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The music was too loud, the students too drunk and Sherlock too bored to even care. Why had he agreed to come in the first place, anyway. Molly seemed to manage just fine, given that she had abandoned him as soon as they’d arrived, and John-

Well, John hadn’t really said he’d be coming. Exams were coming up, and when Sherlock had suggested he could help him study, John had assured him he would manage on his own for one evening. Sherlock had wanted to tell him a few hours in his room was much more appealing than an entire evening with dull teenagers, but he had kept his mouth shut and made John promise he’d call if he changed his mind. His phone hadn’t beeped since he arrived, and Sherlock forced himself not to check it, again.

“Careful!” A voice came to his right and Sherlock barely managed to avoid a group of boys with their drinks full. “Don’t just stand there!”

Sherlock repressed a harsh deduction about the boy’s cheating girlfriend, and walked out of the kitchen. He tried to look for Molly, probably sitting somewhere with Irene, but Sherlock couldn’t seem to find them. He could just leave. No one would notice anyway. High school was coming to an end, and soon Sherlock wouldn’t have to bear the rest of the stupid students, the boring teachers, the dull rules. Sherlock couldn’t wait.

“Sherlock!”

Jumping with surprise, Sherlock turned around and saw Molly running towards him. Her cheeks were already red, her smile too wide and Sherlock knew she was up to something before she could say anything else.

“No,” he said.

“Come on, you don’t even know what I was going to say!”

“I know Irene put you up to this, and that’s all I need to know in order to refuse,” Sherlock replied, already walking away.

“It will be fun, I promise.”

She grabbed his arms, forcing him to go the other way and Sherlock sighed, “Molly, let me go.”

“No,” she stared up at him, a much too serious look on her face and said, “You are coming with me and I won’t take no for an answer!”

Sherlock stared back at her, wondering how many drinks she already had to stand up to him like this, and realised he quite liked this Molly, “Can I at least know what this is all about?”

She laughed, “No, no you can’t,” and pulled him with her towards the other room.

Sherlock rolled his eyes but followed her without another word. Irene, as expected, was waiting for them, as well as several other students Sherlock didn’t recognize. They all cheered when they arrived and Sherlock wondered what he had just agreed to.

“Sherlock!” Irene smiled, patting his shoulder, “Just who we were waiting for!”

“That’s what scares me,” Sherlock muttered but Irene ignored him entirely.

“All good parties need good games,” she said, walking towards what seemed to be a closet, and stopped to look back at him, “and I’ve been told you’ve never taken part in one before.”

“That’s because it’s stupid and without interest,” Sherlock remarked, making her laugh again.

“That’s the whole point!”

Some students laughed too, and Sherlock sighed. He’d never managed to really understand Irene, not since John had introduced them. She was a friend of John’s sister, and somehow, she had taken an interest in Sherlock the moment she saw him. John had teased him about it, a lot, until they had walked on Irene snogging Harry in the bathroom. Irene was nice, in her own way. She cared about him, that much was obvious, and Sherlock wondered why. He wasn’t exactly friends with her, and didn’t make any effort to be, but she didn’t seem to care. Sherlock liked her for that, for remaining a mystery.

“Sherlock, please, into the closet!”

She opened the door, still smiling and Sherlock heard Molly giggle behind him.

“Why?”

“The game, Sherlock!”

Sherlock frowned, scanning the clothes and boxes inside the closet suspiciously, “I don’t want to get in there.”

“I’ll talk to professor Witney,” Molly suddenly said, “I’ll convince him to let you use the school equipment for your personal experiment.”

Sherlock looked back at her, “He hates me, he’ll never agree.”

“I’ll convince him,” she said again, seriously, and Sherlock found himself believing she might be able to.

“You can’t say no now,” Irene remarked.

Sherlock sighed, again. “Fine. What am I supposed to do in there?”

“Just go in there and stay inside for seven minutes,” Molly said, a small smile on her lips.

“Seven minutes?”

“Will you just go already?” Irene snapped, practically pushing him inside. “And don’t worry, you won’t be alone for too long.”

“What do you mea-”

She closed the door before he could finish and Sherlock found himself surrounded by darkness. He gave his eyes some time to adjust before searching for something to sit on. There were many boxes, too many, and he stacked some together. He was presumably in a women’s closet, dresses and shoes all over the shelf, and Sherlock busied himself by deducing the story behind every piece of clothing. That entertained him, until he heard some loud cheering again.

“You have to.” Came Irene’s voice and Sherlock stood up, placing his ear against the wooden door. “Come on!”

“But I have to study,” came another voice and Sherlock froze.

“You’re here aren’t you, what’s seven more minutes?”

“Who’s in there already?”

“You’ll see, come on, get inside!”

Sherlock barely managed to step back before the door was opened again and John Watson was pushed inside.

“Sherlock?”

 

~ ~

Ten years ago.

Sherlock is 7, John is 8.

Sherlock didn’t dare to move. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He had been sitting there for hours, trying to remain as still as possible, as quiet as he could, and finally, his efforts were paying off.

Mycroft wasn’t going to believe-

“You’re aware there is a bee on your cheek?”

Sherlock jumped with surprise, the bee flying away immediately and he turned around, a blond boy staring at him, “Look what you’ve done!”

“She could have stung you,” the boy said.

“No she wouldn’t.”

“How do you know?”

Sherlock shrugged, “I know, that’s all.”

The boy remained silent for a moment, staring at him, “Are you trying to domesticate them?”

“Maybe,” Sherlock replied carefully, but the boy smiled and Sherlock found himself smiling back.

“I’m John, John Watson,” the boy smiled, offering his hand.

Sherlock shook it slowly, “Sherlock Holmes.”

John smiled again, looking around them as he let go of his hand, “So, how do you make them come back?”

 

~ ~

Nine years ago.

Sherlock is 8, John is 9

“John, would you like some more potatoes?”

“Yes, thank you,” John smiled before handing out his plate.

“Mummy, we need to go to the woods behind the house tonight,” Sherlock said, playing with the food on his own plate.

“You need to?”

“Yes, it’s very important,” Sherlock replied seriously, glancing at John.

“It is, Miss Holmes,” John backed him up, smashing some more potatoes into his mouth.

“Why do you need to go then?”

