chest when he saw Lestrade stumble backwards. Before he had the chance to regain his balance John was over him again, this time with both hands ready as well as one of his legs, aiming for a well-intended spot on the older man’s shin.
“You stay the fuck away from him, you hear!” he growled as he grabbed a full fist of Lestrade’s shirt, pushing him against the wall.
Despite being much taller and heavier as well, Lestrade was surprisingly bad at fighting back. Or at least that was what John thought at first.
Later, when he was thinking more clearly, he could see the strategy of not putting up that much of a resistance, when Lestrade had managed to call for assistance and two sturdy police officers came to take John with them down to the car waiting down on the street.
But still being in full fight mode it felt glorious. All the pent-up rage he had been feeling the past couple of weeks whenever he saw Lestrade skulking around Sherlock like a predator was now being unleashed as his fists rained down over the other man.
He could sense blood pouring from the other man’s nose, but it didn’t stop him, he just continued giving as well as he could.
“You stay away, you hear me! I don’t want to see your face around him anymore!”
“You won’t be able to stop me! He calls me you know, begging for cases. Pretty sure he doesn’t beg you for anything!” Lestrade retorted.
And John punched him hard over the mouth, swearing he could feel a tooth come off in the process.
He had never felt this kind of rage before, but it was strangely satisfying to unleash it, no matter the consequences.
What finally made Lestrade free to call for back-up was the interference of Mrs Hudson, suddenly standing in the doorway shouting.
John lost his focus for a second and froze when seeing her, enough of a time frame for Lestrade to whip out his phone and dial.
“What’s going on here?!” she yelled while Lestrade talked into his phone and John could se the damage they, or he rather, had done to the place, with furniture turned over, a lamp in shambles on the floor, Sherlock’s precious collection of Guns & Ammo in a scattered mess around their feet. And Lestrade looking like he had stepped inside a boxing ring unprepared, blood pouring from is nose, bruises forming on his face, a rip in his shirt where John had grabbed it with all his force.
And despite seeing all this and his landlady’s shocked facial expression he couldn’t feel nothing but satisfaction.
The bastard had gagged for it, hadn’t he?
Coming here, provoking John in his own home.
He almost wished he could snap a picture and send it to Sherlock, wherever he was as the moment, show off his masterpiece.
Sadly no one else was of the same opinion and it didn’t take more than a few minutes before Lestrade’s back-up came rushing up the stairs, grabbing John by the arms as he was still in full swinging mode, cuffing him with his hands behind his back and frogmarching him down to their car.
This was the reason why he was now sitting in a holding cell, rotting away, waiting for someone to come and release him.
He was not going to apologize despite being charged with assault and while still unsure how Sherlock would view the events of the evening he couldn’t help but feel a surge of satisfaction when he saw Lestrade’s battered face in front of him.
He had been given a thorough lesson and if he was still stupid enough to try continue working with Sherlock, at least he wouldn’t be so foolish as to try stepping foot inside their home again. For now that was reward enough.
When he finally was released on bail and passed the desk on his way out, he saw Lestrade standing behind the discharge officer, following his movements in silence.
There was a challenge in his eyes but when john gave him one of his blazing looks in response, his gaze quickly shifted away.
That’s right , John thought as he continued walking, back straight, fists clenched, ready to throw a punch if provoked, stepping out to the car waiting for him on the kerb. you keep averting your gaze from now on.
Chapter 17: Releasing the grip while wishing to hold on
John's latest behaviour against Lestrade gets severe consequences for his relationship with Sherlock.
“You see what happens when you get involved emotionally with other people. It immediately turns into a hassle and it simply can’t be worth the trouble. People are so needy, it’s what constitutes most relationships in my experience. You and I are simply too rational for all the clutter that comes along with emotional entanglements.”
Sherlock glares at his brother who has seated himself in John’s chair, umbrella neatly leaning against the side, teacup primly held over the saucer while taking a sip of the Darjeeling he has brought with him on account of Sherlock never having any acceptable brands of tea in his kitchen.
This is obviously a planned visit. If Mycroft has made the effort of bringing his own tea and even taking the time to prepare it himself, he must have put aside a gap in his schedule for this occasion.
He is also the bearer of bad news.
Sherlock has been enlightened by a very upset Mrs Hudson of the tumultuous events that had taken place between John and Lestrade in his absence. The state of the living room has also given him the necessary clues he needed to form his opinion of what had occurred in there, filling in the gaps Mrs Hudson hadn’t been able to provide.
The big question mark still remaining is the reason why this happened.
He knows about John’s jealousy of course, it has been evident since before they became a couple and he has even taken advantage of that weakness previously to speed the process along on occasions when John’s stubbornness was preventing him from acting according to his actual feelings.
Like the situation with Sebastian Wilkes.
Sherlock had gone on that date to show John that if he wasn’t prepared to give in to his supressed feelings and just surrender, Sherlock had other options and no problem flaunting exactly what John would be missing out on.
Even if Sherlock hadn’t counted on John actually showing up at the restaurant and wedging himself between Sebastian and his intentions, he had at least felt that a seed of enlightenment had been sown in the excruciatingly strong-headed former army doctor’s head, offering a closer look at what he was missing out on because he was too scared to take the step from just flatmates to flatmates with benefits.
Sure, Sherlock isn’t an expert on relationships or even on human nature, he has managed to bungle up most associations he has with people around him, but the temptation to embark on this new experience with John had been too difficult to resist. He knew that it was a risk, but almost everything Sherlock did in life was lined with risk-taking, and he always had such difficulty saying no when really wanting something.
But now, when he looks at this mess that is threatening not only his private life but his work as well, he wonders if the price isn’t too high to pay.
In addition to that insight, he hates the idea of Mycroft being right about anything.
He is always so aggravatingly smug about being right, treating Sherlock like a ten-year-old who never has a clue about anything.
Sherlock had just stepped inside the living room, looking around the mess in there to piece together Mrs Hudson erratic story about a fight and the police coming to arrest John and Lestrade bleeding all over his clothes, when there had been the heavy tread of his brother’s footsteps on the stairs, heading his way with determination, probably full of smugness and further details of what exactly had caused this mess.
After locking eyes and reading each other ( 2 pound weight gain since last time, tension around the eyes, most likely from lack of sufficient sleep, must mean work related problems or....)
No! Sherlock mentally shakes that idea from his head.
Because Mycroft is all about mind and logic, never empathy, never any feelings.
People think Sherlock’s a psychopath, but they should see Mycroft then, in all his detached glory.
He’s just better at hiding it, the people he works with don’t really care what his private life consists of, as long as he comes up with the results they require, do the job he’s there to do.
Sure, they probably whisper, amongst themselves, but Mycroft doesn’t care, because he doesn’t care about them.
Mycroft has learned how to detach himself but Sherlock never really mastered that trait, always a bit too curious for his own good, wanting to belong despite despising most people, writing them off as imbeciles.
That doesn’t mean that he wants to be alone.
He thought he did before.
Before meeting Lestrade, before starting to work with Scotland Yard.
Before John Watson moved in.
In hindsight he can see that being alone wasn’t good for him. Now that he has experienced what it is like to have people in his life, he doesn’t want to give that up. But he sure has made a mess of things.
Mycroft tells him what he knows while making the tea.
From the police report that he has got his hands on, it can be read that DI Gregory Lestrade had entered the flat of 221 B Baker Street looking for Mr Sherlock Holmes regarding a work-related matter. Instead he had run into Doctor John Watson who had displayed a hostile tone in conversation with DI Lestrade and then, unprovoked, had started a physical altercation resulting in DI Lestrade receiving several injures and the furniture of the residence being partly destroyed. Temporarily interrupted by the building’s landlady Mrs Martha Hudson, DI Lestrade managed to call for back-up which arrived soon after, arresting Doctor Watson for physical assault, taking him in to custody.
Lestrade has decided to press charges. Because why wouldn’t he?
He has been injured after all and he doesn’t like John.
Sherlock tries figuring out he feels about a probable court case happening, but ends up thinking more about how things are going to be from now on, more so than whatever fates Lestrade or John are suffering at the moment.
John is going to be in a hell of a state when getting released, probably angry and grumpy and worried about court proceedings, his reputation, his work at the clinic and other mundane things that clutters his head with concern.
Sherlock can concede that a court case can get tricky, despite Mycroft most likely providing a competent lawyer. Too many witnesses and the fact that Lestrade is a member of the police will work against John and 6 months in prison is the maximum sentence for a crime like this, but John is a first time offender and Lestrade, despite being beaten, hasn’t suffered any severe damages, more like a bleeding nose, some bruises and scrapes, so most likely it will end with just a fine. A hefty one, but still just a fine.
Sherlock watches his brother seat himself, offering a cup of tea and then leaning backwards, to ease into the comfort of John’s chair. He truly is a creature of comfort, almost resembling a fat lazy cat curling up in contentment where he is seated in the chair, one leg crossed over the other, stirring the tea with a spoon.
There are no guarantees that his brother will provide a lawyer for John. Mycroft isn’t a huge enthusiast of the new developments between his brother and the doctor and right now he is positively radiating with disapprovement about the latest events. Getting involved romantically and/or sexually with anyone has never worked out well for Sherlock and this is a new shining example of that old lesson.
“Doctor Watson is still being held under arrest and will not be released until I say so. I need you to really make the right decisions about how you want to proceed with this matter, Sherlock. As it is now, you’re risking everything on account of a man who has severe issues with jealousy and trust. Am I to take it that you have informed him of your past with Lestrade or is he still harbouring resentment about those pictures in the press?”
Sherlock can’t help but feel his gut clench slightly when Mycroft mentions Lestrade and the past. Even if Mycroft always knows everything he has never brought up this incident before and a part of Sherlock had hoped that it was something his brother had actually happened to miss.
