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Mistakes

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Sherlock was thinking. He had been sitting in his chair for the past 2 hours, hands steepled in front of his face. Anderson has been saying unusually intelligent things on the last few cases… he thought. Why? And is that even possible?

Anderson couldn’t keep his mind off the dark, handsome consulting detective. Even if the man was constantly calling him an idiot because he couldn’t do anything right, at least he was paying attention to him at all. Noticing him. And now that he had started saying some things that were actually smart, maybe Sherlock would take even more notice of him.

Sherlock could not figure out what was going on. He couldn’t deduce anything new about Anderson, except for the fact that he was wearing a stronger cologne that usual whenever he saw him. Why am I spending so much time thinking about this anyways? Sherlock wondered. I don’t even care. Anderson is just another idiot trying to impress me. But why Anderson? It doesn’t make sense.
Anderson was hoping for another case soon so he would have another chance to see Sherlock, or at least admire him from afar. He knew if he were ever to advance on Sherlock he would either get rejected horribly, punched by John Watson, or perhaps both. So for now he was content to just stare at him from a safe distance away and occasionally say something smart or stupid. He’ll never accept me Anderson thought sadly.

The next week, Lestrade called with a case, and John was away at some medical conference. Sherlock went to the scene alone, and Anderson was surprised to see him there without the army doctor. Maybe I do have a chance! he thought He doesn’t have the doctor with him for once!
Sherlock had a theory. A very far-fetched theory, but it was a theory. And he decided to test his theory on this case. It was the perfect opportunity, since John was away and unable to protest. He started examining the body, a man who had been beaten to death by a blunt object inside his flat, but there were no blunt objects in the flat. Sherlock had deduced what it was in a matter of seconds, but to test his theory, he called over Anderson.

“Anderson!” He barked.

Anderson looked up sharply. “What.” He silently cursed himself for answering like that. That was no way to show your interest in someone.

"Come here."

Anderson walked over slowly, heart racing.

"I need you to…" He trailed off suddenly, eyes scanning the man in front of him. Faint flush of the cheeks - embarrassed or nervous. Fidgeting, shifting weight on feet - nervous. He grabbed Anderson’s wrist and dragged him towards the body, taking his pulse. Elevated heart rate - nervous. And… Sherlock’s eyes widened and he felt an unfamiliar pang in his chest. No…can’t be…I’m not… He stared at Anderson a few seconds longer, unable to form a coherent thought. Anderson was frozen under Sherlock’s gaze, wondering what he was going to do. His heart hammered. Everyone was staring at them because for once, they weren’t yelling at each other. It was very awkward. Sherlock stepped towards Anderson, getting a little too close for comfort, but it felt…right… He leaned down and whispered in Anderson’s ear, “Don’t question me.” gripped Anderson’s shoulders tightly and kissed him. They both heard the shocked gasps that everyone around them gave. Lestrade’s jaw dropped, as did Donovan’s. Anderson’s arms found their way around Sherlock’s waist and Sherlock’s around Anderson’s neck. Lestrade was too surprised to stop them. They broke apart after a few minutes, both a deep shade of red. Sherlock glanced at Anderson, and walked briskly away. He stopped only to tell Lestrade “It was obviously a table lamp. Honestly, can’t you do anything yourself?” before turning a corner and sitting against a wall. Anderson was the only one who dared to follow him.

"Um…Sherlock…?" He asked, awkwardly standing in front of him.

"What" Sherlock snapped.

Anderson stepped back a bit “Why…why did you do that?”

"Why do you think?!"

"I don’t know…" Anderson said quietly.

"Is everyone I know an idiot? Because I like you, you dolt.”

Anderson blinked a few times. “Why…?”

"I don’t know…for once in my life, I don’t know."

Anderson held out his hand and Sherlock took it, standing up. “Let’s get lunch.” Anderson offered. Sherlock nodded and they walked away, holding hands.

Chapter Text

John stormed into the flat three days later, his medical conference as boring as usual, if not more. He had more reason than that to be frustrated and a bit angry, though. He had received a text from Lestrade, that was normal, but the text, it was infuriating.