“To study the bees!” Sherlock exclaimed before realising he sounded much more excited than he intended to.

“Bees?” His father asked, and Sherlock turned towards him.

“Yes, there is a new nest in one of the trees and I’ve never managed to study their behavior at night before,” Sherlock explained.

“It’s really lucky they’ve made a nest so close,” John added, and Sherlock smiled at him.

“Ok boys,” his mother said, a warm smile on her lips, “But Mycroft is going with you.”

“What?” Mycroft and Sherlock exclaimed at the same time.

“You are too young to wander in the night alone, Mycroft will go with you and stay for an hour, not more.”

“But Mummy,” Sherlock began.

“I have some studying to do,” Mycroft said.

“You’ll help you brother,” their father intervened, “It’s only one hour, Mycroft.”

“Fine.”

Sherlock sulked for the rest of diner, John trying to make him smile by poking him with his feet under the table, and Sherlock almost didn’t smile, almost.

 

~ ~

Eight years ago.

Sherlock is 9, John is 10.

“The teacher wants me to skip my last year of junior school,” Sherlock declared one afternoon, both of them sitting on the grass in John’s garden.

“Really?”

Sherlock turned his head to look at him, “Yes, she hasn’t said anything yet, but she’s thinking about it.”

“I see,” John smiled before lying down, “that means we’ll both pass to secondary school at the same time!”

“Maybe we-,” Sherlock began but stopped, lying next to John.

“Yes,” John smiled anyway, “that’ll be awesome!”

“You don’t even know what I was going to say,” Sherlock remarked, fingers playing with the grass.

“I do,” John replied, “but if we are in the same class, the teachers will go mad.”

Sherlock closed his eyes, laughing. He had wanted to be in John’s class for so long, he couldn’t believe he might have a real chance now. School was boring. Sherlock had tried to listen to his teachers at first, tried to engage with them and point out some of their mistakes, but he had quickly realised it was all for nothing and gave up. He had thought of leaving and forgetting about it entirely, but there was John.

“Probably, yes,” Sherlock smiled.

“My mum said you should come with us to France this summer,” John suddenly said, and Sherlock’s eyes snapped open.

“Really?”

“Yes,” John turned his head to look at him, smiling, “Harry isn’t coming anymore, so we have a free bed.”

“And you want me to come with you?” Sherlock asked.

“Of course,” John smiled, “it’ll be fun.”

Sherlock felt warmth spreading through his chest and he looked back up at the sky, “I’ll have to ask mummy.”

John laughed, “I’m sure you’ll find a way to convince her.”

Sherlock joined in, the sound of their laughter filling up the air. Of course he was going to convince her. There was no way Sherlock would miss an entire month of holiday with John.

 

~ ~

Now

“I thought you were studying tonight,” Sherlock said, eyes getting used to the dark again.

“I was, but I needed a break and thought I could drop by for a a hour or two,” John explained. “How did they get you to play this game?”

Sherlock shrugged, “I don’t even what game this is.”

John laughed and Sherlock had to look away.

“Seven minutes in heaven.”

“Is that even a real game?” Sherlock asked.

“Yes,” John clasped his hands quietly, once, twice.

Nervous.

“And what are you supposed to do?”

Sherlock sat back on the boxes, aware of the limited space they had. John was practically touching him, and Sherlock was certain the temperature had gotten higher since he joined him.

“You just wait for seven minutes,” John replied, one hand rubbing at his nape.

“That’s the most boring game I’ve ever heard of.”

“Well, it’s called heaven because you’re trapped in a closet for seven long minutes with someone you like.”

Sherlock fell silent, feeling his heartbeat quickening. John wasn’t looking at him, studying the clothes next to him instead, and Sherlock hurried to gain some composure.

“I see.”

Sherlock looked down at his hands. That was it then.

John knew.

 

~ ~

Seven years ago.

Sherlock is 10, John is 11.

“Holmes, Watson,” the teacher’s voice echoed in the quiet classroom, and Sherlock’s head snapped up.

“Yes, miss,” John said, hiding the notes they were writing under his book.

“Still not listening, apparently,” the teacher continued, walking towards them, “I take it you already know everything about today’s lesson.”

“No, miss,” John replied before Sherlock could say anything. “We’re sorry.”

“I must say, you two have been distracting my class for months, I will have a word with the headmaster, make sure you won’t be in the same class again.”

John was about to reply again but Sherlock cut him short, “Maybe if you taught us something interesting, we would listen.”

The teacher gasped at him, too shocked to reply, and Sherlock continued.

“You’ve been thinking about leaving this school anyway, the history teacher is refusing to leave his wife for you, so why would you care if John and I are in the same class next year.”

“How dare y-”

“Besides, we all read this book twice already, the english school system apparently relies on the same references again and again.”

“That’s it, out of my class!”

“But miss,” John intervened.

“Both of you!”

Just as they were about to stand up, Sherlock more than happy to be thrown out of class, the bell resonated in the class and all the students were packing up their stuff.

“The headmaster will hear about this,” she said, her cheeks red with anger, “trust me.”

Sherlock was about to reply again but John took him by the arm and pulled him with him. They were out of the class in less than two seconds, Sherlock trying to keep up with John’s pace.

“Wait,” he complained, but John didn’t stop until they were in the hallway, far from the class.

“She could have murdered you, I swear,” John laughed, “Did you see her face?”

Sherlock smiled, “She shouldn’t have threatened to get us separated next year.”

“There’s a good chance we will be anyway,” John said.

“Not if I can prevent it!”

John laughed again and Sherlock joined him, “And how are going to doth-”

“Hey freak!”

They both jumped with surprise and Sherlock turned to face a group of boys from their class, all looking at him with wide grins.

“How did you know about Miss Trolley and Mr. Wigs? Are you a pervert, spying on them?”

Another boy laughed, “I bet he is, have you seen him?”

“Take that back,” John growled next to him.

“Or what, Watson?”

“How bad do you want to find out?”

John stepped forward, the other boys eyeing him for a moment before laughing again. Sherlock wanted to hold John back, to tell him they weren’t worth it, and they definitely didn’t deserve any attention, but before he could say anything, they were walking away. Their laughter echoed in the hallway for another minute before fading off, John turning to face Sherlock again.

“Assholes.”

Sherlock smiled, picking up his bag. Sometimes, he wondered what he ever did to have John as a friend.