When he doesn’t reply Mycroft sighs and puts the cup back in the saucer and then down on the table next to him.
“Of course I know about that. I saw the feed on CCTV myself. At the time I even contemplated doing something about it…”
“Like what? He didn’t do anything illegal!”
“No. But he took advantage of the situation. You were too affected by chemical substances to know what you were doing and with who. A clear indication was your reluctance to acknowledge the incident afterwards and that idiotic plan of driving him away by engaging in sexual activities with his co-workers instead of just telling him off. As I understand it, the detective inspector has had a hard time understanding that you don’t reciprocate his feelings, but really Sherlock. This is a new standard of childishness, even for you. And look where it has led you. Losing both a work connection and a flatmate.”
Sherlock narrows his eyes while he listens.
He absolutely hates getting a lecture from Mycroft.
He would rather gouge his eyes out then be listening to this. But he can see that Mycroft won’t let the subject drop. Despite them both being adults Mycroft has never been able to shake the feeling that his little brother is still just the same clueless child he was when they were young.
If Sherlock had been an only child he would have been thought of as remarkable and quite extraordinary with his intelligence and observational skills. But having Mycroft as his older brother, people had already been exposed to his brilliant intellect and tended to consider Sherlock as more of a quirky smart-arse without social skills.
The bane of my life, being Mycroft Holmes younger brother
Because not only was he in constant competition with someone of an ever more superior intellect than his own, Mycroft has the annoying habit of having every millimetre of Sherlock’s life under constant scrutiny, ready to condescend over every step he makes and always trying to decide how Sherlock should run his own life.
In Sherlock's late teens and early twenties it had been almost unbearable and they had butted heads with constant frequency.
It had been during those years that Sherlock first met Lestrade and Mycroft hadn’t liked it one bit, probably feeling like someone else was trying to control what he felt was rightfully his, on account of being family.
But it has mellowed a bit over the years, or perhaps Sherlock has learned to ignore his brother more effectively. He has even been able to partly ignore his brother’s misgivings about his relationship with John. But now it seems Mycroft has reached the end of his tether.
“What do you mean I have lost a flatmate? There’s no indication that John is going to leave because of this. Quite contrary. If he’s willing to punch Lestrade out of some stupid misplaced possessiveness, he isn’t likely to move out and leave me to my own devices.”
“I have difficulty believing that you would give up your work on account of a relationship that isn’t even long enough to be called a true commitment on your part. So far all you have engaged in are the baser needs of a sexual exchange, I wouldn’t call it a relationship to begin with. It has the nature of being more like a fling. The unfortunate doctor might be in at bit deeper, but I’m sure prison might have a sobering effect on him.”
Sherlock widens his eyes in bafflement.
“Prison? Have you completely lost it, brother? Why on earth would he end up in prison on account of something like this?”
Mycroft simply tuts critically at Sherlock's outburst.
“He assaulted a detective inspector. A detective inspector who is also an acquaintance of yours. A highly thought of contact, despite everything that has happened between you.”
“I highly doubt even Lestrade would like to see John go to prison over this. Besides, circumstances aren’t likely to end with such a sentence. Six months in prison for a first-time offender is highly doubtful. It was more of a brawl than a severe assault after all.”
Mycroft pinches the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes for a second. Apparently it is a hardship to lord it over a wayward younger brother on a daily basis.
Sherlock sighs and is tempted to ask his brother to leave. On the other hand, Mycroft probably has some say in when John can get released from custody and they still need that lawyer. Best be treading lightly.
“So, you’re making excuses for him now, Sherlock?” Mycroft answers after opening his eyes again, masking his disappointment with indifference.
“No! What he did was beyond stupid and he will be hearing about it when gets home. But legally speaking, he isn’t risking prison, I can’t see that happening in this case. Unless someone makes sure that it does happen.”
The last part is said with a cautionary undertone. Because what is Mycroft hinting at? Not even Lestrade will insist on a prison sentence, despite what he feels about John.
And besides, he can't control the legal system like that.
But Mycroft can…
While Sherlock contemplates that fact, Mycroft continues to speak.
“I’m afraid I can’t let this situation continue any further, brother dear. It isn’t healthy to be under the influence of someone who can’t even control himself. This time it was the detective inspector who had the misfortune of ending up on the wrong side of his wrath, but who’s to say it won’t be you next time?”
Sherlock simply gawks at his brother. What is this? Has his brother truly lost his senses?
John would never hit Sherlock! Not like that.
“Oh, you think he wouldn’t?” Mycroft interjects his thoughts, “Because I seem to recall him having you pinned to the carpet, both hands in a firm lock, only a short time before you two embarked on this tumultuous relationship of yours. He clearly has a short temper and so far that has led to several unpremeditated decisions on his part. Why you have put up with it is beyond me, but I can assure you that it ends now.”
Sherlock jumps out of his chair, knocking the tea cup to the floor in his haste, shortening the distance between himself and his brother.
“You can’t do that!”
“I can and I will. Either he moves out of here as soon as possible or he will be put behind bars. Six months can do a lot to a man when in prison. It can even cure him of this stupid fixation he has on you and without his constant presence you can also have the possibility to move on and focus on what’s important for you. That which has always been the most important to you until recently.”
“I haven’t compromised my work on account of him!” Sherlock protests.
“By letting your jealous boyfriend assault your strongest link to Scotland Yard, I would indeed say you have compromised your work. If this is to continue it can very well end up costing you everything you have worked for during the last couple of years. I can’t watch you risk it all for this man, however good I thought he was for you when he initially moved in here. These last developments have shown me the dangers of a continuation of your relationship and by his own wrong-doing this afternoon he has put himself in this situation.”
The urge to grab his brother and just shake him is overwhelming, but Sherlock knows that it won’t solve anything. They have never really fought physically, not even as children. Mycroft has always been considered too old and much larger than Sherlock, it never seemed fair. But right now he can almost understand the satisfaction John obviously feels when letting his urges to strike out against someone be released.
Sherlock's instinct has always been to lash out verbally instead, or if that didn’t work, turn to drugs.
None of those options can help him now.
Mycroft won’t budge, despite arguments, and turning to drugs will only make matters worse.
No one will like that option, not even John. Especially not John. Because John cares for Sherlock, always has, hopefully always will, but now he will be forced to leave.
Sherlock tries another tactic.
“If you do this, I ‘ll never speak to you again.”
But Mycroft isn't budging.
“I’m willing to take that risk. What I’m not willing to do is compromise your safety.”
“For God’s sake, he isn’t dangerous! If anything, I’m the one who’s a bad influence!”
“Yet another reason this relationship needs to end. You are simply not good for each other. With time you’ll both see that.”
“You can’t just force us to not be together. Even if he moves out, we will still see each other. Not even you can control everything 24 hours a day.”
“Perhaps. But without the discount he's been offeren on this flat and your shared economy, do you really think he can afford to keep living in central London? He’ll have to move out to the suburbs. And frankly, I have a difficult time seeing him joining you on cases from at least one, possibly two hours commute from here. Most likely you won’t have the patience to wait that long and he can’t just drop everything on the blink of an eye whenever you want him to. But fine, I won’t be so cruel as to hinder you completely, I think circumstances will take care of whatever remaining flame there might exist between you after this.”
Sherlock is beginning to feel desperate now and lashes out. What John did was wrong and he needs to make it up to Lestrade, but this is too unfair, too definite. Mycroft can't really be serious in his intentions about cutting John out of Sherlock's life like this!
“So you want me to go back to what I was before he moved in here? Lonely? More prone to taking drugs out of boredom? To remind you, I don’t have the finances to keep up this place on my own either. That’s why I wanted a flatmate in the first place. Luckily for me he turned out to be a great companion as well.”
“I have given that situation some serious thought and have come to the conclusion that given your history with getting involved with other people, it might be for the best if you live alone for a while. I will provide the necessary means for you to keep living here and in the end, when you have had some distance to all of this, you’ll see that it’s the right decision for both of you.”
Hearing those words, sensing that Mycroft is not going to change his mind despite whatever arguments Sherlock might throw at him, he finally loses it.
Quickly he moves over to the door and slams it open, pointing at it with his whole arm.
Mycroft looks disapprovingly at him but finally concedes that he can't turn the situation when his brother is behaving like this. With measured movements he rises from the chair, picking up his umbrella and walks over to where his brother is standing, waiting for him to leave.
“This is for your own sake, Sherlock...”
Mycroft takes a deep breath, looking like he wants to say something more, but nothing comes and giving his brother a final look he walks out of the door which slams shut behind his back, missing him by mere millimetres. With heavy steps he begins decending the stairs while picking up his cell phone.
Time to release John Watson and get him packing from this place.
Chapter 18: Regrets
John faces his new life situation without Sherlock.
John Watson finds himself back in the suburbs less than a week after the fight with Lestrade.
It has all happened in such a quick fashion that he hasn’t truly had time to grasp what’s happened to him and he sits down in a one-room flat in Hounslow that is apparently his now, trying to wrap his head around how he ended up here.
After being picked up from the police station, the black car had taken him straight to a hotel room where Mycroft Holmes had waited for him, umbrella and sharp suit in place, a grim look on his face.
John had been agitated, just like Sherlock had predicted, but Mycroft didn’t move a muscle when informing him that his relationship with Sherlock had now come to an end and that John’s things were going to be packed up within the next few days.
“Until you’ve settled in a new home, you can stay here. At my expense. It’s reasonably close to the clinic where you currently work and not at all close to your old home. My assistant is going to help you find new suitable accommodations, not in the city of course, your pay won’t cover such expences, but a suitable place where there are also options for other clinics of your choosing.”
“What...?!” John had spluttered and that has frankly been his state of mind since that first statement from Mycroft, locked in perpetual confusion and shock, not until recently beginning to release its grip.
The first blow had been Mycroft’s words about his relationship with Sherlock being over.
