John eyed the front door of the house apprehensively. “221B,” it said. Wasn’t that strange for a house that surely contained more than one flat? Eccentricity, maybe. For some reason, it seemed to fit with the vague picture that he had created of his potential flatmate.
After the stranger had responded to John’s “Room wanted” ad on EasyRoommate, they had exchanged a few emails, and somehow the stranger had known all about John. John still wasn't convinced that Mike Stamford was not secretly behind all that though. Seriously, how was it humanly possible to deduce that he was a washed-up veteran with a psych record and a shoulder injury?
The stranger hadn't been able to guess at the inexplicable limp though. Maybe Stamford had been polite.
It all seemed a bit odd. The guy's parents must have been something, for starters, to land him with that name. John hadn’t even known there were people called “Sherlock” these days. Sherlock had also been rather secretive about his own occupation and the source of his income. He had, however, given John a list of bad habits that ran as long as his arm. John, who had lived in military barracks, was not shocked by any of them. It was a bit unusual, granted, but you had to acknowledge that it was a pragmatic way of going about these things. John liked pragmatic.
He shook his head and rang the doorbell. There was only one thing for it, and that was seeing the man and the flat for himself.
A tall, dark-haired man who actually looked like his profile picture opened the door. John offered his hand.
“Good evening, Mister Holmes.”
The man shook his hand and smiled.
“Sherlock, please.” The stranger moved backwards to let John in.
“I only moved here a couple of days ago myself. Landlady’s not in at the moment, but if you want the room, just get back to me and I’ll sort things out with her. Mrs Hudson, very nice lady. Friend of the family’s. Well, when I say friend...”
For someone with that long a list of bad habits, Sherlock had some confidence in his ability to find a new flatmate quickly. John flashed him a grin as he crossed the threshold.
John had barely closed the door behind him when a crack of thunder split the air, making him jump. Sherlock, who already had one foot on the bottom step of the staircase to the first floor, turned around on his heel at the sound, his angular features beautifully silhouetted by the lightning.
John swallowed hard. He could hear the blood pounding in his ears, along with the thunder and the sound of heavy rain on the pavement, as they stared at one another, seemingly transfixed.
The mail slot clattered with a gust of wind that made the hair on the back of John’s neck stand on end. Instinctively, he took a step forward. Sherlock moved at the exact same moment, and John felt his stomach flip. The stranger’s movement had the grace of a big cat about to jump on its prey, but John didn’t feel threatened.
He licked his lips, still looking at the stranger. Sherlock’s mouth appeared to form words but John couldn’t have heard them anyway over the sounds of the thunderstorm.
God, John wanted that man.
Another stroke of lightning and the lights in the hallway flickered twice, then died.
And suddenly, it was all very easy. John moved forward, pulled Sherlock close, and crushed their mouths together. They swayed with the force of the impact and staggered into the wall next to the staircase.
“That thing... you do... with your tongue... is obscene,” Sherlock growled between kisses, his voice more vibration on John’s skin than sound.
“Look who’s talking.”
John was fighting the buttons on Sherlock’s clothes while Sherlock’s hands slid under John’s jumper and tugged at the t-shirt he was wearing underneath. John made an inhuman sound in the back of his throat, in sync with the growl of thunder outside, when the shirt came free and Sherlock’s hand slid across the small of his back.
The buttons finally came undone under John’s fingers and Sherlock’s jacket and shirt ended on the floor. He gasped slightly at the sight of the body underneath—he hadn’t quite expected Sherlock to be that muscular, given how skinny he was—and slipped his hands up the man’s back, folding him into a tight embrace.
Sherlock broke the kiss and tried to push away, and for a split second the part of John that was still rational was afraid that all this was a Very Bad Idea. But the reason for Sherlock’s actions became clear soon enough as he lifted John’s arms and pulled his jumper and t-shirt off.
Their bodies came together, skin on skin in the darkness. John shivered with the cold, but also with another sensation that had more to do with the scent of Sherlock’s cologne, the feeling of his hands on John’s body, and the way he scraped his teeth across John’s bottom lip.
“Bit cold out here,” John breathed.
Sherlock smiled, a predatory gleam in his eyes. Without any further word, he extricated himself from John’s arms, and led him up the stairs.
Going by the state of the front room, Sherlock certainly hadn’t exaggerrated when he’d said he wasn’t the tidiest person.
“Hang on, I’m going to straighten things up a bit.” And with that and two sweeping movements of Sherlock’s arm, a jumble of objects was transferred from on top of the sofa to around it, leaving sufficient space for the two of them to stagger towards the sofa and collapse onto it.
Sherlock was first on top of him, then sprawled out beneath him, running his hands over John’s body, kissing him like a hungry animal, pressing their bodies close together. One of Sherlock’s hands slid along the top of John’s jeans, across the small of his back, and lower...