[Text:] I thought Sherlock and you were together?

He was terribly confused.

[Text:] Yeah, we have been a few months now, you know that. JW

There was no reason for Lestrade to question their relationship, it was solid, solid as a reinforced brick wall.

[Text:] Well I suppose that you ought to know then.

[Text:] Know what? JW

[Text:] Sherlock kissed Anderson at a scene today. They walked off holding hands, I think they were going for lunch.

What? Anderson? Sherlock would never...or would he?

[Text:] I swear Greg, if you are joking I will kill you. JW

[Text:] Sorry mate, not joking.

John didn’t text back.

“Sherlock!” He yelled, standing in the middle of the sitting room. Sherlock came out of their shared bedroom, his trousers hanging loose on his waist and dressing gown hanging on his bare shoulders.

“No need to be so loud, John, I heard you coming up the stairs.”

“Yeah, I know you did.” John said sarcastically

Sherlock smiled. “I take it your conference was tedious, per usual.”

"Oh no the conference was fine. It was totally fine. Right up until I got a text from Lestrade telling me that you kissed Anderson!”

Sherlock’s eyes widened briefly in shock. “It...it was just an experiment.”

“Oh and you had to take him out for lunch for this 'experiment' too, I suppose?”

“Yes…?”

John glared at Sherlock. “Don’t. Lie. To. Me.”

“I...I…” Sherlock sighed and looked at the floor, “I don’t have a good explanation. It just...happened.”

“I’m sure.” John retorted

“I’m sorry John…”

“I can’t believe you, Sherlock, I can’t… I thought we had a strong relationship. I would never have done that.”

“I’m sorry, I won’t do it again...it was just the once, I don’t know what came over me.”

“Hmph. I’ll be in my room. Feel free to leave me alone.” John trudged up the stairs to the bedroom he hadn’t slept in in two months. Sherlock stared after him, worrying that he’d ruined their relationship.

Sherlock rushed into his room and glanced at the bed where Anderson was laying. “You need to leave now.” He said insistently.

“Why? Is your doctor upset?” Anderson replied smugly.

“Yes, I’ve made a huge mistake and it’s mostly your fault. You need to get out.” Sherlock threw Anderson’s shirt at him.

Anderson’s smile dropped. “I thought…you said you weren’t together.”

“I’m sorry, I lied. I thought I liked you, but this was all a mistake, I was wrong, and John is pissed. You need to leave.” Sherlock was skittering nervously about the room, trying to remove any trace of Anderson. Anderson slowly got out of the bed, still wearing his trousers and put on his shirt. “Tell Lestrade I won’t be working for at least a month.” Sherlock said, putting his own shirt on, and then a suit jacket.

Anderson looked at him sadly. “I really thought…”

“Learn to use your brain, really, Anderson. Oh, and have fun explaining this to Sally.”

Anderson glared at the man and left quietly. How could he have ever liked him?

Sherlock waited five minutes to ensure that Anderson was gone, and then grabbed his coat and scarf, leaving loudly and slamming the upstairs door on the way out. He was on his way to Tesco, a place he rarely dared to enter. He walked up and down the aisles, and actually bought items from a list. How terribly domestic of me, he thought, I’m grocery shopping.

John was lying face down on his old bed. The room no longer held any of his personal items, and the bed no longer smelled familiar. Anything and everything was downstairs, and he currently had no desire to be down there, whether Sherlock was there or not. How could he have done this? How? John reached in his pocket and felt the box with a ring that he had got custom designed weeks ago and picked up on his way to the conference. It had a flat, silver band with a DNA helix engraved on the outside, with little diamonds following the outer edges of the helix. On the inside, John had gotten it engraved with the words “For the love of my life - JW.” John knew he and Sherlock had only been together a few months, but once they had become a couple, they realised they really had been together from day one. He wondered what to do with the ring now, now that he couldn’t really trust that Sherlock wouldn’t cheat.

Downstairs, Sherlock was back from the shop, with two bags chock full of very specific items. Before he could use them, though, he had to clean the kitchen, starting with the fridge.