 

~ ~

Six years ago.

Sherlock is 11, John is 12.

“Bathroom’s free boys!”

“Thanks mom!” John turned to face him, “You have everything you need?”

“Yes,” Sherlock smiled, holding up his pajamas and toothbrush.

“Let’s get ready quickly so we can watch TV a bit more!”

John hurried to the bathroom, Sherlock following him. It’d been month since he last slept at John’s place, his father being home quite a lot lately, and he had missed this. John’s small but warm room, his rugby poster on the walls and the small telly in front of his bed. It all felt so familiar.

“Hurry,” John said, and Sherlock quickly changed into his bedclothes.

They were back into John’s bed in less than five minutes, and John was already putting a DVD on when Harry opened the door. She eyed them with a small smile on her lips, before leaning against the doorframe.

“Aren’t you two a bit old to still share a bed?”

Sherlock frowned at her, ready to reply, but John was already shoving her out of his room, “Fuck off, Harry.”

“Oh, langage little brother!” She laughed before John closed the door.

“I hate her sometimes!”

“I know what you mean,” Sherlock replied.

“Mycroft is still a jerk?” John smiled, crawling back into bed and settling next to him under the covers.

“When isn’t he?”

John laughed, pressing play and Sherlock settled more comfortably against the bedframe. He liked these movie nights, with John’s warm body next to him and his constant remarks about the film. Sherlock didn’t care much about the plot, or the actors, but he listened carefully to whatever John said. But tonight, Harry’s words were playing over and over in his head.

“Sherlock, you’re not paying any attention,” John said, forcing Sherlock out of his thoughts.

“I am,” he lied, trying to remember some details about the story to prove it.

“It’s about what Harry said?”

Sherlock nodded, not looking at him but John paused the movie, turning to face him, and Sherlock sighed. He had no idea what friends were supposed to do. He only had John, and they had always shared a bed, even when they slept at Sherlock’s home, despite the secondary bedroom. Sherlock liked to sleep in the same bed as John, he could catalogue his breathing pattern and the way his eyes moved behind his eyelids when he dreamed. He already had a lot of data, and every time they spent a night together, Sherlock learned some more.

“Don’t listen to her, she’s just jealous because mom doesn’t let her invite friends over!”

“Because of the drinking?”

John frowned, “How do you know that? We only found out a few days ago.”

Sherlock looked down at his hands, not sure if he should expend on the subject.

“Never mind,” John said, “She’s just stupid and I don’t care what she thinks.”

“But wasn’t she right,” Sherlock asked, still not looking at him, “isn’t it weird, at our age?”

John laughed again, “I don’t care if that’s weird. I like it.”

Sherlock smiled, glancing at him.

“I like it too.”

“So, that means you’ll be paying attention to the movie now?”

“Until I’ve deduced the end, yes.”

John’s laugher filled the room again and Sherlock found himself hoping they’d never have to sleep in separate beds.

 

~ ~

Five years ago.

Sherlock is 12, John is 13.

Sherlock let the music invade him, let his body move around the stage without thinking about anything else. Not the other dancers, not the lights, not the audience. This moment was his, and his only. At this very instant, he was himself. He was whoever he wanted to be, and nothing could touch him.

The music began to face, the dancers around him taking position, and soon he was the only one still dancing.

Plié. Echapé. Arabesque.

Stop.

Sherlock closed his eyes, silence falling up him, and soon the applause. A thunder of applause, and Sherlock took the time to breathe in slowly, to come back to reality before opening his eyes again. The other dancers were gathering at the center of the stage around him, and Sherlock bowed to the audience with them.

The first moments after a show were usually a complete blur for him, people talking too loud and his heart beating too fast, so Sherlock made his way backstage quickly to get changed. John had come to see him tonight, after weeks of talking about it, he had finally come to see him, and Sherlock couldn’t wait to know if he’d liked it. Sherlock knew ballet wasn’t a popular choice among the other boys at school, but Sherlock had discovered ballet for the first time at age four and had made it his passion ever since. He loved dancing, loved the grace and the trance he felt when he was on stage. Nothing compared to this.

“Great performance, Sherlock”, his teacher smiled, “As always.”

“Thank you, miss.”

“For next year, I’m building a dance around you, you’ll be my inspiration.”

Sherlock smiled, a genuine smile usually reserved for John. He liked Miss Pratt. She wasn’t like any of the other teachers, and she seemed to understand Sherlock’s passion in a way no one else did.

“Congratulations again,” she said before heading to the girl’s changing room.

Sherlock gathered his things, ready to meet John outside when he heard it.

“Sherlock! That was amazing!”

John came running toward him, a huge grin on his face and what seemed to be a bouquet of roses in his hands.

“John!”

“I managed to convince the teachers to let me in,” he explained, out of breath.

“Of course you did,” Sherlock smiled, “So, you liked it?”

“Are you kidding, I loved it! You were awesome!”

Sherlock felt himself blush and he pretended to pick up his coat to regain some composure. John still had the bouquet in his hands, and Sherlock couldn’t help but glance at it again.

“Oh yes,” John said, holding it out to him, “Mum said that was the proper thing to do.”

Sherlock took the flowers, eyes fixed on them as he murmured, “Thank you.”

They remained silent for a moment, Sherlock still unable to look away from the roses, and John swaying on his feet. It was ridiculous, really, but Sherlock had never gotten flowers before, and he knew what it usually meant.

“Actually,” John began, “Mum said you could come have dinner at the house, if you want.”

“Oh, my parents are taking me to a restaurant,” Sherlock explained, adding quickly, “But I’m sure they’d be fine with you coming with us!”

“Really?”

“Yes, come on!”

Sherlock’s mother hugged John for a long moment when she saw the flowers, and spent the entire diner saying how nice it was for him to have bought them. Sherlock spent half of diner trying to hide his blushing cheeks and the other half laughing at John’s jokes and comments about the students in their class.

When later his mother brought him a vase for his flowers and Sherlock watched them from his bed as he tried to fall asleep, a familiar warmth spreading throughout his entire chest, Sherlock imagined John giving him flowers again. And not to congratulate him on his performance.

 

~ ~

Now.

John cleared his throat, glancing at him and Sherlock tried not to look down again.

“I didn’t think you’d still be here.”