Things had been knocked off course, that little rational voice inside John realised. But the better part of John decided that, if being knocked off course meant snogging and ripping the clothes off of somebody who was, from a completely objective point of view, really quite fit, then he wasn’t going to complain.
Speaking of which, Sherlock had undone John’s belt and was doing some very interesting things with his fingers. John closed his eyes, and then all he could hear was the sound of heavy rain and the other man’s breathing.
The next morning, John woke from the sound of someone clearing his throat.
Well, her throat, to be precise.
The landlady had knocked on the door (somehow they must have made it to the bedroom last night then, John surmised), then taken a peek and cleared her throat at the sight. She pulled the door back to and John was glad he hadn’t moved. If she’d realised he was awake, things could have become really awkward.
“Sherlock?” Mrs Hudson’s voice crept through the crack between the door and the frame.
The figure beside John stirred at the sound and gave a grunt.
“Yes?” His voice was slurred with tiredness.
“I don’t want to disturb you, love, it’s just that... the Detective Inspector’s here, and was wondering if you had a minute? I said to him, I’ll have a look, I said, I’m not sure he’s up yet, seeing as it’s a Saturday.”
“I’ll be down in a bit,” the slurred voice said. As the landlady’s footsteps faded down the stairs, John became aware of a hand crawling up his spine, and then he felt Sherlock’s lips and teeth against his neck.
“You’re gonna leave marks,” he said, but there was no conviction behind the words. He turned around to face Sherlock, who looked almost disappointed when John’s neck disappeared from underneath his teeth.
“Not that you’re not gorgeous,” he started saying, kissing the outline of Sherlock’s shoulder, “and not that I don’t want to spend all day in bed with you, but I believe there is somebody waiting for you.”
Sherlock sighed. “Impeccable timing. As ever.”
He got out of bed and attempted to get dressed. After buttoning his shirt wrong twice because John was trying to drag him back to bed, then searching for his shoes for five minutes before remembering that he'd left them in the front room the previous night, he decided he was in a presentable state. He raked his fingers through his hair and looked at John, who was still naked under the covers.
“I’ll be right back,” he said and winked, then thought better of it and gave John a long, deep kiss. He grabbed John’s hand and held onto it while he walked backwards until it was out of his reach and didn’t break eye contact until he was out of the room.
When Sherlock was gone, John exhaled and sank back into the bed with a contented smile on his face. He looked out of the window. The rain had abated, but the city was still soaking wet. There hadn’t been a thunderstorm like this in a while, come to think of it...
He buried himself in the warmth of the covers and turned around again. A few minutes later, he heard footsteps coming up the stairs, and seconds later, Sherlock reappeared in the bedroom. He all but flung himself onto the covers on top of John and gave him a sloppy kiss.
“I hate to say it, soldier, but I have work to do. And I’d really like for you to come with me. I’m not sure I can face a day this cold and bleak without you.”
Come to think of it, John wasn’t sure he could face a day like this on his own, even in this very comfortable bed. So he nodded, got dressed, flattened his hair with the palm of his hand, and went downstairs with Sherlock.
The grey-haired man downstairs gave them a quizzical look. “Who’s he?”
Sherlock grinned all over his face. “Detective Inspector Lestrade; Doctor John Watson.”
John stuck out his hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
The man blinked twice. He didn’t take the proffered hand, but gave Sherlock a hard stare instead. “Yes, okay, but who is he?”
“He’s with me.”
“Oh.” There was the suggestion of a smile on Lestrade's face. “Well, suit yourself.” Two minutes later, John found himself snogging Sherlock in the back of a black cab which was supposedly going to Brixton. As Sherlock explained in the brief intervals when they came up for air, they were going to a crime scene.
They got out of the cab at their final destination only after the driver had knocked at the window several times and finally resorted to opening the door from the outside and all but dragging them apart. Sherlock paid him with a sheepish grin, smoothed down his coat, and walked towards a house in a side road in front of John.
The crime scene, as indeed it turned out to be, consisted of a dead woman in a pink coat. Hand in hand Sherlock and John looked at her while Lestrade explained that she had been found some hours ago by some kids. She'd been identified but the cause of death was unclear.
At this point, Sherlock turned to John and gave him an almost chaste kiss on the lips. “You're a doctor, aren't you? Would you be so kind as to take a look at her?”
John smiled and squeezed Sherlock's hand. “Of course.”
Lestrade almost rolled his eyes but thought better of it. “I'll leave you to it, shall I?" He turned around and left the room, closing the door behind him.
Five minutes later, he knocked at the same door from the outside. At the third knock, Sherlock sighed and reluctantly stopped kissing John against the door.
“Don't take a shoulder to it,” John said, but Lestrade nearly fell into the room, caught up in the momentum of opening it with more force than was necessary.
“I don't know who the hell you are, but if you could let my consultant do his job, that would be great," he said, the steel in his voice unmistakeable.
“He didn't keep me from doing my job,” Sherlock objected.
“I saw all there was to see, observed all there was to observe.”
He gestured at the woman.