Chapter Text

Sherlock sat on the floor in front of the fridge, surrounded by various expired foods and bacteria growths, categorising each experiment from “important” to “throw out immediately. Surprisingly enough, most of the items were in the “throw out immediately” pile, and were soon shoved into a garbage bag and thrown into the bin outside. The interior of the fridge was filthy, and Sherlock felt the need to wear gloves while scrubbing it out, despite having all sorts of experiments that were nastier that he never wore gloves for. Cleaning the grime out of the fridge took at least 45 minutes, and Sherlock’s arm was tired, but he still had to clear the counters, stove, and table. He sighed and moved on to categorising the things on the counters.

John covered his head with his pillow, resisting the urge to yell at Sherlock to stop all the clanging around in the kitchen. What was he doing? He had left a few hours ago, gone off to who knows where, and come back soon after. That’s when the noise started. And he kept going outside and coming back in. What kind of experiment was he doing? John wanted to leave, but he wouldn’t risk running into Sherlock downstairs. He took the ring out of his pocket and threw it across the room, hoping that it had landed somewhere in the vicinity of the trash bin. He didn’t want it anymore. Sherlock clearly wouldn’t want it either.

After clearing off the counters and scrubbing the stove so that it was shinier than it had ever been, Sherlock stocked the fridge and cupboards with the groceries he had purchased. He sighed and sat down at the table. He wondered whether to cook now or wait a few days until John had cooled down enough to speak to him. If he made it tonight, it would either be an awkward, silent dinner, or John would refuse to eat with him. If he made it in a few days, the apology effect would be diminished. He decided on tonight. The recipe didn’t take long to cook, so Sherlock got up and left the flat to go for a walk to think about why he did that to John.

John heard Sherlock leave again, and when he hadn’t come back after 15 minutes, he ventured out of bed, picking the ring box up off the floor and putting it back in his pocket. He crept quietly down the stairs, in case Sherlock had snuck back in. When he was satisfied there was no one there, he made his way into the kitchen for something to eat, dropping the ring into the trash bin by the fridge. He grabbed a box of crackers from the cabinet and went back upstairs, oblivious to the clean state of the kitchen. Back upstairs, he got a glass of water from the bathroom and sat on his bed, eating crackers. He stared at his phone a while before texting Greg.

[Text:] Greg, can I stay with you for a while? JW

He needed to get away from the flat and away from Sherlock. He wasn’t going to stay with someone who cheated on him. Not until he knew he could talk about it without yelling.

[Text:] Sure. Sorry about what happened mate.

[Text:] Me too. JW

John stood up and went downstairs to pack a bag before Sherlock came back. Hopefully he could leave before he came back too. He put the cracker box back in the cabinet, still too angry to notice the cleanliness. He slung his bag over his shoulder and left the flat to hail a cab. The driver pulled into the road and drove off as Sherlock rounded the corner of the block and went back inside.

The minute he stepped inside he knew John had left. There was a certain emptiness about the flat, an emptiness that he only felt when John was gone. He went into their bedroom and knew that John wouldn’t be back for a few days. Going to stay with Lestrade then. He texted Lestrade.

[Text:] Please find out from John when he will come back home. SH

[Text:] I will. You better fix this.

[Text:] I’m trying. SH

Sherlock went into the kitchen. His dinner would have to wait. He didn’t know what to do now. John wasn’t here to distract him. He had no cases. He wouldn’t want to work though, not without his partner. He walked over to the fridge and threw open the door in frustration, which knocked over the trash bin. The detective leaned his head against the freezer door. This was all his fault. He closed the door to the fridge and kneeled down to pick up the bin. The ring box that John had previously thrown away had rolled out on to the floor. Sherlock picked it up, knowing what it was before he even opened the box, which he did anyway. He took the ring out and examined it closely. When he saw the engraving, he had to hold back tears. How could he have done this to John? He had to make it up to him. He had to.

Chapter Text

After a month of staying with Greg, John was still angry, and still didn’t want to see Sherlock. Greg wanted John to leave. He wasn’t going to work and all he did was mope around Greg’s flat glaring at everything.