He was not informed on whose order, but considering the history Sherlock shares with Lestrade, it might very well have been his.
John threatened "The Work" when ending up in a fight with the detective inspector and if it there is something Sherlock never would tolerate, it is meddling with his occupation. It is what makes him breathe after all. Without it he would have succumbed to drugs long ago. Everyone knows this and yet John hadn’t been able to stop himself. Stupid!
But he barely had the time to digest the first blow before Mycroft delivered the next one. About his living arrangements.
Moving out of Baker Street?
He somehow never imagined things to go like this. Sure, Sherlock could be unreasonable in his own way, but not when it came to petty things like throwing someone out from their home. He knew how difficult it would be to find a new flat.
And what was Mycroft’s role in this? Why was he paying for a hotel room? Why was his assistant looking for places in the suburbs for John to move into?
“Whose idea is this?” he managed to hiss and Mycroft had the audacity to not even look perturbed, just giving one of his condescending looks, drumming the umbrella handle with his spindly fingers.
“That really is of no significance, the end result will be the same, whoever initiated this. But to really make it clear, Doctor Watson, you yourself is the conductor of your own fate. Certain actions have consequences. Violence against a member of the law is one of those.”
Ignoring that last little nugget of reproach John went straight for the obvious question:
“And why are you helping me?”
“I am pragmatic. Leaving things to their own devices will lead us nowhere and might mean that you continue to live in Baker Street for months. I understand that finding accommodations is difficult under the best of circumstances, if we want a quick resolution to this situation I’m willing to pay extra for a swift solution. The quicker you are out of the immediate vicinity of Baker Street, the better. “
John had glared at Mycroft, but too many thoughts had swirled in his head for him to focus on what exactly Mycroft was implying. With the impending court trial, Sherlock breaking up with him, the move, everything - it was all too much. And the only one he had to depend on right now was Mycroft Bloody Holmes with his superior airs and clinical view on things.
Before he had the opportunity to say anything else, Mycroft had delivered the final, and frankly most disturbing blow of all.
“While you’re still in the city you are forbidden to approach either Baker Street or Sherlock. If you attempt to do it anyway my men are informed to take physical action against you. They are trained to be the very best so I wouldn’t try my luck if I were you.”
“But....Am I not allowed any parting words with him?”
“Not now. Perhaps one day, when time has passed and you have settled into your new living situation, something can be arranged. If it is still wanted of course. As I am sure you have learned by now, my brother isn’t much for dabbling in matters of the heart. Just look where getting involved ended up, for both of you.”
With that Mycroft had left, leaving John with his head reeling.
His next move had been to call Sherlock, but it turned out his phone never made it from Baker Street to the police station and when trying to call from the landline of the hotel the number was suspiciously unable to connect.
The next day the same black car which had taken him to the hotel yesterday took him to the clinic and when he came back in the afternoon, a few of his clothes as well as other personal items, were waiting for him on the bed.
The day after that Anthea was the one to pick him up from work, taking the extra care to accompany him to a flat in Hounslow.
John had never been to Hounslow before and after having experienced the buzzing city life and what it meant to be living in the middle of it, he immediately took a dislike to the place. But if Mycroft was pragmatic, then his PA was like a copy of her employer, same views and ideas ingrained in her. She listened to him beginning to complain but cut him of before he had the chance to really get started.
“This is what you can afford on your salary as a locum doctor. There is also a two-bedroom flat in Croydon available but frankly, why would you need two bedrooms? This flatsharing business was clearly not working for you. And the commute from Croydon is slightly trickier. This is a good offer, Doctor Watson. You can move in tomorrow if you want.”
“No. Of course I don’t want to! I want to return to the home I had until two days ago! The life I had there.”
“That is not an option. Neither is staying in the hotel for any longer period of time. If you don’t take what we offer within two week you will be left homeless and your belongings will be put in a storage until you find a place on your own. But keep in mind, the way you acquired Baker Street is not likely to happen again. Lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.”
Don’t I know it....he thought bitterly and reluctantly agreed to the flat, because right now something was slowly breaking inside him and if he was going to end up homeless as well, he might end up with that gun in his hand, contemplating dark thoughts again. The ones he had before he met Sherlock.
And that’s why he is now sitting on the simple single bed in the flat in Hounslow, contemplating how he ever ended up in this situation and if there is something he can possibly do to turn things around, to get his life back to what it was less than a week ago.
What he misses the most is Sherlock of course.
He misses everything about him, both physically but also as a presence he has grown used to, despite all the madness surrounding his former flatmate and boyfriend.
The word has a strange taste in his mouth, they hardly had the time to define what they actually were to each other before everything came to a screeching halt. And now everything is just awful. Like someone has come and turned off the light, leaving John in the dark.
He has the gun though.
It was neatly packed with his other belongings and when he sees the boxes with everything he owns, which frankly isn’t much, he wonders what his life really is worth? Three cardboard boxes with useless stuff and a gun.
That gun might be the only thing of value now.
When he first saw the boxes he had searched through them, vainly hoping that Sherlock might have left a message somewhere or just simply something, a reminder, anything.
But the items are all his, nothing more, nothing less. His life neatly packed up, sealed and delivered. No need to ever contact Baker Street for anything regarding his belongings, nothing to use as an excuse to go there and knock on the door.
He remembers Mycroft threat of physical punishment if he tries, but he would gladly take it if given the opportunity to talk to Sherlock, see him again, perhaps explain. But it’s Sherlock’s silence that stops him from doing this.
Because the man hasn’t reached out to him since John punched Lestrade.
John has no idea what he’s thinking, but clearly he can’t be happy with John if he has decided on a clean break like this. The message couldn’t be more straight forward.
And that is sadly just in line with the effectiveness that is Sherlock Holmes. Because Mycroft had been right about one thing, Sherlock doesn’t usually waste his time on matters of the heart, too messy and illogical.
But still, John had thought he was the exception to that rule. The one Sherlock was willing to be messy and illogical with.
It hurts more than he can fathom to be proven wrong and it takes all his willpower to bite down the scream of pure agony he wants to let lose.
The walls of his new flat are rather thin, the neighbours would probably call the police and the last thing he needs is another turn with the long arm of the law. He can make do with the court proceedings he has coming up by the end of the month.
And worst of all, he has no one to blame but himself.
So he sits there on the bed, unsure of what to do, turning the gun over and over in his hands.
This is somehow reminiscent of the time before he met Sherlock, when John had also felt utterly alone and useless, with no purpose in life.
Strange how things can be so similar after meeting Sherlock as well. Like the months in between has made no difference at all.
Chapter 19: Decisions
John get a visit from an unexpected guest and makes a decision.
It’s Lestrade who reaches out first.
John comes home from a long shift at the clinic, because now, when he has nothing else to occupy his time, all his shifts are long and the clinic manager is even considering offering a full-time employment when summer comes, if John is still interested. John is not particularly interested but what else is he going to do with his time? Sit and stare at the walls of his sad flat in Hounslow?
The detective inspector is stepping out of a car when John approaches the block of flats where he now lives.
He still carries signs of their fight on his face but otherwise he looks pretty much the same as he always does, slightly rumpled suit, hair looking a little more silver every time John sees him and today he has that scarf that once spiked John’s jealousy when seeing it left behind on Sherlock’s desk.
That seems like ages ago now and yet that was such a strong indication of how out of hand John’s jealousy had gone considering his possessiveness of Sherlock.
It was jus a left-behind scarf for God’s sake!
Sherlock told him that nothing ever happened between him and Lestrade, except for that unfortunate night years ago and then that one-sided kiss of course.
Objectively John can grasp that he was overreacting, too bad he is nowhere near reasonable when jealousy strikes.
That’s what landed him in this position, living in bloody Hounslow, cut out of Sherlock’s life, obsessively cleaning his gun every other night when he gets home.
He’s not sure why he’s doing that, it’s just a compulsion at the moment, perhaps it's a coping mechanism. Get home from work, open up a beer, clean the gun, go to sleep, and then repeat, he’s been doing it for over a week now.
He wonders why Lestrade is here.
They are to meet in court soon enough, the DI has pressed charges after all.
John’s employer doesn’t know this yet, he wonders if it will cost him his job and if it does, is he not going to be able to pay for this shitty one-room flat out in the suburbs that he hates anyway but that is the only thing he has at the moment?
He would feel like a failure if he being forced to turn to unemployment benefits, register as unemployed, start all over again, maybe move even further away from the city.
All because of a fist fight with the man who now patiently waits for him to approach. He is clearly here for a reason and John doesn’t know if he should be angry or suspicious over the fact that Lestrade has done the effort to seek him out.
Then a thought hits him.
What if it’s Sherlock who has sent him?
He hasn’t heard a peep from his former flatmate since Mycroft met him in that hotel room and informed John that his life as he formerly knew it was not to be anymore.
His first thought had been that it was Sherlock who had ordered him to leave their home, but the more he has thought about it, he has difficulty believing Sherlock would be using his brother to do his own dirty work. Sherlock is more than capable of telling people off, in fact he excels at it, using his most barbed tones and acerbic phrasings. But John can’t know for sure and as he still hasn’t heard from the man himself he can’t be certian of anything.
He has contemplated disobeying Mycroft’s orders of staying away, but a part of him still ponders the fact that Sherlock hasn’t made any attempts to contact him. Maybe he actually doesn’t want to see John?
It certainly seems like it considering his lack of effort trying to reach out. So John has decided to leave it for now, wait for the trial and perhaps make a move after that.
But now Lestrade is here and that surely must mean something?
He wouldn’t come here just to taunt John, would he? The jury is likely to judge in the D.I's favour, he is a policeman after all, there were witnesses as well and John isn’t so cowardly that he will deny his violent actions. No, Lestrades's reason for being here must be something else.
When John reaches the other man he stops in front of him, nods in acknowledgement and waits for Lestrade to state his business.
