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The first time John hears about Say No to Sexual Deviancy, he doesn't consider it seriously.

He's watching BBC News at Ten when it comes on, waiting for Sherlock to get home – god only knows where the man is; it's just like him to wander off somewhere without telling anyone. 'It' is a short piece on the newly founded Say No to Sexual Deviancy Party, discussing the ethics of their policies. John listens for a few moments, his expression deepening in disgust, and then flips channels.

They aren't unheard of, these kinds of fanatical prejudice politics – Britain's got its fair share, like the National Front and the BNP and they never go far. He still feels a stab of unease, though, on Harry's behalf, that even in this day and age people persist in entertaining this medieval notion that there is something innately wrong with being gay. He consoles himself with the thought that times have changed drastically from the beginning of the twentieth century, and are still changing. Homosexuality is widely accepted, even celebrated. People who voice homophobic opinions are more often than not unceremoniously shot down. This movement will go the same way; it won't even get off the ground.

Then Sherlock stumbles through the door a second later, bleached bone white with pain and shock. The sight drives all thoughts of prejudice and politics clean out of John's mind for the time being.

He's too busy scolding, fussing and trying to deal with a copiously bleeding and ridiculously obstinate Sherlock to reflect on what he's seen until it's one o'clock in the morning, after he's bandaged Sherlock up and sent him to bed. He's exhausted and he can hear his own room calling to him from upstairs, but he lingers by the head of Sherlock's bed awhile, absent-mindedly fiddling with the covers and watching his friend turn fitfully in his sleep.

He wonders vaguely what the Say No to Sexual Deviancy Party would mean for the pair of them if it ever assumed power. It's not like anything has ever happened between them but they have a uniquely intense relationship. John supposes it's necessary when they're colleagues and friends in a business where you need to trust your partner with your life. He knows what it looks like from the outside, though. People would talk about them. Are already talking about them. He sinks down onto the bed beside Sherlock and for a minute, he toys with the idea of being forced to part with him. Moving away, getting a job and a flat elsewhere. Not being able to work with him or see him.

The rush of fury, defensiveness and devastation he feels almost unbalances him. He needs Sherlock. Sherlock needs him. This is the way things work. It's not a question of want or desire; it's a statement of necessity. He will do what it takes to stay with Sherlock and keep him safe, as long as Sherlock wants him.

It's that exact moment that Sherlock chooses to roll over and murmur, clearly and distinctly, John's name, and then John is falling.

For a brief flash, he is consumed by the idea of them together, the kind of together that could be threatened by the ridiculous Say No to Sexual Deviancy Party. But the moment passes and he wrenches himself away from the bed almost violently, breathing hard, feeling ashamed at being in Sherlock's room while he's asleep and having these kinds of thoughts. He stumbles upstairs almost blindly, without once looking back.

In his room, under his covers, it's easier for him to breathe and think straight. It's not going to happen. He never even seriously considered it. All he needs to do for Sherlock – and all he will do – is what he already does – provide a sounding board for Sherlock's insane deductions, shoot wildly at things that need shooting on cases and dole out caustic remarks when he feels the time is right. Also make tea. Sherlock is surprisingly bad at that.

He chuckles softly, already drifting off to sleep.