“I was about to leave when Molly found me,” Sherlock explained, happy to change the conversation, “And then she and Irene somehow convinced me to get into this closet.”

“Oh,” John laughed, a nervous laugh, “Irene and Molly convinced you.”

Sherlock frowned, “Yes, why?”

“Nothing,” John replied, “How long do we still need to stay here?”

Sherlock felt a knot forming in his stomach, replying harshly, “Don’t worry, you’ll be out of here soon.”

John turned to face him, too quickly and almost falling on top of him, as he said, “No, no, it’s not that.”

John was suddenly not looking at him anymore, and Sherlock was beginning to wonder what was happening to him.

“John, are you alright?”

“Listen, I didn’t-” he stopped, rubbing his hand against his nape, as he always did when he was looking for the right words, “I didn’t plan to do it like this, but-”

“What?”

John laughed again, the same nervousness in his voice, “There’s something I wanted to ask you.”

 

~ ~

Four years ago.

Sherlock is 13, John is 14.

Three small knocks against his window made Sherlock jump on his bed, the book in his hands falling on the mattress as he rushed to open it.

“John?”

John climbed inside his room, “It was easier to climb up here when I was smaller!”

Sherlock ignored his remark, noticing the redness around his eyes and his tense shoulders, “What happened?”

“My father came home two days ago,” John simply explained, “Doesn’t seem like he’s planning to leave for a while.”

Sherlock felt the familiar tremor of anger fill him, “What has he done to you?”

“Nothing, don’t worry.”

Sherlock was about to insist but John looked directly at him, a silent plea in his eyes, and Sherlock promised himself he’d find out some other way.

“You can stay here as long as you want,” he said instead, “I’m sure mummy wouldn’t mind.”

“Thanks.”

They remained silent for a moment, standing in the middle of Sherlock’s bedroom. Sherlock could still see the tension in John’s body, his hands clenched into fists.

“We could go out in the garden,” Sherlock suggested, “You did promise to teach me about astronomy.”

John laughed, a genuine laugh that warmed up Sherlock’s chest.

“I did, yes.”

They were out in the garden in less than five minutes, Sherlock carrying a warm blanket with him. They’d done this once before, lying down in the grass instead, and John had pointed out how wet their clothes would be afterward, and Sherlock had promised himself the next time would be perfect. He had loved it, watching the night sky with John and listening to him talk about random things, sometimes opening up about his situation at home, and Sherlock knew this was the only way John could feel comfortable enough to really talk.

John took the blanket from him, placing it on the grass before lying down. Sherlock shed his shoes and settled quickly next to him. A shiver ran through him as he got used to the fresh air, and John shifted a bit closer, their arms brushing.

“We’re lucky,” John whispered, “There isn’t a single cloud tonight.”

Sherlock hummed, remembering to watch the sky instead of John’s face.

“See the stars there,” John asked, pointing to the sky, “There are three of them, really close, if you look closely…”

Sherlock listened absently, John’s voice a soft murmur in the quiet night, but he couldn’t stop wondering what happened to John for him to come here tonight. Sherlock was worried, no, more than worried, every time John’s father was in town, but tried not to let it show. John didn’t like it, didn’t like when Sherlock deduced things about his father.

“And then, there’s…” John continued, oblivious to Sherlock’s thoughts.

Sherlock turned his head to watch him, the soft curve of his nose, his eyelids closing regularly, his lips moving slowly. Sherlock knew about attraction. Students from his class talked about getting a girlfriend or a boyfriend all the time, and despite being one year younger than all of them, Sherlock understood exactly what they meant. Sometimes, late at night, Sherlock thought of walking hand in hand with John. It was ridiculous, and Sherlock knew it, but those nights, he fell asleep with a warmth spreading throughout his entire chest.

“You’re not paying attention to the stars at all, Sherlock.”

Sherlock looked back up quickly, feeling his cheeks heating, “I am.”

“I know what you want to talk about,” John sighed, and Sherlock felt his stare on him, “but not tonight.”

“I just want to be sure you’re alright.”

“I am, I swear.”

Sherlock could hear the small smile in John’s voice.

“Sometimes, I wish I could just live here, with you,” John said after a moment and Sherlock looked back at him.

They stared at each other for several seconds, before Sherlock finally whispered, “One day, I promise, we will live together.”

John’s smile widened, and Sherlock swore to himself he would find a way to keep John safe.

 

~ ~

Three years ago.

Sherlock is 14. John is 15.

Sherlock was just about to sit down when he noticed the girl sitting next to John. Blond, short hair, petite, wearing an overused dress and her hand resting on John’s forearm. Sherlock felt a knot form in his stomach.

“Sherlock!” John smiled, waiting for him to sit down before saying, “I was wondering if we could go to your place after school to study for the chemistry test tomorrow?”

Sherlock didn’t reply, eyes fixed on the girl’s hand.

“Sherlock?”

Sherlock knew there had been something wrong with John lately. Well, not wrong, but off. John had cancelled two of their meetings, eaten outside of school three times and sent less texts than usual. Sherlock had waited for him to say something, to explain what was happening, but really, Sherlock should have figured it out sooner. It was obvious.

“Oh, yes,” John finally said when Sherlock glanced back at him, “This is Johanna.”

John didn’t need to say more, and Sherlock looked down at his plate.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Sherlock!” Johanna said, “John talks about you all the time!”

“No, I don’t,” John defended himself, but his eyes didn’t meet Sherlock’s.

“You do, and I think that’s cute,” Johanna smiled, leaning towards him, “It’s rare to have such a close friendship with someone!”

She kissed John’s cheek softly and Sherlock considered leaving the table.

“It’s too bad you’re not in the same class this year, though,” Johanna continued.

“Yeah,” John sighed, but Sherlock wasn’t listening anymore.

Johanna was one year older than John, but it was clear that she was used to dating younger boys, as long as they improved her reputation. Of course dating John, the new captain of the High School Rugby team was going to make people talk about them, about her, all the time. She loved being the center of attention. Sherlock let his eyes travel over her face, clothes and attitude quickly. She had cheated on two of her boyfriends before and spent hours in front her mirror trying to decide what she should wear every morning. Sherlock couldn’t help but wonder had went through John’s head.