“John, when are you going to go home? You can’t stay here forever. You’ll have to talk to him eventually.” Greg really just wanted him to go somewhere else. Maybe he shouldn’t have told John what had happened. Then everyone would be getting along fine and John wouldn’t be glaring 24/7.

John just stared at the wall and said “Dunno. Can’t stand to see his face right now.”

“He wants to know when you’re coming home, he misses you. He wants to make it right, he told me that.” Greg said apologetically.

John clenched his fist. “Tell him ‘fuck you’ from me. I don’t want to see him or hear his voice. I don’t want anything to do with him. Do you know why, Greg? Do you?”

“Because he cheated, right?” Of course Greg knew. He was the one who told him.

“Because I was going to propose, when I got home, we were going to go out for dinner and I was going to propose to him. He screwed it all up with stupid Anderson. I threw out the ring. It’s useless now. I’m through with him.” John glared at the ceiling. “I can’t believe he did that.”

Greg was shocked. “Were you really? It’s only been a few months…”

“Just leave it Greg. I don’t want to talk about him. I’ll look for a new flat somewhere. I’ll leave soon and you won’t have to deal with me anymore.” John sighed. “Sorry you have to deal with all our problems.”

Greg’s phone beeped.

[Text:] Please tell him to come home. I have something important for him. SH

“He says he has something important for you, mate.”

“Tell him to leave it on the table in the entry and I’ll be by to get it. Tell him to stay upstairs.”

“Right.” Greg relayed the info.

[Text:] He says leave it on the table in the entry and he’ll come get it.

[Text:] Okay. SH

“You going to head over there then?”

“I suppose.” John sighed and stood up. “No escaping it I guess. I hope it’s not something stupid just to get me to show up.” He put on his shoes and jacket and stepped out. “See you later.”

“Yeah, see you.”

John walked slowly to the main road and hailed a cab. If this was some stupid thing he would go up and punch Sherlock himself. He told the cabbie to take the long way to Baker Street, he needed time to prepare himself in case Sherlock decided to show his face. John didn’t know if he could ever forgive Sherlock for this. But then, he should have expected something to happen to their relationship. He had been warned about the detective. He just wished that everyone had been wrong about him, that he could actually have emotions and friends, that he wasn’t the sociopath he claimed to be. He wanted to be the person to prove them all wrong. But he was the wrong one, apparently. Sherlock was the person everyone had warned him about.

Waiting on the table for him was the ring box. John stared at it for a few seconds trying to comprehend how it had got there. Why had Sherlock taken it out of the trash? Why had Sherlock been looking in the trash? That was weird even for him. Next to the box was a sticky note that said “I hope you’ll be wanting this back. SH”. That was it. John grabbed the box and stormed up the stairs. He flung open the door and threw the ring at Sherlock, who was laying on the couch. “I don’t want this anymore!”

Sherlock sat up and stared at him, looking heartbroken. “John…”

“No.” John turned away. “I don’t want to hear it. You caused this problem, and I don’t think you can fix it.” He went up to his room, forgetting about going back to Greg’s. He was too angry to go anywhere. He should have thrown the ring into the Thames, then Sherlock would have never found it.

Sherlock stared at the stairs for a while, then at the ring box in his hand. He didn’t want to get rid of it but he didn’t want to keep it either. He went into the (still clean) kitchen and opened all the drawers, looking for an unimportant or empty one. He ended up putting it inside a cup neither of them used in the back of a cupboard on the top shelf. John wouldn’t find it, and he would delete the memory. He would do that later though, now it was time to cook. Perhaps the smell of good food would draw John downstairs, where he could then properly apologise for what he had done. He was going to make the only thing he knew how to cook: spinach tomato pasta. His mother had taught him when he was little and it was still all he could do. It was about 4 o’clock. The meal took 40 minutes to prepare. Now was the perfect time to start.