“How are you doing?”
The question is surprising and not at all what John expected. He doesn’t know what to say so he just shrugs.
“Can we have a word? In your place perhaps? It feels a bit strange standing out here on the street,” Lestrade says calmly and it’s surprising how like himself he sounds, no supressed anger or resentment. Just like the reasonable man he always sets out to be, like he sounds most of the time. It’s baffling considering the circumstances.
“Yeah, sure, you can come up. Warning though, I just moved in so the place…well, you know, I haven’t really…unpacked.”
“It will probably look more sorted than the Baker Street flat anyway,” Lestrade muses and if John wasn’t so far down in his own misery he would have cracked a smile. As it is now, all it achieves is to remind him of the place that is no longer his home. He never thought he would miss clutter, biohazardous experiments and dusty surfaces as much as he does now that it’s gone.
If Lestrade have any thoughts about John’s new flat he doesn’t express them, not with mimicry or with words, he just steps right in, lets his gaze roam the place before seating himself down on the sofa.
John sits himself opposite him, on the bed, hands between his knees, waiting for the other man to state his business.
“So…this is a bit of a surprise…,” Lestrade begins, looking straight at John. His brown eyes are calm. Damn the man for succeeding to look like everything is normal and as things should be. But for him they probably are. Nothing’s really changed for him.
Reluctantly John decides to actually answer without letting what he says be tainted by what he feels.
“Yeah. It wasn’t exactly voluntary, but you know, it beats being homeless.”
Lestrade tilts his head slightly, still assessing him and there is a question in his eyes.
“You know, I have a hard time believing Sherlock threw you out. He hasn’t said anything himself of course, because he doesn’t really answer his bloody phone when I call him but Mrs Hudson is just overflowing with useful information.”
John gives him a sharp look at the mention of his former landlady. It's strange how quickly you forget the other people in your life when you only focus on the one. John never even bothered to give the old lady an explanation when he moved, the last she saw of John was him being hauled of by two officers in a police car.
“Did she tell you where I was?” He is actually surprised that she would know this but Lestrade shakes his head.
“Well, no. Because she didn’t actually know, did she? All she knew was that Mycroft’s people had cleared the flat of your belongings and paid the final rent as well as the subsequent two months, informing her that you were going to move out. “
John feels a bit bad for not reaching out to her. He doesn’t know if Mycroft’s ban includes her as well, but he should at least have made the effort, giving her a call. Unfortunately, his mind has been focusing on Sherlock as usual. It's not en excuse, merely a fact, however wrong it may be.
“So, how did you find me?”
“The whole thing reeks of Mycroft Holmes so I figured the best way to find out would be to ask your boss at the clinic. Mrs Hudson knew where you worked, so it was easy really.”
“And why exactly have you come here? We are to meet in less than two weeks anyway. In court.”
“About that. I have decided to drop the charges. It might be against all my initial reasoning for pressing charges in the first place, but after seeing what this whole thing has led to, I don’t really feel like I should anymore.”
“And why is that?”
“Because you are living in bloody Hounslow for God’s sake! That's even more of a lesson than I initially thought pressing charges against you would teach. Robbed of both home and love, it's all a bit too harsh. And also, despite not having met him since the fight, Sherlock is probably not happy about this. My suspicions are that Mycroft Holmes has taken action against you two continuing your little liaison and in the end, despite everything, I care enough about Sherlock not to want to see him unhappy.”
John stares at him, because this is not at all what he is expecting. He doesn’t know how to respond to any of this, it feels like it’s the wrong person who is talking like this, it shouldn’t be Lestrade. Lestrade is his rival, for God's sake! They have never truly got on that well and most certainly not after John found out about his past with Sherlock, and Lestrade in turn found out about John and Sherlock getting together. It’s all been a poisonous mess ever since.
“I honestly don’t know who wanted me kicked out of Baker Street, it all happened so fast. I hoped that it wasn’t Sherlock of course, but I haven’t heard a peep from him so I don’t really know. You are very important to him, whatever opinions I have of you, and he was probably upset about me risking the bond you two have. You know how he is about his work.”
“Yes, don’t I know it. And the same can be said about you and your feelings towards me, you haven’t exactly been subtle about it.”
John can’t help but glare but at least he isn’t taking the bait, trying to start something up. He isn’t willing to end up in another useless fight. He has payed a too high price regarding the first one.
“Forget my comment, I haven’t come here to start things with you," Lestrade says. "Whatever we might feel about each other, I sort of get it. If I had Sherlock Holmes as my boyfriend, I would hate it too if he was running around with someone else half of the time. Sexual or not, it would disturb me. But as I don’t have the luxury of having him, I can’t really know how I would react.”
“Well, I don’t really have him anymore either. So that makes two of us. And for what it's worth, I know I did wrong when I started that fight with you. I don’t really know why being with him brings out all this anger in me. I never considered myself jealous or possessive until him. It’s like I'm making up for all the years when I never had one single jealous thought or possessive streak in me. It’s something about him I think. He used to drive me crazy half of the time even before we got together, it all just got amplified when we finally became a couple. “
Lestrade laughs at this and it’s only partially bitter.
“I know exactly what you mean. Before you, there was me, remember? And despite never having had him like you did, crazy is very much the word I would use to describe what he did to my mind. Everything about him is messed up and at the same time he’s the best experience you’ll ever have. That’s the trouble with him, you don’t want to let go and return to the grey and ordinary that used to be life before meeting him.”
John nods because that’s the truest thing he has heard in ages.
Lestrade has obviously had some time to come to terms with his feelings about Sherlock and what being allowed to be in his vicinity is actually costing him.
It can’t be easy, John isn’t sure he would be able to do it himself, being in Sherlock’s presence but never be allowed to touch or breach any boundaries.
Poor bastard, it must be torture.
“I basically came here to see how you were doing, which is strange considering circumstances. Sherlock would probably call it stupid sentimentality, on the other that would hardly be the worst thing he has called me over the years,” Lestrade quips dryly.
Finally John lets a smile touch his lips. It feels strange but at the same time like something has lifted slightly from his chest. Everything is far from solved and if Lestrade is right about it being Mycroft who has orchestrated this separation it might be even more difficult to get his life back, but at lest this has given him some hope and the energy he needs to pull himself together.
As they seems to be opening up to each other a thought suddenly strikes him, something that has occupied his own thoughts from time to time but he never found a way to bring up, despite driving himself mad wondering about it.
“Did you know that he slept with Donovan and Dimmock before we got together? On several occasion apparently.”
Lestrades’s eyes go wide, before his brow knits in confusion.
John shakes his head, because of course Lestrade wouldn't know about this. It must be quite a shock to hear it, perhaps even more so than it had been for him.
“I sort of found out about Dimmock by accident, or at least had my suspicions about it, but what really started the whole thing was me asking Sherlock about you. He told me about a night years ago that you had shared, but proceeded to tell me how he had hooked up with Donovan and Dimmock in an attempt to shake you off.”
It takes Lestrade a full minute to really absorb this new information. He looks like he has been slapped straight in the face and is about to lose his calm, reacting like John did when he found out. But then, he just inflates instead and he sags a little where he is sitting on the sofa. As if something is finally hitting him.
“He truly is a complete idiot when it comes to human behaviour, isn’t he? I always suspected he used his so called sociopathic label as an excuse to be a dick to everyone or perhaps the drugs were a part of it as well. But he hasn’t used in ages now and as far as I know there is no official diagnose done on him. But this truly proves the man to be completely useless when it comes to people and human interactions. Why the hell did he sleep with those two idiots and why the hell did they agree to it?”
“He said word would get around to you eventually if it was with someone you worked with and that it would kill your interest in him or at least drive home the message that he wasn’t interested. I know, it’s sounds completely bonkers and deep down he might have known that as well, the reasoning is certainly not up to his usual standard.”
“What a prick! And how embarrassing for me. They must have all laughed behind my back, poor old Lestrade being all clueless while the younger consultant he has a crush on is sleeping with all his co-workers. I mean, Dimmock? That idiot’s been after my position for years. He knows what Sherlock does to my team’s crime solving rate, I wouldn’t put anything past him. But to actually sleep with Sherlock? Jeez! And Donovan? As far as I know she hates him! Why the hell did she agree to this?”
“Why do any of us do it?” John asks and Lestrade contemplates his words, sighing heavily. He's clearly upset but he hasn't errupted like John would have. More than anything else he seems resigned.
“True that. But for you and me, there’s more to it, isn’t there? Feelings, lust, fascination, love even. I don’t see that in Donovan’s eyes when she looks at him and calls him the freak.”
“Guess you have to ak her why she did it then."
Lestrade vehemently shakes his head.
“As hell I will, she’s going to bite my head off I do that. It's probably better if she never finds out that I know anyway."
They fall quiet for a moment, each contemplating this new information, it's frankly been a lot. Finally Lestrades draws his hand tiredly over his features and looks at John again.
John sighs because he's been wondering the same himself, without being able to come up with an answer.
“I’m not sure actually. I guess this thing with the trial is over as you have dropped the charges, and for that I might add, thank you. I was extremly stupid and thoughtless, as we all seem to get when around that madman, and I would have faced my charges if I had been forced to do it, but still, I’m glad you dropped them. I don’t know how that stands with Mycroft and his ban though. He more or less threatened physical harm if I so much as approached Baker Street.”
“He must know that I’ve dropped the charges, he always knows everything. But if he hasn’t contacted you I would guess that the ban still stands.”
John contemplates this and then shakes his head slowly, as if coming to a conclusion.
“You know what. We have done some dumb shit recently, that fist fight being a shining example of just that and I fully take responsibility for it. But Sherlock isn’t completely innocent in all this, is he?”
Lestrade meets his eyes, a bit sceptical but at least listening.
“Well, I guess not…?”