He was about to open his mouth, ready to put her back in her place, when he caught John’s pleading eyes. Sherlock rolled his eyes, stood up and left the table without another word.

“What’s his problem?” He heard Johanna ask but was out of the cafeteria before John could reply.

It took John ten minutes to find him, and Sherlock was ready then. Ready to lie.

“Sherlock, what happened?”

John sat in front of him on the stairs, “Why did you leave like that?”

“I wasn’t hungry,” Sherlock replied.

“Was it because of Johanna?” John asked. “I wanted to tell you about her, but I forgot.”

Sherlock didn’t pick up on his lie.

“It wasn’t about her.”

John remained silent, then said, “Thank you for not deducing her back there.”

Sherlock bit down on his tongue, the words threatening to spill out. He should tell John, should save him the bad surprise to find his girlfriend snogging another boy in less than two weeks at most. But there was a cold anger in his chest, and Sherlock found himself hoping John would get hurt enough he would never date a girl again.

“Are we still on for later?” John asked, the worry clear in his voice and Sherlock cursed himself for acting like an idiot.

“Of course,” he replied, looking up at him.

John smiled, “Great, I really need your help if I want to pass this class. The teacher is a complete wanker! You’d never guess what he did last time!”

Sherlock listened to John’s story, unable to hide his smile and laugh as John began to imitate his teacher. By the time the bell rang, Sherlock promised himself he’d tell John about Johanna tonight.

 

~ ~

Two years ago.

Sherlock is 15. John is 16.

Sherlock hurried to turn off the light, slipping under the covers and closing his eyes immediately. He needed to concentrate, needed to focus on something else but John’s body, covered in sweat, the muscles of his arms working slowly as he waved at him from the field.

“No, stop,” Sherlock whispered the to the darkness.

He forced himself to keep his hands clasped together, on top of the covers.

Sherlock’s penis was currently erect, fully erect even, and the aching need to touch himself was making it impossible to think. Sherlock had felt his body starting to show signs of arousal the moment John had entered the field and started shouting orders to his teammates, and Sherlock had cursed himself for not bringing his coat.

This had been happening more and more the past few months, as if Sherlock’s body had suddenly decided to act on its own volition, and Sherlock had until now managed to keep it under control. But the image of John in his rugby shorts, smiling up at him, his chest rising quickly and his eyes shining came back to Sherlock and a whimper escaped his lips.

He had never touched himself before. He had heard boys talk about it, listened to their dirty jokes and wet dreams during class, and barely held back sharp remarks about their obvious stupidity. But now that he was here, his body craving to be touched, Sherlock couldn't help but wonder if he couldn't just give in and take himself in hand, ending this once and for all.

Sherlock rolled to his back, one hand slipping under the covers and coming to rest just above the waistband of his pyjama bottoms. He closed his eyes, breathing in deeply, before pushing his hand under it.

“Oh,” he gasped when his fingers brushed the head of his cock.
He slid them lower until he could close his hand around the base of his erection. He could already feel heat pooling in his abdomen, his legs spreading wider as he bit his lower lip. Slowly, Sherlock stroked himself from base to tip, another whimper echoing in his room. Sherlock felt as if his entire body was shaking, his skin burning under the covers and he pushed them away quickly.

He stared down at his hand inside his pants and threw his head back as he began to stroke himself faster. John’s voice was filing his head, images of his body, the memory of his hands on Sherlock.

“Hmm,” Sherlock moaned.

He wasn't breathing properly anymore, his toes curling, and Sherlock felt something building inside him, taking all the air out of him. His thumbs brushed the head of his cock and Sherlock’s entire body arched off the bed, repeating the caress again and again. The feeling of John’s panting breath against his neck after they had run all over the school to escape a teacher came back to him, and Sherlock’s body went completely still as he came, hot semen landing all over his hand, a wet patch appearing on the front of his pants.

Sherlock fell asleep before he could even think of cleaning himself, a strange weight in his chest.

 

~ ~

Now.

Sherlock frowned, “Ask me something?”

John nodded, taking a deep breath before saying, “Since it’s our last month here, in high school I mean, but you know that, of course.”

He was rambling, Sherlock noticed, trying to gain time. He was nervous, but that much had been obvious since he had walked inside this closet, and Sherlock’s curiosity was piqued.

“Yes, I know,” he said, smiling.

John laughed, “Yes, yes. Well, since we’re going to different Uni, but not that far from each other, I was wondering if maybe-”

He stopped, his eyes not meeting Sherlock’s again.

“Remember when you said we’d live together and all that?” John asked, Sherlock getting even more lost.

“Yes,” he replied carefully.

“Well, I thought we could, I don’t know, take a flat together next year.” He paused. “If you still want to, of course.”

Sherlock blinked at him, images of John and himself sharing an apartment. Of course he wanted it, he had dreamed about living with John since he was a child, but images of random girlfriends coming over, of nights spent awake wondering where John was, what he was doing, who he was with, flashed before Sherlock’s eyes and he looked down at his hands. He couldn’t live with John. Not like this.

“John, I’m not sure-”

“Yes,” John cut him off, “It’s alright, forget about it. It was stupid to ask anyway.”

Another silence fell upon them, and Sherlock dared to look up at John again, and what he saw made his chest ache.

“John, I should explain,” he began, hating the hurt he could discern in John’s eyes.

“Don’t worry, we were just kids, I get it.”

“No, it’s not that. You see-”

Sherlock took a deep breath. He had been wanting to tell John anyway, on their last day at High School. Sherlock had been keeping this to himself for too long, and he wasn’t sure he could go on like this any longer. At least, if John pushed him away, they could use the fact they were no longer going to see each other everyday as an excuse.

“I don’t want us to just live together,” Sherlock declared, holding John’s stare, “I want us to be together.”

 

~ ~

One year earlier.

Sherlock is 16. John is 17.

The game had been great, like always. It had taken some time for Sherlock to actually learn to like John’s games, to enjoy coming both to see him and to support his team, and he couldn’t help but smile as he recalled the cheering crowd as the school team won. John had ran all over the field, his teammates yelling, laughing, hugging each other and Sherlock had felt as if he would never belong to this part of John’s life.

He was just leaving the rugby game when he heard John’s voice behind him. He was still wearing his shorts and his skin was glowing with sweat, but Sherlock had now learned to control his own reactions when it came to John.