John was curled up under the thin blanket on his old bed thinking. Sherlock knew he had screwed up, and after all, he was new to committed relationships. John knew he was trying to fix things, but he just couldn’t comprehend why Sherlock would cheat. It was ruining their relationship, and their partnership. John had been Sherlock’s only friend for years, and Sherlock’s only committed relationship ever. Why would Sherlock go and ruin it by cheating with Anderson then? Did he not want to be with John anymore and this was his way of breaking it off? No, Sherlock would be direct about it. And Sherlock clearly didn’t want to end it. He had returned the ring, hoping John would want it back. He had tried to apologise. He wanted John to come home. John wondered if he was overreacting. It had been a month since he had gone to stay with Greg, who was getting tired of him. It had been a month since he and Sherlock had seen each other. What was he trying to prove? That he could get on without Sherlock? That Sherlock could get on without him? That they could live without the other? Greg had told him that Sherlock wasn’t taking cases anymore. Was that because he had left? What was Sherlock doing all day? They clearly weren’t doing well without each other. Neither was working and both were extremely upset. John wondered if Sherlock had eaten recently. He wondered if Sherlock was worried about him like he was worried about Sherlock.

John sat up. He needed the ring back. Sherlock was so sorry but he just wasn’t listening. He didn’t care why Sherlock had cheated with Anderson anymore, he just wanted to make things right.

Sherlock was in the middle of mixing sauce ingredients when he realised there was no parmesan cheese in the fridge. Knowing John was unlikely to come down from his room, he ran out to grab some at Tesco.

When John heard the door shut, he came downstairs, hoping Sherlock had not taken the ring with him. He had probably left it on the table, was John’s logic. If not, then he had probably put it somewhere else, like a drawer in their dresser or something. The ring was in neither of those places. John looked in the bathroom. He looked in the bins outside, he looked in the wastepaper baskets inside. He looked in the fireplace and under the couch and chairs. He went into the kitchen, and was surprised to see that someone had been cooking in there. He was also surprised to see that there was no experiments on the table or on the counters. He looked in the fridge, which had actual food in it and a surprisingly low amount of experiments and bacterial growths. The milk wasn’t even expired. Had Sherlock done this? Cleaned the whole kitchen? John was pleasantly surprised. He then got back to his task of looking for the ring. It wasn’t in the fridge, or the oven, or the sink. It wasn’t in any of the alarmingly organised drawers or lower cabinets. He checked the lower shelves in the upper cabinets, and used a chair to look on the top shelves. Where was it? The doctor climbed off the chair and sank to the floor, leaning against the fridge door. Sherlock must have taken it with him, wherever he had gone, to get rid of it. John shouldn’t have even tried to look for it. It was a hopeless idea now. John rested his chin on knees and listened for footsteps on the stairs. He would apologise for making Sherlock miserable for the past month and he would take his leave. Most of this argument, if it could even be called that, was his fault. Sherlock was the one who screwed up, but John was the one who refused to be civil with him and instead chose to mope in his room and stay at Greg’s for a month without a word to Sherlock. He sighed. He didn’t want it to be over between them. He still loved Sherlock, even though they both had done some pretty stupid things in the relationship. He had to fix this.

Chapter Text

John could hear Sherlock’s slow footsteps on the stairs, but he didn’t have the energy to get up and leave the kitchen. Sherlock wasn’t expecting him to be there, and John knew it would alarm him to see John in such a distressed state, sitting on the kitchen floor. He sighed just as Sherlock opened the door to the kitchen. John looked up and was suddenly angry again. It seemed he could only forgive the man when he wasn’t looking at him. “Ugh,” John stood up. “Nevermind.”

“Nevermind what?” Sherlock asked slightly taken aback that John had actually come downstairs.

“I said nevermind!” John snapped. “I’m going back to Greg’s.”

“No, John, please don’t leave again,” Sherlock tried to stop him. “I’m making dinner…”

“Leave me alone.” John replied, leaving through the still open door. He couldn’t do this. Not when he had put his trust so completely into Sherlock and their relationship and been betrayed. Why had he been planning to forgive him for such an unforgivable act? He didn’t think he could ever trust the man again.