“His stupid idea of sleeping with your co-workers instead of just telling you that he didn’t fancy you for instance, all because he was afraid he would lose the connection you mean to his work. But there’s more. He knew that I had begun developing some sort of feelings for him and further more, that I was very possessive and jealous even before we got together. You should have seen him the weeks prior to us finally becoming an item. He practically flaunted himself and his assessts in front of me whenever he could, driving me half mad with desire, forcing me to take cold showers and lock myself in my own room to get some peace of mind. The final straw was him going out with a client who apparently also was an old acquaintance from University. They actually went out to dinner and he must have known or at least suspected that I wasn’t going to just take it, him going out with someone else.”
“You got it really bad for him, don’t you?”
“Yes. The problem was that I didn’t know what part was him simply manipulating me and what part might actually be him going out with someone and actually enjoying it. I wasn’t going to risk being wrong and him ending up with someone else, so I crashed the dinner date and more or less dragged him away. Not one of my proudest moments, but neither do I regret it. We never did talk about it afterwards, we got caught up in the new relationship and each other and time just went, but in the back of my mind I have never managed to shake that feeling of not knowing if everything that he does and his interaction with other people is him manipulating me or if there are real threats to our relationship. Like that kiss between you and him in the paper. He said that it was all you but I didn’t fully believe him and it has eaten me up inside that I have never known the full truth about anything.”
“That kiss was all me. I saw that things were developing between you two and I just went for it, figured it was my last chance to know if I was going to have any luck with him. And frankly, despite what you just told me, I think he is rather clueless most of the time about how people react to him. And most importantly, he doesn’t care about the flirtatious glances people give him. He seems happy with you actually, however much it pains me to say it.”
John lets this sink in and it warms him inside to hear it, driving away some of his insecurity, but he still can’t shake the feeling that Sherlock perhaps should be thought a lesson or something.
“Mycroft technically doesn’t have anything on me now, but Sherlock hasn’t gotten in contact with me either. Maybe he’s waiting for me to make the first move, he knows me after all and it is what I would usually do.”
“Yeah, I was rather surprised to learn that you just moved out, no fight, no nothing. And even stayed in place out here. It didn’t seem like the John Watson I thought you were.”
John sits himself down on the bed again, or else he might start pacing like Sherlock does during a difficult case. The flat is simply too small for pacing anyway.
“Well a part of me didn’t know if it was Sherlock who had wished for me to leave and his silence hasn’t shaken me out of that presumption either. I guess I wanted to follow his wishes, if they were actually his.”
“So, in the end, this is all yet again the result of you not knowing what he thinks and feels?” Lestrade shakes his head in disbelief and John understands him because he know how it sounds now when he hears it himself.
“I guess so.”
“Maybe you should drive home some sort of point if you are to continue to be together?”
“I don’t actually know if we still are together.”
“Well, all I know is that the John Watson I have come to know would not sit around in a sad flat in the suburbs moping over something like this, because his boyfriend hasn’t bothered to reach out to him and the boyfriend’s brother has gone in complete overprotective mode as usual and barricaded your former home with secret service. “
John laughs dryly.
“Well, when you put it like that…”
He looks at Lestrade who returns his gaze and it is as if an understanding hits them both at the same time.
“Maybe we should teach them both a lesson?”
It’s John who says it, despite feeling that he might actually rock the very boat he is trying to get back inside. But considering everything and the fact that he is sitting out here in Hounslow rotting away with no other solution in sight, getting back what he has lost while also recovering some of his self-worth as well as Lestrade’s, he feels like there is nothing for him to lose.
So he gets up from the bed and puts his hand forward.
“What do you say? Should we teach those Holmes brothers the lesson of a lifetime? It might actually do them good in the end?”
“If we survive this, and that's a big if, I think everything that’s been between us should be put in the past. No more us against each other.”
Lestrade rises as well and without hesitation he brings his hand forward and takes John in his.
Chapter 20: Scheming
Lestrade and John put their plans into action.
Their plan isn’t as refined as they would have originally liked it to be. They aren’t Holmeses after all, they don’t usually sceme or strategize like the brothers do, so what they initially come up with is also the only thing they come up with.
They are going to pretend that feelings has developed between them and that they are now dating.
They count on Sherlock’s curiosity and Mycroft’s spying to deliver the message without having to do that much themselves, except to be seen together doing things that people who date do.
Nothing sexual of course, there is only so far they are willing to go with this ruse and both of them are sadly still only interested in sexual activities with one specific consulting detective, but the other things, like going to dinner, be seen entering each other’s flats at late hours and generally giving off the impression that they are enjoying each other’s company will surely be enough to drive home the point.
Mycroft in per se won’t care who John Watson is dating and even less so who Greg Lestrade spends his time with, but what he does care about is his brother’s well-being and if Sherlock dislikes this new development (and surely he will) that will cause problems for Mycroft as well. No one can cause trouble like Sherlock Holmes when he wants to, and he will surely blame big brother for this new development, on account of him driving John away from Baker Street.
Lestrade is hesitant at first.
Isn’t it a bit petty and childish, not to mention cruel, to fool someone like this, however sociopathic and above feelings Sherlock claims to be, they both know that isn’t true. He might actually get hurt.
But John isn’t as considerate for once. He feels like all the terrible, all-consuming feelings he has been harbouring both before and after he became Sherlock’s boyfriend largely stems from his flatmate’s intricate manipulations of his baser instincts, taking advantage of the jealousy John apparently had slumbering inside him, not only waking it up but also flaming its intensity by his dubious behaviour.
Lestrade points out that Sherlock really hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary to be the cause for John’s jealousy after they got together, but John has frankly had enough and claims that feelings like these can’t just be stowed away again once they have been woken up.
Besides, it would feel nice to be able to manipulate Sherlock back for once, let him get a taste of his own medicine. And considering his quite frankly idiotic plan of sleeping with Lestrade’s co-workers to send the detective inspector a message, Lestrade is actually willing to concede that the younger man might be in need of a lesson of his own.
So they start off with going out on a dinner date.
It feels a bit awkward, because until recently they actually didn’t even like each other, but they are to some extent the same type of people, they enjoy beer and watching sports even if John is more about rugby while Lestrade favours football, they like the occasional classic action-packed movie on the telly, baked beans on toast, lazy Sunday lie-ins and sensible clothes instead of fanciful ones. When they talk it through, they come to the conclusion that neither of them share a single common interest with Sherlock who is the absolute opposite to any of this.
“How did you actually manage to pull off having a relationship with the man if you have absolutely nothing in common?” Lestrade is quite baffled, taking a huge bite out of his sausage roll, a piece of food which would have Sherlock gagging at the mere sight.
“Well, there was the sex and the cases…” John muses, trying and actually enjoying the local ale of the bar where they have ventured, this very first time on his own home turf in Hounslow, with the promise that Lestrade can take them to his side of town on the next date.
“Yeah, I can imagine…” Lestrade sighs with a slightly dreamy tone in his voice and earns himself a dark glare from his companion.
They aren’t actually sure who among the other patrons, if even any, belongs to Mycroft but they make the effort to at least pretend to be intimate, touching hands and tasting each other’s food. It as far as any of them are willing to go on the first date and hopefully it will be enough fodder to be sent to the “minor Government official ”.
And that’s how it continues.
They go out to eat when they aren’t to busy with work, they look at sports and the occasional Bond movie on the telly, they take the sporadic coffee when they both happen to be in the vicinity of each other while in the city and they even make a go of holding hands on a brief but clumsily executed occasion. They had planned it in advance but still both felt reluctant about it when the time to do it came, John claiming to not be much for holding hands with anyone despite the fact that Lestrade has actually seen him do it with Sherlock, Lestrade more sticking to the story that he feels the detail of holding hands being a bit too suspicious and might send the signal to the Holmes brothers that something isn’t quite as it should be between them.
“Remember that they are both all about the details,” he says afterwards, when they review the handholding incident that came off as anything but natural and only lasted for a mere 10 seconds before they both released their grip and put their hands in their pockets instead.
But aside from that small mishap everything else goes as planned and they even learn to not only tolerate but actually sort of like each other, if not more than on a strictly platonic level, considering that neither of them are a dashing genius with raven curls and a swooshing coat, with a penchant for the dramatic and the mind sharp as a scalpel.
The first night they pretend to sleep with each other takes place in Lestrade’s old bachelor pad which at least is far better than John’s excuse of a flat.
They don’t know the extent of Mycroft’s surveillance but make sure to at least share the bed, if there might be a CCTV-camera pointed towards the bedroom window.
Neither of them sleep that well because the bed is too small and narrow for two men who don’t wish to come in contact with each other but still need to share the space, but afterwards they feel like they have upped the game at least, sending off the message of intimacies having been ensued.
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, there is no response.
Neither Mycroft or Sherlock reach out to any of them and when John checks his blog he can see that the visitors are being redirected to Sherlock’s own website while Lestrade hears that Dimmock has been graced by the consulting detective’s presence on a crime scene while he and his team hasn’t seen so much as the shadow of the man on their cases.
They meet to confer on these unexpected developments over a coffee on John’s lunch break. To make sure that absolutely no one can listen in on their conversation they sit in Lestrade’s car and huddle over a cup of coffee each, brows deep in confusion and thought.
“This is not exactly the outcome we hoped for, is it?” Lestrade says.
John who is actually hurt by Sherlock’s complete lack of response shakes his head, because he doesn’t understand it.
Can it be that they only believed Mycroft would be keeping tabs on them but in reality no one has been checking up on them at all?
Or is this Sherlock’s way of answering to what he must surely see as betrayal, by cutting them both out of his life even more than before?
But without any real facts they can’t know it this is Mycroft’s doing or Sherlock’s, frankly it could be either one and without actually knowing for sure everything they say is simple speculation.