“Sherlock, wait!”

Sherlock smiled, “It was a great game!”

“Thank you,” John smiled back, “and I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your ballet recital earlier, the coach wanted us to practice.”

“It’s alright John, don’t worry.”

John shook his head, “No, I was looking forward to seeing you,” he winked at him as he added, “I even planned on buying flowers!”

Sherlock forced himself to not look away, feeling his heart beat a little faster. John seemed to flirt with him all he time now, and it was making Sherlock’s head spin most of the time.

“Next time,” Sherlock offered, and John laughed.

“Yes, for sure!”

Someone called his name behind them, and John waved at his teammates, “We’re going to a party to celebrate, do you want to come?”

“No, I’m tired, I think I’ll just finish our experiment and then go to bed early.”

“Oh, the experiment, I completely forgot about it!” John exclaimed, “Can you wait until I get changed and we’ll go together?”

“You don’t have to, I can finish it on my own,” Sherlock replied but John was already walking away.

“No way, you’ll find a way to get hurt! I’ll be quick!”

Sherlock watched him until he disappeared inside the locker room and he sat down on one of the benches, sighing. It was getting harder and harder to talk with John, or even just be with him, and continue to hide how he was feeling. Sherlock had come to terms with the simple, and really, obvious fact that he was in love with his best friend almost a year ago, and ever since, it had been hell to keep it hidden. More than once Sherlock had almost given in and told him, made John understand that they could be great together, that they were already practically dating, but Sherlock had held his tongue. He couldn’t risk their friendship. He prefered to have John next to him as his best friend than nothing at all.

“I’m ready!”

Sherlock jumped with surprise and John laughed, “Getting lost in there already?”

He poked at Sherlock’s forehead with his finger and Sherlock rolled his eyes.

John laughed again, “Let’s go?”

“Yes.”

They headed to Sherlock’s house, walking slowly and Sherlock couldn’t help but wonder how John would react if he’d just took his hand.

 

~ ~

Four months earlier.

Sherlock is 17. John is 18.

Victor leaned in closer, his shoulder brushing Sherlock’s as they both looked down at the book in Sherlock’s hands.

“See,” Sherlock said, “I told you we should have used the white ones!”

Victor laughed, his breath caressing Sherlock’s skin, “I was certain red roses were perfect for this experiment, they’re the most common ones after all!”

Sherlock sighed, “We’ll just have to do it all over again, are you free later?”

“I thought we were seeing each other after school?”

Sherlock looked up at John, “Sorry, John, maybe you can come by after?”

John nodded, “Right.”

Victor pulled away slightly, taking the book from Sherlock’s hands, “If you’re not too tired,” he said, “I intend to make you work hard!”

Sherlock repressed a sigh at the bad flirting, letting Victor close the book and put it aside. Sherlock had had to find a partner for one of his classes, and Victor had asked him right away if they could pair up. Of course, Sherlock had deduced his obvious attraction to him, and for the sake of a good grade, had agreed to put up with his constant flirting and casual touches.

“Right, I’m off to meet Mr. Hughes, he gave me a bad grade on our history test and I’m trying to get him to give me extra work!” Victor said as he stood up, “I’ll see you in class, Sherlock.”

Sherlock hummed, not bothering to look up at him.

“That guy is an idiot,” John said once he was gone.

Sherlock smiled, “He’s actually quite good in physics.”

John opened his mouth to reply but closed it quickly. They both remained silent for a long moment.

“Besides, he’s helping me on one of my experiments,” Sherlock added, wanting to tell John about it for days now, “I’m trying to find out which-”

“You’re doing an experiment with him?” John asked, his voice lower than usual.

Sherlock frowned, “Yes, I talked to him about it and he said he could help.”

“Why didn’t you ask me to help?”

“He asked me before I could talk to you about it?”

John snorted, “Of course he did. And how long have you two worked on this experiment?”

“One week.”

“And you’re only now telling me about it?” John asked and Sherlock could swear he was getting angry.

“I was busy with-”

“Let me guess, with Victor!” John snapped and Sherlock stood up.

“What’s the matter with you?” He asked, not liking the way John was looking at him, almost disappointed.

“The matter is that my best friend has forgotten to tell me about his experiment because he was too busy hanging out with his stupid friend!”

Sherlock replied before he could think twice about it, a too familiar ache in his chest, “Better get used to it since we won’t see each other that much next year.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” John asked.

“High School is almost over, John, and let’s face it, going to separate Uni is going to affect our friendship. You’ll find new friends, we’ll have less free time, it’s inevitable.”

John gasped at him, “That’s ridiculous.”

“No, that’s rational thinking.”

Sherlock began to walk away, afraid of what he might say if they continued to argue like this. It had been harder and harder to think of going to Uni on his own, to realise he won’t see John everyday anymore, that they won’t spend hours at each other’s places, and Sherlock had almost told him, almost admitted his feelings so that John could understand that he needed him, with him, always.

“Sherlock, wait!”

But Sherlock was already turning down the hallway, trying desperately not to run back to him.

 

~ ~

Now.

John stared at him for a long moment, and it seemed as if both of them had stopped breathing entirely. Sherlock felt the knot in his stomach tighten, watching out for any reactions from John. He shouldn’t have said anything, this was stupid of him, so very stu-

“Be together?” John asked and the door flew open, startling them both.

“What?” Irene exclaimed, “No kissing?”

Sherlock pushed her out of the way quickly, refusing to even glance at John before walking out of the closet, out of the room, out of the house. He needed air, needed to think, to realise what he had just done. Students were still yelling and fighting outside but Sherlock passed by them, practically running, and only stopped when he was in the empty street.

He was just about to head for home when he heard John’s voice behind, “Sherlock, wait for me!”

“Leave me alone,” Sherlock called back, not turning around.

“No,” John said, much closer this time, and Sherlock walked faster, “Sherlock, wait!”

Sherlock was about to tell him to go away again when he felt John’s hand closing around his wrist and spinning him around. His cheeks were red and his breath short. He had run to find him.

“What do you mean by “be together”?” John asked, keeping his eyes fixed on him.

“John, please let me go,” Sherlock murmured, feeling suddenly very tired.

“I can’t,” John replied, stepping closer, “I won’t.”

