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Three in a Bed

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Mary woke the next morning to find that either Sherlock was a very friendly sleeper, or he had been trying to get around her, in the night, to hold onto John. Or possibly both. She discovered, also, that Sherlock Holmes was loath to wake when he did not want to, but was a little better on that score than John was.

Finally she pushed herself up on her arm and said, aloud, "Sherlock, if you don't let me go to the necessary the results are going to be very unfortunate, and presently your leg is a very effective impediment."

John, helpful even as he retained his slumbering form, kicked at Sherlock's leg, and the latter reluctantly allowed Mary to disentangle herself and make her dash for the water-closet. She did put her hands on her robe before she went, but only put it on upon emerging, and waited quite patiently for Sherlock to say something. Given that even last night, they had been fencing with words for a time, it struck her as likely he would have something to say.

Instead, he merely remarked, "So I have been rechristened?" as John rolled over and hid his head under the pillow, and Mary herself sat on the foot of her bed. She pulled her legs up alongside her, the way she used to when she was a girl.

"I'm surprised it took you so long to notice," she replied, pretending aloofness. Of this tone she was perfect mistress, both soft and pointed, and she was quite certain Sherlock Holmes would understand that point of balance. If he wanted to play, she was quite willing, as long as he remembered it was a game.

"I did in point of fact make note of the change when it occurred," he replied, in a similar tone which was quite gratifying to her, "but given our respective states at the time, a suspicion came upon me that you would not appreciate my diverting the conversation."

Mary's mouth curved almost involuntarily at the memory of his hands at her hips and his mouth upon her, but she did not acknowledge it. "The woman who must remain on formal terms with a gentleman who has recently had his hands up her skirt," she rejoined instead, summoning another sort of aloofness entirely, "is a creature to be pitied."

Sherlock replied, with delicate precision, "You were not wearing a skirt at the time."

"I was being delicate," she retorted.

"Perhaps somewhat late," he returned, and at that she merely kicked - gently - his foot, still under the blankets.

"Be careful, Sherlock," she said, "or I shall send you out into the street to find your breakfast, rather than allowing you the good grace of Mrs Trust's scones."

She did not pretend to entirely understand the complexities in his eyes or in his own somewhat-involuntary half-smile in response: there was still a great deal about him she did not know, and she was not so foolish as to pretend to. She suspected that even to John, Sherlock dealt out his secrets grudgingly.

"That would be a terrible fate indeed," he said, as if offering the terms of a peace-treaty. She smiled at him by way of accepting, and then reached over to shake John's good leg by the calf.

"Go away, both of you," John replied, in his half-awake way. "I haven't any patients today and I want to sleep."

"It's morning, darling," Mary pointed out in her best meek-wife voice, which caused Sherlock to go into a coughing-fit of laughter. She supposed he hadn't heard that one, had he? Given she was so often needing to argue with him or tell John "no" when they were in company, and she didn't feel the need to deceive.

"To Hell with morning," John replied, still from underneath the pillow. "It was morning when we finally fell asleep."

"There are scones," Mary pointed out, in the same voice.

"To Hell with scones!"

"I'm going to tell Mrs Trust you said that," Mary said, abandoning the meek wife for the wicked school-girl.

There was a pause, but John still said, "To Hell with her, too, and that's dirty play, Mary."

Mary summoned up a response, but paused when Sherlock held up a finger, as he often did when he was about to demonstrate or explain something in particular. Obligingly, Mary stayed quiet and watched with a certain amount of interest as Sherlock quietly shifted his weight, moved over in the bed - and then kissed and bit gently (but not terribly gently) at John's shoulder.

Interest of more than one kind: she was certain that, even in the circumstances, it was not what she ought to think, but the only thought in her mind was my dearest God, how beautiful they are together.

John went very still for but a moment, and when he spoke it was very precisely, and he said, "Holmes, you are - "

"Now Watson," said Sherlock, looking amused, and slightly wicked, which Mary noted were very similar expressions on him. "Do try to remember that of the three of us here you are the gentleman, and that there is a lady present."