“Maybe we should put it to the test and try breaching Mycroft’s ban? Make a visit to Baker Street and get a lay of the land for ourselves? This is clearly not working,” John says and Lestrade nods. Despite coming to terms with the fact that he and Sherlock are likely never going to get together again he at least doesn’t want to lose the man as his friend and as help during investigations, being completely cut out of the man’s life is not at all what Lestrade had in mind when going along with John’s plan of teaching the detective a valuable lesson and if that is what the result will actually be in the end he’s going to kick the former army doctor’s arse to kingdom come.
John himself isn’t willing to accept defeat just yet, he has all sorts of explanations for why things are like they are for the moment, but in his own mind a nagging suspicion ponders the fact that he might have made a mistake by trying to berate his former flatmate.
So instead of using up more valuable time second-guessing and theorizing without actual facts, they decide to make a joint visit to Baker Street the next day.
If Mycroft’s men still care about John's whereabouts and plan on upholding their threat of physical punishment, at least Lestrade will be with him.
And if not, well…
Then the pathway to Sherlock will be open for them to venture and require some long-awaited answers.
Chapter 21: Resolution
John and Lestrade head for Baker Street to meet with Sherlock.
When they step out of Lestrade’s car the next afternoon nothing seems conspicuously off with the sight that greets them.
The street looks just like John remembers it, a few cars passing by, Speedy’s is open across the street, a few pedestrians walking past them, but otherwise it's quite calm and orderly. If someone is watching the place, there is no sight of them and they manage to walk all the way up to the door without being interrupted.
“Seems like the danger is off,” Lestrade says.
“If there actually ever was a threat to begin with,” John mutters, not even wanting to contemplate the fact that a simple lie might have partially kept him away from this place the whole time. Maybe Mycroft has neither had the place under surveillance or even him and his whereabouts checked up on.
Maybe he had simply counted on his reputation preceding him and clearly it has worked, if that is the reason no men from MI5 are approaching John now as he raises his hand and rings the doorbell.
After the usual wait Mrs Hudson opens the door.
She looks surprised first, eyes going wide and her mouth forming a small O, but then she cracks a smile and sighs as if in contentment.
“Oh, John! Where have you been?”
She hugs him and is surprisingly strong for being an old woman, John isn’t sure he ever understood it before. Even more baffling is her genuine surprise at seeing him, it’s like she has been served a reason for his absence and never really expected to see him again, at least not so soon.
“Is Sherlock home?” he asks, when she releases her grip of him.
“No actually, he’s been out all day, you know what he’s like, always rushing about somewhere,” she says and yes, John does know what he’s like, a warmth spreading in his chest at the memory of it.
He is suddenly hit by a strong wish to just go all the way back to Hounslow, collect his meagre collection of items and move straight back in here, forget the past weeks ever happened, drop every resentment and ludicrous plan he has been harbouring and simply bury himself in Sherlock’s arms, before dragging the man off to the bedroom and push him down on the bed and ravage him passionately.
Strangely Lestrade seem to have the same vision in mind if you give his face a closer look.
“But com in, come in. I’ll get you two some tea. “
While she disappears back to her own flat and the kitchen to put on the kettle, they head up the seventeen steps to the flat. Every step John takes feels like a step closer to paradise, he didn’t know how affected he would become simply by being here again. The smell, the atmosphere, everything is the same and when he opens the door to the living room he is hit by acute sentimentality, because it looks exactly as he remembers it and the logical part of his brain sneers that “of course it looks the same, it’s only been a couple of weeks and it was always his flat more than it was yours anyway.”
Lestrade is more hesitant, giving the place a quick once over but then seats himself in the chair usually reserved for clients while John, like a purring cat, lowers himself in his old chair with contentment.
Sherlock is clearly working on something because there is the usual intricate pattern of red yarn strings connecting different evidence to each other, some of them photos, others are simply notes with something scribbled on them. John wonders how far gone in the process Sherlock might be, if he could possibly be of some help if updated on the details and he already contemplate the photographs as if willing them to give him any information, when he hears Lestrade make a sound next to him.
“What the hell…”
“What? What is it?”
John looks at him as Lestrade gets up from his chair again and approaches the wall.
“This is the Watford robbery.”
“Oh, you know what case he’s working on then? Is it one of Dimmock’s? Mind bringing me up to date perhaps?”
But Lestrade simply shakes his head, clearly having a hard time grasping something that only he is seeing on the wall.
“No…” he finally whispers, turning to John again, clear bafflement in his eyes, “This is one of mine.”
John shakes his head, not following.
“What do you mean one of yours? A cold case?”
“No. A new case. In fact the case me and my team are working on at the moment.”
John manages to look even more confused now, having trouble understanding what Lestrade is saying.
“What do you mean the case you’re working on now? You said you hadn’t heard from him since the fight, several weeks ago. How can he be working on your case if you haven’t been in contact?”
They stare at each other, thoughts and suspicions whirling between them for a moment, suddenly on opposite sides again, no longer a team but two separate individuals whose trust is as brittle as the newfound friendship between them is. Their originals misgivings about each other are suddenly back in place. But just as John is about to throw the first accusation out in the open a thought hits him, like a meteor crashing to earth and it is as if Lestrade is hit with the same idea simultaneously.
Lestrade shakes his head, clearly not wanting to go there but still not completely dismissing the idea either.
“But I don’t get it. Why would she go behind my back like this?”
“I don’t know. And the only one who can really explain it isn’t here, but I suggest that we stay and wait for him. Pretend like we don’t know anything. If someone from your team calls, behave like you would have before finding this out.”
“I’m not sure I can do that if she actually calls.”
“Lets hope then that she doesn’t.”
They sit back down in their seats and minutes later Mrs Hudson enters with a tray in her hands, tea and biscuits on display.
“It’s so wonderful to see you again, John. And you as well, Detective Inspector, it’s been ages.”
She chatters on for a while, like nothing is out of the ordinary and the more suspicious it seems that she doesn’t ask John a single question of where he has been and why he simply disappeared from one day to the next, Lestrade had after all claimed that she had been worried when he met her weeks ago. The situation just becomes even more mysterious, what the hell has been going on here exactly?
Finally she leaves but says that they can stay as long as they want.
“I never know when he comes and goes, it might not even be today, but feel free stay and wait. You remember how it used to be, John. Come to think of it, so do you, Detective Inspector.”
And with that she leaves.
John rises as soon as she is gone and marches straight for Sherlock’s bedroom, somehow expecting it to give some clues or at least some evidence of sexual activity going on in there and regrettably a part of his jealousy comes rushing back as if on command. But he actually manages to tamper it down and when he fails to see anything out of the ordinary in there, it quietly fizzles out.
Lestrade turns up behind his back and takes a look around the bedroom as well.
“So this is were all the action takes place, hm? Him and his string of people he has at his beck and call?”
“It actually looks like it always did and I certainly never discovered any asexual activities in our home except for the ones we indulged in.”
Lestrades huffs and turns his back to both John and the room a little too quickly, marching back out into the living room.
John takes the opportunity to go up to his own bedroom to take a look while Lestrade stews in the living room, going over the evidence board once again, clearly annoyed at being outmanoeuvred from his own case by both Sherlock and with most probability Donovan as well. John can hear him mutter something under his breath which sounds suspiciously likebastards.
His own room is shockingly bare although that would have been expected since all his stuff is in Hounslow after all, but there is still something sad about seeing his old room like this. Even the bed is simply an iron skeleton with a mattress on it, Mrs Hudson must have removed the duvet, cushions and the rest of the bed linen. It’s like he never even lived there.
They end up waiting for almost two more hours before the front door opens, and foot steps are heard on the stairs. It’s several of them in fact and while John and Lestrade anticipatingly turn their faces to the door it finally opens, revealing not only Sherlock but right behind him, also Mycroft.
The two brothers don’t look especially surprised at seeing John and Lestrade, Mycroft doesn’t even look displeased. He simply seats himself on the sofa, adjusting his clothes and planting the umbrella firmly between his knees while Sherlock removes his Belstaff, runs a hand through his curls and then dives inside the kitchen to put on the kettle.
When he comes back into the room, he nods in greeting to John and Lestrade before seating himself in his own chair.
John has to admit that Sherlock looks even better than he has been looking in John’s fantasies lately, the same fantasies John has used to occupy himself during his lonely nights in the new flat. There has been everything from make up-sex to angry sex to acts with punishing scenarios keeping him company during the most difficult times, but the Sherlock in front of him now looks nothing like the repentant version he has envisioned while frantically rubbing his member to completion.
This Sherlock is calm and well put together, secure and seemingly not even curious as to why John and Lestrade are inhabiting his living room after weeks of no contact. Instead he calmly looks at them both, waiting for them to begin talking, because evidently, he isn’t going to do it and neither is Mycroft. ‘
The one who finally break the silence is Lestrade.
He rises from his chair, walks over to the evidence wall and points at it.
“What the hell is this, Sherlock? Why is evidence from a case I am currently working on taped up on your living room wall despite the fact that I have not requested any assistance from you on the matter? In fact, I haven’t spoken to you about work for weeks!”
“Not currently working on, Lestrade. I solved it this afternoon.”
He doesn’t even look smug, like he usually does when revealing that he has worked something out, he just calmly announces it. Lestrade looks gob-smacked though.
“You what? But…Why has no one informed me?!”
Instead of answering Sherlock rises as the kettle announces the water to be sufficiently boiled, heading out into the kitchen. Not surprisingly he returns a minute later with only one cup of tea for himself. Mycroft tuts disapprovingly at this obvious lack of manners, the first sign of him actually being in the room except for his mere physical presence, but of course Sherlock just shrugs, seating himself back in his chair.
“They clearly had some tea recently, provided by Mrs Hudson and you don’t like my tea anyway.” He states but Mycroft is not satisfied.