Sherlock watched John go sadly. He doubted John would trust him again. John said he was going back to Lestrade’s, but perhaps he could get him back to 221B for dinner. He would apologise formally, and try to make it up to him, promise to never do it again, do whatever he could to regain John’s trust. Even if it took months he would do whatever it took. Sherlock set his parmesan cheese on the table and set about cooking again. He wondered what had possessed him to do such a horrible thing to John and their relationship. And with Anderson of all people. What was wrong with him?

John found himself in St. James Park, nearly 4 kilometres away from Baker Street and not anywhere near Greg’s flat. Standing on the bridge across the lake, he could just see Scotland Yard. He couldn’t remember the day, but he knew it was late afternoon, and Greg had been at home earlier that day. “Must be Sunday,” he muttered to himself. “I’ve missed a lot of work…” John turned and rested his arms against the bridge railing, looking across the lake. He imagined, for a brief second, proposing to Sherlock in that very place, the setting sun shining through the trees and creating a golden-red glow behind them... He shook his head slightly to rid his mind of the image, remembering the thought he had just before he had left. It seems I can only forgive him when I’m not looking at him, he sighed. This makes things very difficult. He supposed that it was because whenever he saw Sherlock, all he could imagine was the tall man bending down to kiss someone that wasn’t him. John was sorry for how he had acted in the face of the situation, and he was sorry for how he acted all the way up to this moment, ignoring Sherlock, yelling at Sherlock, throwing the ring at Sherlock… The words of the engraving floated around in John’s mind, For the love of my life - JW. He stared at the slowly rippling water of the lake, asking himself if there was any reason that Sherlock would be unsatisfied in their relationship, if there was any reason that he was not enough. Cheating didn’t just happen accidentally, there must have been some underlying cause. He knew Sherlock was sorry, and he knew that this was hurting him too, but he was just so damn angry with the detective.

John wandered off the bridge and sat on a bench overlooking the lake. He looked awfully sad and lonely, he knew that, but he couldn’t stand to be around anyone he knew right now, not even Greg, who was probably just hoping that they had worked it out and that was why he hadn’t come back. He felt so conflicted, between wanting Sherlock back and wanting to never speak to him again. It was his choice, he supposed, but he didn’t want to hurt Sherlock, even considering that he had been hurt by Sherlock. I’m already hurting him, John thought. And I won’t even give him a chance to apologise. But why should I? He cheated on me, he obviously doesn’t care how I feel. John leaned back and stared at the leaves of a tree above him. But his actions today have shown that he really wants to make it up to me. How can one even do that? The trust built up between them over the past few years was gone. John didn’t know if there was anything Sherlock could do to rebuild that. Years and years of friendship and trust had been nearly destroyed. The love John had for him was only holding on by a thread. He loved Sherlock, he really did, but how could they be together when one couldn’t trust the other? How could they be what they used to be when John would worry that Anderson might manage to seduce him again?

Sherlock sat at the table with his head in his hands, staring at his phone on the table in front of him. His meal was almost done cooking, and he wanted to text John to ask him to come, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. John obviously did not want to see him, so why would he invite him for dinner? John would either not show up, or show up and glare at him the whole time, maybe even yell at him a bit. Sherlock knew he was just hurting the both of them emotionally by trying to bring John back into the flat when he wasn’t ready to see him and have a calm discussion, but Sherlock really wished they could reconcile soon. This was affecting both of their jobs and personal lives immensely. He just wanted things to go back to how they were before he screwed up. ”But they never will,” he whispered as he stood up from the table to turn off the stove. “And it’s all my fault.” He took the pot off the stove and set it on the counter. “Why did I even bother to make this,” he asked himself. “I’m not going to eat it, and John isn’t going to come for dinner. Maybe I’ll give it to Mrs. Hudson…” He stared at the pot of pasta “And now I’m talking to myself…what has this done to me? What has this done to us?”

He decided to put the pasta in the fridge with the mindset that second day pasta is better anyways. Then he washed the dishes he had used to cook the meal, and after putting them away, he crawled into his and John’s… his bed and attempted sleep.