Sherlock sighed, “What do you want me to say, John? Yes, I want us to be together. I want to be yours and you to be mine. I want to be the person you think about constantly, the one you dream about, the one you long to kiss and hold and fall asleep with. I want to be part of your life, for the long term, the very long term. I want to be the one you’ll call “love” when we are seventy years old and too old to even remember how many years we’ve been together. I want to kiss you, right now, and forget about the years I spent wondering how it would feel to have your lips against mine, and realising I would never know. Tell me, John, is that what you want me to say?”

John remained still in front of him and Sherlock let out a broken laugh, “Just let me go.”

But John’s grip on his wrist tightened, his entire body coming alive again as he took another step toward him, their chests practically touching now and Sherlock held his breath.

“John…”

“I’ve been thinking about your lips on mine for a very long time, Sherlock Holmes,” John whispered, “I’ve been thinking about your lips, about your hands, about your heart, and wishing they could be mine, and mine only, for a very, very long time.”

The world went quiet as John’s words echoed in Sherlock’s head. He wondered for a second if this was real, but John’s hand was warm against his skin, and his breath soft against his face, and Sherlock felt as if he could either cry or burst into laughter.

“John,” he said again, his voice shaking.

John leaned closer, the fingers on Sherlock’s wrist now caressing his skin slowly, and Sherlock let out a shaky breath. He felt John’s free hand come to rest on his nape, pulling him closer until their foreheads were touching, and he closed his eyes for the briefest second, too afraid to let the moment slip away. They stared into each other eyes for a long moment, breathing against each other mouths, and Sherlock felt his heart miss a beat.

“Can I kiss you?” John murmured, his fingers playing with Sherlock’s curls.

“Yes, please,” Sherlock breathed, “please.”

John’s lips were soft, so very soft, as he pressed their mouths together. Sherlock catalogued the feeling right away, head spinning as John pulled away, catching his lower lip between his own, teasing. Sherlock held on to John’s vest, fingers grasped on the fabric, and John sealed their lips again. John kept kissing him slowly, mere brushes of lips before licking at Sherlock’s upper lip, tongue teasing until Sherlock parted his own, letting him in. Sherlock’s knees buckled as John deepened the kiss, licking into his mouth, their tongues meeting over and over again, and Sherlock wondered when it had become so natural to be kissed by John Watson.

Sherlock could have sworn they’d been kissing for hours when John pulled back, both of them remembering to breathe again.

“We should go before anyone comes out and finds us here,” John whispered against his lips, their bodies still pressed together.

“Yes, right,” Sherlock replied, slowly realising what was happening, “We could, that’s if you want to of course, we could go to my house, my parents are out of town for the weekend so we won’t be disturbed but we really don’t hav-”

John kissed him again and Sherlock lost track of whatever he was trying to say.

“I want to,” John smiled, “I really want to.”

Sherlock smiled back, shyly, eyes fixed on John’s lips, the need to kiss him again keeping him from thinking properly. John laughed, a bright sound making the warmth in Sherlock’s chest expand to his entire body, and he felt John lace their fingers together. He kissed him again, chastely, and Sherlock couldn’t manage to hold back a whine as he pulled away again.

“Come on,” John said, “If we walk fast, we can be at your place in less than ten minutes.”

Sherlock laughed, already heading towards the main street, holding on to John’s hand tightly, “I’m sure we can do it in eight minutes.”

John laughed again, squeezing his hand, and soon they were both running. Sherlock’s lungs were burning, his legs aching, but he wouldn’t have stopped for anything in the world. Not when John was laughing next to him, not when he was pushing him into dark alleys to ravish his mouth again, not when the warmth of his hand was heating Sherlock’s entire body.

“I blame you for the extra four minutes,” Sherlock smiled as they arrived at his home, John pushing him against the front door.

“I accept the blame,” he replied, already capturing Sherlock’s lips again.

Sherlock tried to reach for his keys inside his pocket, desperate to get inside, but John’s lips were descending down his jaw and neck, and Sherlock threw his head back against the door. Sherlock could feel all the blood from his body rushing down to his groin. How many times had he fantasised about John’s lips on him, about John’s body against his?

“John, we need-”

“Yes,” John said between kisses, “yes, sorry.”

“My keys, I can’t-”

John didn’t let him finish, taking the keys from his pocket and opening the door quickly, pushing him in before slamming it behind them. Sherlock didn’t bother to turn on the light, heading directly for the stairs and John followed behind, neither of them stopping until they were inside Sherlock’s bedroom.

John’s kisses were slower when their mouths met again, the mood changing as they both seemed to realise what was going to happen. Sherlock could already feel the first sign of stress build in him, his body tensing as the back of his knees hit the bed, but John didn’t push him, keeping them both standing as he continued to kiss him. Sherlock let his hand travel down John’s back, tentatively sliding up his nape and inside his hair, pressing their mouths more firmly against one another’s. When John’s fingers slipped under his the collar of his vest, slowly sliding it down his arms, Sherlock felt nothing but comfortable ease at the gentle touch, and he removed John’s own vest quickly, fingers tugging at his shirt immediately.

John smiled against his lips, pulling away to remove his shirt and Sherlock found himself speechless. He couldn’t exactly say how many times he had imagined touching John’s bare skin, and the fact that his naked chest was just centimeters away now made Sherlock’s breath catch in his throat.

“Why don’t we lie down?” John whispered and Sherlock could only nod.

John chuckled softly, pushing Sherlock down on the bed and crawling on top of him at the same time. Sherlock stared up at him, scooting up the bed until his head was on his pillow and he shivered again when he felt John’s fingers against his skin as he removed his shirt. He lowered himself on top of Sherlock as soon as the piece of clothing was out of the way, and they both let out a moan, kissing again.

Sherlock spread his legs so John could settle between them, and the first touch of their groins made him arch on the bed. He had dreamed about sex with John so many times, had dared to fantasize about how it would feel to have John on top of him, that Sherlock was afraid he would wake up any moment now.

“Hey,” John whispered, “Stay with me.”

Sherlock felt himself blush, “Sorry.”

John kissed his lips softly, “Are you alright? I need you to tell me if you want to stop.”

“No, no”, Sherlock hurried to reply, “this is perfect.”

John smiled, “Yes, it is.”