“Still, manners dictate…”
“Yes, yes, manners. We all know I lack them anyway, no need to start a lecture on the subject, Mycroft.”
Sherlock waves his hand dismissively and the brothers glare at each other as if forgetting the other two men in the room and it isn’t until John tentatively clears his throat that the tension breaks.
“Yes, Sherlock, we all know manners aren’t exactly your area, but explaining the unexplainable and taking people through the intricate web of your thinking usually is. So, what do you say, care to take us through this situation, because frankly, I’m baffled at every new event that turns up.”
Sherlock turns to look at John now, for the first time really looking at him, reluctantly sending a jolt of excitement through John’s abdomen despite his best efforts to remain calm and unaffected until he knows what’s going on here. There is the hint of a smile on the younger man’s lips making it even more difficult for John to keep a straight face, he wishes he could just rise and stride over to where Sherlock is sitting with his bloody tea cup, yank him up and make him go weak by the knees with some serious tongue acrobatics, but no, stay put, wait for it.
Chances, or risks depending on how you look at it, are that when Sherlock opens his mouth and starts talking, the mood will change anyway and John will perhaps be more inclined to smack him over the head than to kiss him.
“There really isn’t much to explain actually,” Sherlock begins, stopping to take s sip of his tea.
“Maybe not according to you, but for the sake of us mere mortals, please indulge us,” John mutters and Lestrade pointedly knocks on the evidence wall yet again.
“Regarding the case, it is correct that you didn’t contact me, Lestrade. In fact, we haven’t been in contact at all since the events that took place in this very room, almost six weeks ago, an event I wasn’t present to observe but have heard of afterwards, most extensively from my brother. “
Sherlock looks expectantly at Lestrade now, who in turn looks confused and even slightly shameful, as if he has done something wrong when not involving Sherlock in his work recently. In Sherlock’s mind that is most likely a cardinal sin.
“Well, I didn’t know how you were faring after…well, everything, since you weren’t answering your phone," Lestrade tries but Sherlock simply shakes his head, making the dark curls bounce seductively, unintentionally on his part, but seductively all the same. John stares at them and feels his throath go dry while Sherlock continues to adress Lestrade.
“That was five weeks ago. One phone call. No further attempts have been made since then.”
Yes, his tone is decidedly accusing now and Lestrade looks like he is ready to start perspiring any second under the scrutiny of the consulting detective.
“Well, I focused on the fact that John seemed to have gone missing at that same time and well…I got side-tracked a bit…”
This time it’s Mycroft who speaks and two Holmes brothers staring at him disapprovingly is more than Lestrade can handle.
He pulls out a paper tissue from his pocket and wipes his forehead, a small piece of the tissue sticking to his sweaty skin, leaving it there without his knowledge.
John pities him, Lestrade is clearly not used to being trapped under their laser beam gazes, he’s too kind-hearted for his own good and too weak to stand up against them. Any second now, one of them is going to start ripping him into pieces, so John decides to actually step up and take some of that flack himself or at least try to fight back as well as he can, for both their sake. Sherlock and Mycroft together can be quite ruthless when they want to.
“What Lestrade…I mean Greg …did was actually very kind of him considering the circumstances. He had no reason to care about my well-being after what I put him through, but despite that, he came looking for me and not only that, he dropped the charges as well. “
“We are aware…” Mycroft begins but John cuts him off before he can continue.
“Yes, I understand that you are aware, because you know bloody everything. But what you might not grasp about it, is what a truly generous gesture that was and one completely unexpected considering my actions against him. Not only did he drop the charges, he also came looking for me, took the time to clear the air between us and make sure that I was alright. Unlike some others I might mention.”
Sherlock raises one eye brow in surprise, but Mycroft is clearly not willing to take any blame.
“Considering your actions and the frankly poisonous behaviour from you up until that very unfortunate fight, it seems surprising that you would expect any regards for your well-being afterwards. You and I had our talk prior to your move to Hounslow, you knew my stance on the matter and quite frankly I consider myself more generous than you actually deserve, doctor, providing you with assistance to find a new home and collecting your belongings from Baker Street without you having to show up here yourself.”
John winces slightly at this. He can see where Mycroft is coming from but at the same time, he doesn’t want to admit defeat. If he had been allowed to explain himself to Sherlock in his own words…
“Do you really think you could have been able to explain away how you assaulted D.I Lestrade unprovoked on account of your jealousy and then have Sherlock simply forgive you for it?”
Mycroft is clearly not going to cut him any slack and John reluctantly admits that it would probably not have gone down that well.
“Maybe. I would at least have liked to have had the opportunity to talk to Sherlock. But you threatened me with physical harm if I so much as approached him or Baker Street. “
The last part he throws out there defiantly, perhaps with the wish that Sherlock will not have been aware of this fact or at least as an explanation as to why he hasn’t reached out earlier.
But Sherlock doesn’t move a muscle. He simply stares at John, waiting for him to come to a point that actually matters.
Mycroft pick up the gauntlet instead.
“I did do that. But it was up to you to test that theory. Instead you decided to sit and sulk, feeling sorry for yourself out in the suburbs, eventually involving the Detective Inspector in your state of thinking. Although I applaud your ability to work out your differences, both of you seem to have failed figuring out the correct next step to this mess, a clear indicator that Sherlock had no business trying to make contact with either of you. Instead of seeing how he was faring in all of this, you instead embarked on some half-witted plan of conjuring up a pretend relationship between the two of you. A very badly acted-out plan I might add, the stage has hardly missed out on any talent concerning you two. You fooled no one with your silly acting. “
“Now, wait a minute…!” Lestrade tries but Mycroft is having none of it.
“No. Between the two of you, you decided that the best action out of this mess, a mess that was prominently caused by some sordid jealousy intrigue between you, would be to pretend to be in a relationship with each other, not trying to work things out between everyone but instead trying to complicate matters even more. I’m frankly baffled by this turn of events and not gladly welcoming back into my brother’s life, the presence of people who come with such actions. But Sherlock thought that we at least should hear what you had to say for yourselves, now that you finally decided to reach out to him.”
“He could have reached out himself! I waited…” John tries but Mycroft simply shakes his head and John hears how childish he sounds when trying to explain his own actions. He is surprised how something that had seemed so rational when talking it through with Lestrade some weeks ago, now simply sounds idiotic.
“Why would my brother reach out to a person who has shown clear signs of pathological jealousy and possessiveness to such an extent that it has threatened his very work? A person who furthermore continues to ruin Sherlock's working relationship with the most significant contact my brother has with Scotland Yard by enlisting that same contact on a scheme not only meant to humiliate my brother further, but also prevent him from engaging in further work with the police. “
“He isn’t…I didn’t mean…I was just trying to…teach him a lesson, I guess,” John stammers, anger working its way into his words, it’s a defence mechanism now. “Besides, he found a way around that! He seems to be able to work cases without Lestrade anyway. Using his old methods of manipulating people into doing his bidding. It was exactly this I was trying to teach him a lesson about!”
“And what method of manipulation would that be, John?”
Sherlock finally speaks and John whirls to face him, ready to defend himself. Because they both know what John means God dammit!
“Don’t pretend to be innocent, Sherlock! This is obviously Donovan’s work, who else would provide you information about Lestrade’s case? And we all know you slept with her before, so why not again, when wanting something from her?”
For a second Sherlock looks like he has been slapped across the face hard and if John wasn’t so worked up right about now he would contemplate if he has somehow overstepped a line. But he hasn’t, he knows that, Sherlock has confessed that he used to sleep with Donovan and there is evidence right there on that wall that he must be doing it again.
But why is Sherlock looking at him like that? Like it is John who is doing something wrong here?
He turns to look at Mycroft but he also looks at John the way someone looks at a cockroach who has climbed up the sink. Even Lestrade seems hesitant.
John feels the urge to lash out at them, because he hasn’t said anything they weren't both saying two hours ago , but before he gets the opportunity, Sherlock begins to speak.
“It wasn’t Donovan who contacted me. I haven’t slept with her in ages, not after you and I…” he begins but ends it again as soon as he has started talking, mouth falling shut with a bite.
Lestrade cuts in.
“Who provided you with this information then?”
They say it almost simultaneously and John immediately begins to question it but Sherlock shoots him down.
“It’s probably why you haven’t heard anything yet, Lestrade. The man is the usual hapless failure when it comes to forensics but turns out he had made a mistake even he couldn’t get out of without his superiors finding out. I’m not going to go into detail exactly what he had managed to do, but it involves bodily fluids and more inappropriate behaviour than usual coming from that man. Suffice to say, he was desperate and apparently I was the only one who could help him. Before this case, I have been forced to make do with Dimmock and his bumbling around crime scenes far less interesting than yours, Lestrade.”
He makes it sound like it is all Lestrade’s fault that he has been forced to make do with far inferior cases than he is used to.
John feels embarrassed about the fact that he immediately jumped to the conclusion that Sherlock was doing something shady to get in on the case work when deprived of both Lestrade and John providing him with his usual flow of cases. And maybe that is the point Mycroft has been trying to make?
Why would Sherlock reach out to someone who not only has been behaving like a possessive arse during the majority of their relationship, but also assaulted his friend and then, instead of trying to make things right, twists everything around so it is Sherlock who needs to be thought a lesson, and achieves that by pretending to be in a relationship with one of Sherlock's closest friends?
When thinking about it, he can concede that whatever he has been saying about Sherlock and his idiotic sleeping arrangements, John hasn’t been much better himself, and he can’t even claim to be a “high-functioning sociopath” without any knowledge about simple human behaviour. On the contrary, he’s a doctor for Christ’s sake, he should obviously know better!
He feels the overwhelming need to apologize but there are too many people in the room and he needs the privacy if he’s going to do this right.
“Alright, everybody, except Sherlock, get out!”
Mycroft looks baffled at first, and then like he has swallowed a lemon.