“Find out who drove her here, and you have your killer. Since it was clearly a cab, he should be fairly easy to track down. Not my job anymore." He kissed John emphatically. “Now, if you'll excuse us.”
“Get a room,” Lestrade sighed, and walked out.
They made their way downstairs and back onto the street. Sherlock hailed a cab and gave Baker Street as the address, then looked at John. “Lunch?”
“Starving.” John winked at Sherlock, who raised an eyebrow in an infuriatingly flirty manner. Then he nodded and asked the cabbie to drive to another address instead.
“Nice little Italian place there. Belongs to a friend of mine. Well, when I say friend...” His voice trailed off, and John seized the opportunity for a kiss. As a result, the rest of the drive was spent in relative silence.
The “nice little Italian” turned out to be a fairly upscale affair, at least going by John’s standards. They were seated at a cosy table next to the door, in full view of the street. John leaned back in his seat and stretched his legs while the waiter lit the candle on the table—“It’s more romantic that way”—and brought menus.
As far as John was concerned, however, the dishiest thing in the place by far was the man opposite him, so when the waiter returned, it took a couple of polite but firm mentions of “Mr. Holmes?” before they’d disentangled from each other enough to be able to order food. When they’d finished the starter, the waiter clearing the plates asked in a low tone whether they’d prefer to sit somewhere more private.
John was about to answer that, yes, maybe that would be good, but Sherlock put on a charming grin, straightened his shirt, and asserted that they would try and behave themselves—”try” being the important word here. They made it to the end of the meal within an inch of being forcefully kicked out and piled into a cab that someone in the restaurant must have called for them.
Getting out at Baker Street and getting upstairs was a bit of a haze, even though the lights were working again. They tumbled into the bed together and John was starting to think that this was something he could get used to.
He had no concept of time passing, but at some point, he got hungry, and at some point, it got dark, and he fell asleep spooned behind Sherlock.
The next morning found them at a late breakfast when the doorbell rang. John wanted to get the door, but Sherlock caught him by the hand and sat him back down again, planting a kiss on his forehead before continuing to munch on his toast.
The ringing grew more insistent. With an exasperated sigh, Sherlock dropped his toast and wrapped his dressing-gown around himself to slink downstairs, closely followed by John.
He opened the door and made to shut it again when he saw who stood outside, but the man outside had wedged the tip of an umbrella in the opening.
“What now?” Sherlock narrowed his eyes.
John behind him blinked as the door swung open. Two men stood on the doorstep. He recognised one of them as DI Lestrade. The other was dark-haired, impeccably dressed, and leaning on the umbrella that he had just used to hold open the front door. John looked at each of the three men in turn, a question in his eyes.
“My brother, Mycroft,” Sherlock said, waving his hand limply in the man’s general direction.
“He likes to meddle in my affairs. And look, he’s brought backup. Or maybe just a spy?”
Lestrade shuffled his feet. Mycroft, meanwhile, seemed completely unperturbed.
“You know my methods. I employ a variety of methods to get my information, brother.” He almost spat the last word, then looked at Sherlock and John with a very wide and very fake smile.
“Given the events of the last few days, I thought it best to...”
Sherlock frowned at the word. “What events?”
“Precisely.” Mycroft’s smile dropped.
“In the last two days, you haven’t checked your phone, or your e-mail inbox, or even your letterbox.” He pointed at some envelopes on the floor by the door.
“All you’ve done is—” he gave John a hard stare “—him.”
“Since when is my private life any concern of yours?”
“It is if it interferes with your work.”
“So you want me to—what? Get rid of John because he’s distracting me from my work? Don’t be ridiculous.”
Mycroft tutted. “Always assuming the worst. No, Sherlock, that is not what I want.”
“Good.” Sherlock squeezed John’s hand and planted a kiss on his temple.
“I—We—I want you to get married.”
Both Sherlock and John looked at him in silence for about five seconds. Then both simultaneously broke out in a fit of giggles that had them gasping for air. Sherlock leaned against the wall and looked at Mycroft sideways.
“That. Is ridiculous.” He straightened up while John beside him was still having trouble not doubling over. “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.”
“Oh for goodness’ sake.” Mycroft sounded desperate.
“Think of the family reputation, Sherlock. Of public decency.”
“Oh yes, public decency. Nothing more important than public decency. So tell me, when did you two get married then?”
The two older men looked at each other.
“What did you—”
Both faced Sherlock, who was grinning all over his face.
“You have your tricks, I have mine. But such as it is, congratulations.” He nodded at the two.
“Now, if you’ll excuse us. I’d rather we had the discussions about the rings and the suits and who takes whose name in the privacy of our own home. You know. Public decency.”
With that, he shut the door in their faces and turned toward John, who grinned wickedly. “We can’t affect public decency if we just stay inside, can we?”
Sherlock returned the grin. “I think you might be right.”
They started walking back upstairs.
“Suppose you’re moving in then?”
“Suppose I am.”