“Doctor, Watson, if you think for a second that I will leave my brother alone with you…”
“Yes, yes, I get it Mycroft, I actually do! But believe me when I say that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I just need to talk to him and it needs to be done in private. So, please, take your umbrella and Lestrade with you and show yourselves out. “
He turns to Lestrade and nods.
“Thank you for your support during this time. In the end it merely complicated things further but it also thought me to both like you and respect you. I will do my utmost to never treat you the way I did before, if you spot any signs of the old me coming back you have the right to punch me hard. I think we can agree that we both like him equally much, dare I even say love? And you were actually here first, no one can take that away from you. But I am here now and that is in the end what matters. Whatever happens after today, who knows, but for now and until he says otherwise, he is mine and I am his. “
Lestrade nods and is actually the first to respect John’s wishes by leaving. In the door he turns to Sherlock.
“When you’re done here, please call me and tell me everything about the case. I need to know what to expect when I get back to work.”
Sherlock nods and there is a warmth in Lestrade’s eyes as he turns and continues down the stairs.
Mycroft is far more reluctant and it takes John’s whole will power not to physically grab the man and throw him out himself. He respects Mycroft's fraternal worries about his younger brother's weel-being but no one will be able to move on if John can't be alone with Sherlock and resolve this by themselves.
In the end it's Sherlock who gets Mycroft to leave.
“You better do as he says, Mycroft. He has that vein on his forehead which pulsates very much when he is about to lose his temper. It’s beginning to throb quite rapidly by now and I can’t guarantee his actions if you disobey his orders. He was in the army after all.”
Mycroft glares at John and then looks at his brother while slowly rising from his chair, picking up his umbrella.
“I’ll be fine, Mycroft. He might be feisty, but I know martial arts, remember.”
With that he winks at his brother who reluctantly follows in Lestrade’s footsteps.
When finally left alone, John is unsure of how to proceed. Saying sorry should be appropriate, he actually should have done it straight after the fight with Lestrade, perhaps several times before that even, but it feels difficult to know exactly what to say now.
So Sherlock does it instead.
“I don’t mind you being jealous, John. Most of the time it frankly turns me on a bit, you being all possessive and vocal about it, taking charge. It’s quite refreshing. But it was clearly eating you up inside and I hated to see you like that.”
John approaches the chair where Sherlock is sitting and he positions himself in front of the younger man.
“Did you ever feel jealous when you heard about me and Lestrade?" he asks.
“Pft, no. You were obviously faking. I didn’t bother to watch too closely at the footage, but Mycroft said it looked so forced it was painful to see, your chemistry is, supposedly abysmal.”
John playfully pushes Sherlock on the shoulder.
“So you don’t get jealous, do you?”
“I don’t know. But I think it would probably go against the rational part of my brain. The likelihood of you hooking up with anyone after having been with me? Frankly I don’t see it.”
He says it teasingly and John flashes his teeth in jest, like a predator warning his victim to not overstep the line between play and insult. The smile on Sherlock’s lips remain but his eyes go serious for a moment.
“I hope you feel that you don’t really need to be jealous, John. I might tease and play and manipulate to an extent, but I never care about anyone except for you. You should know that.”
John takes his finger and puts it against Sherlock’s lips, hushing him. He is done with words now.
Sherlock looks up at him, questions in his eyes, but before he gets the chance to open up that mouth of his again John pulls him out of the chair and presses their lips together. He takes the time to explore everything he’s been missing for almost six weeks now, feeling himself growing hard as his hands roam over Sherlocks firm body, exploring every memory he has of this man who he now gets to call his own again.
When he releases the lips to gasp for air, he takes a firm hold of Sherlock’s right hand and directs them both towards the bedroom. In the corner of his eye he can see Sherlock opening his mouth again as if to say something and quickly he turns and firmly locks eyes with the others man.
“We have much to talk about, Sherlock, and we will. Soon. But there is a time for talking and this is not it. Now is the time for other things.”
And with that he drags Sherlock with him inside the waiting bedroom, pushing him down on the made up bed and slams the door firmly shut behind them.
Chapter 22: Food for thought
The final sleeping arrangement, this time between Sherlock and John.
Sherlock smiles the way that makes John’s knees go weak when seeing it.
He lies outstretched on the bed with a come-hither look in his eyes and there is only so much John can do to resist him.
Besides, he doesn’t have to resist him anymore. He is finally back in Baker Street where he belongs, he has his gorgeous boyfriend waiting for him and he can put everything he has been through behind him.
It will be a pleasure to move away from bloody Hounslow, he will order his things to be brought back here by delivery so he won’t need to go back for them himself, he never wants to see that sorry excuse of a flat ever again.
He might even ask Mycroft about, it is his fault anyway, that John had to move in the first place.
Not completely his fault, a voice inside John provides, but John isn’t really listening to that voice right now. He might have been, during those early nights in the new flat, and occasionally while talking to Lestrade, but now he has other things on his mind.
He has Sherlock in front of him, splayed out on the bed and after a frankly tumultuous afternoon he isn’t ready to dive inside his own head and dwell over everything that has transpired these past terrible weeks.
They will talk about it later. Much later.
He climbs up on the bed on all fours, approaching Sherlock like a beast of prey, growling and sending off a wolfish grin.
Sherlock’s eyes are half-lidded and his lips luscious, glistening slightly, as if he has let his tongue slide over them in anticipation. He’s clearly signalling that he is ready to be ravaged and John is certainly not going to disappoint.
As he approaches the younger man Sherlock backs away, up against the head board, ending up sitting instead of lying down, but he is still smiling temptingly so John is encouraged by the signs and puts out both of his arms on either side of Sherlock, trapping him inside John’s boundaries. If Sherlock likes him a bit jealous and possessive, John can certainly act the part.
He really should try working on that part of himself later, but as a game in the bedroom, why not?
He won’t even have to dig that deep if he want’s incentive, a quick thought of Sherlock like this with basically anyone else sends a surge of jealousy straight through him.
An errant thought makes him wonder if he should perhaps work on that issue first and then sleep with Sherlock, isn’t he doing this in the wrong order?
But that thought vanishes so quickly it never has a fair chance to manifest itself more deeply, because come on! Sherlock is right here, and he is offering himself up like a dessert more or less, how is he possibly going to turn that down?
His arms still on each side of Sherlock, John moves in for a kiss, closing his eyes in pure enjoyment.
Those soft lips drive him crazy, he has been longing for them for weeks now and the joy he feels when his actions are reciprocated spreads added lust and joy inside him, he can feel his cock stiffen while dwelling deeper into the kiss.
Eyes still closed, but just about to open so he can look into Sherlock’s mesmerising ones, he can feel the other man move beneath him and he presses his arms firmer against the headboard to pinpoint the fact that Sherlock is being “trapped”, a smile lingering on his lips. Sherlock is clearly in on the role play then, perhaps making a weak attempt at “getting away?”
There is something so delicious in having a man like Sherlock Holmes who is so sure of himself in his everyday life, surrendering himself to John in the bedroom and his smile grows wider at the thought of it.
A second later he feels something cold around his left wrist and while his brain, muddled by lust, sends a request for information and for his eyes to open up and see for themselves, he hears a very familiar click, followed by the same cold sensation around his right wrist before he comes to his senses quick enough to react.
The other click comes just as his eyes spring open and although his brain has finally caught up and he knows what he will see, he still makes the effort to turn his head and actually look for himself, while Sherlock takes advantage of his distraction by quickly slithering under one of his outstretched arms and jump off the bed, out of reach.
Not that John actually could reach him now, even if he wanted to.
“Yes, John?” Sherlock replies, sounding all innocent.
“What the…what’s going on?”
He rattles the cuffs even though he already knows that they will be firmly attached to the bedpost. As he is also on his stomach and not in a particularly comfortable position, unable to see the other man without turning his head completely sideways, he has difficulty seeing what Sherlock is doing as he has now stepped behind his back, out of both reach and sight.
“I was thinking that maybe you needed some additional time to contemplate your past actions a little further, without any physical distractions. I feel that you might have not truly come to the right conclusion despite having had almost six weeks to think about them and perhaps you even missed the whole reason why things went so wrong in the first place. If I let you just come back here again as if nothing has changed, well…then nothing has actually changed and neither of us were truly happy before, am I right?”
John tries twisting his head to get a closer look at Sherlock’s face, because he has to see if the other man is acctually serious now or if he is playing some sort of game. But Sherlock is unfortunately out of sight.
“You weren’t happy?” he asks surprised, because sure, they had issues with trust, jealousy and everyone Sherlock was getting too close to, but was it really that bad? Except for the fight with Lestrade of course. That actually was bad.
“John, please. No dallying. Think it through and then tell me that you have come to a satisfactory conclusion. It all pretty much depends on that to happen.”
“Is it an apology you want? Because I can do that, Sherlock! I can…”
“Yes, I’m sure you can. And I am ready to hear it when I get back.”
With that Sherlock walks over to the door and John can now see him from the corner of his eye.
“Where are you going?!”
He can’t help but rattle the cuffs even further, because honestly! He has a slightly painful arousal trapped underneath him and a boyfriend who was very willing a mere minute ago, but who is now seemingly headed out the door instead and how on earth is John going to have any rational thinking done under these circumstances?
But Sherlock is relentless.
“I am going to meet up with Lestrade. You’re not the only one who owns someone a considerate talk and I think I might be long over-due with mine.”
“But what about me? Am I just supposed to lay here, waiting? What if someone comes in here while you’re gone?”
“Than you’ll just have to explain that you have some very serious soul-searching to do and should not be disturbed. I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say when I return. Bye John!”
And with that Sherlock is out the door and John is left to his own devices, to do exactly what Sherlock has told him to do. If he is to ever get out of these cuffs, he will have to have a pretty good apology ready when Sherlock returns.