Sherlock felt his chest expand, and reclaimed John’s lips, kissing him for several minutes. He wanted this, wanted John on top of him, all over him, inside him. He had wanted it for too long to be held back by stupid anticipation.

“Sherlock, you’re tensing up again,” John murmured, “talk to me, please.”

Sherlock looked away, eyes fixed on John’s hand on the mattress, “It’s just that I’ve- I’ve never done… this.”

John forced him to look back at him, fingers pulling at his chin as he asked, “Not even with Victor?”

Sherlock frowned, “Victor?”

“You two seemed, well, close lately,” John said, eyes dark.

“Oh,” Sherlock breathed, “You were jealous.”

“Of course I bloody was,” John growled, “You were spending evenings together in your room, alone!”

“To work, John.” Sherlock kissed him, smiling, “Only to work, never anything else. Never.”

“I thought-”

“There is only one person I ever wanted to do this with,” Sherlock breathed against his lips, “Only one, and he’s here with me, right now.”

John growled again, crashing their mouths together, and Sherlock poured all of his love inside their kiss. He needed John to know, to understand that it was only ever him since the beginning, that it would never be anyone else.

“We don’t have to do anything tonight,” John said when they parted.

“No, I’ve wanted this for too long to hold back any longer,” Sherlock replied, wrapping one leg around John’s waist, “I want you, tonight.”

John stared down at him, something like adoration in his eyes, and Sherlock blushed again as he realised what he just said.

“I mean-”

“I know exactly what you mean,” John said, “I love you.”

Sherlock's eyes fluttered closed, the words echoing both in the room and inside his head. He looked back at John quickly, desperate to read them on his face.

“I love you,” John repeated, kissing his nose, cheeks and lips. “I love you.”

“John,” Sherlock gasped, “John, I love you too.”

John was kissing him again, swallowing down the words, and Sherlock arched against him. He needed more, needed to feel John on him, around him. He slid his hands down John’s back and on his arse, pressing them closer together, feeling John’s erection against his own. Sherlock whimpered inside their kiss, the friction against his cock already feeling like too much.

“Like this for now,” John whispered as he rocked their hips together and Sherlock bit down on his lip, “ok?”

Sherlock nodded, thrusting up to meet John’s movements.

“Can we-” he inhaled sharply as their erections brushed directly together.

“Less clothes?” John guessed and Sherlock could only nod again. “Yes, fuck, yes.”

Sherlock moaned, the sound deep and low in his throat, at John’s curse. He wanted to make him lose control, lose his mind, his speech.

“I just need to-” John stopped, one hand unwrapping Sherlock’s leg from around his waist and Sherlock reluctantly let go of him.

They made a quick work of their trousers and pants, Sherlock staring at John’s erection for several seconds, the urge to touch overwhelming, but then John was lowering himself on top of him again and Sherlock lost track of anything else but the feeling of their cocks sliding together.

“John, John.”

John threaded his fingers through his curls and began to rock back against him. Sherlock’s leg wound around his waist quickly, fingers digging into John’s back.

“Do you have any lube,” John panted against his lips and Sherlock reached for his nightstand, “Let me.”

John found the bottle quickly and poured some on his hand, sliding it down their stomachs and Sherlock cried out loudly as John’s hand closed around his erection. John smeared lube all over him before doing to same to his own cock. The moment he was thrusting against him again, Sherlock lost the ability to think entirely. He held on to John as much as he could, thighs shaking and moans dying inside their kisses. He could feel the tremor in John’s cock against his, feel it grow harder as they increased their pace.

“John, hmm.”

“Yes, like this, perfect,” John panted, “You’re perfect, yes, yes.”

Sherlock arched on the bed, pressing them even closer together, “Oh god, John, I’m-”

John groaned, capturing his mouth and kissing him deeply as Sherlock came between their bodies, his entire body shivering, heart pounding in his ears. He could only feel John, thrusting faster, moaning inside his mouth, and going completely still as his own orgasm overtook him. Sherlock refused to let go, not yet, and held on to John tightly.

“I love you,” he murmured, “I can’t remember not loving you.”

He felt John smile against his skin, his head buried in his neck, “Does that mean you’ll move in with me?”

Sherlock burst out in laughter. He was too hot, too sticky, and his heart was definitely beating too fast, but he couldn’t care less.

“Yes,” he smiled, “Yes.”

 

~ ~

One year later.

Sherlock is 18. John is 19.

“Hey freak,” a too familiar voice called and Sherlock repressed a sigh, “what you said about my girlfriend during class, take it back, now!”

“Sebastian,” Sherlock replied, not bothering to look at him, “Your girlfriend has been cheating on you with at least three different men, get over it.”

“Take it back!”

Sherlock put his phone back inside his pocket, glancing at him, “And what would it change? She’ll still be cheating on you.”

“I’m going to demolish you,” Sebastian threatened, stepping closer.

“Please, be my guest!”

Sherlock stood still, knowing Sebastian would never dare to engage in a fight, too afraid of what it might cause to his precious reputation. Some of his friends encouraged him, and Sherlock found himself missing John more than ever. At least, if they’d been together, they could have laughed about the stupidity of the situation.

“You’re not even worth it,” Sebastian spat out, “Just go back to your lonely little life!”

“Yeah,” one of his friends laughed, “You freak!”

They all burst into laughter, and Sherlock felt like he was back in middle school again. He didn’t give them the pleasure of a reply, walking away without another word or glance. He sometimes hated this, this place, these classes, these students, and wished he could just quit and find something interesting to do. But every time he got home and John greeted him with a warm smile and soft kisses, asking him how his day was, Sherlock forgot about the imbeciles in his class.

“Hey gorgeous!”

Sherlock jumped with surprise as two arms circled his waist, soft lips kissed his nape, and he turned around to kiss John properly.

“Finished early,” Sherlock said once they parted.

“Thought I could surprise you,” John smiled, “take you out for lunch.”

“Lunch?” Sherlock smiled, the memory of Sebastian and his friends fading away.

“I have a surprise for you” John replied, lacing their fingers together.

“What?”

“Can’t say,” John grinned, kissing him one last time. “Come on, this way!”

Sherlock spent the entire lunch trying to deduce John’s surprise, but nothing could have prepared him to the five beehives waiting for them in some old man’s garden (“friend of mine” John said) and the bees flying all around them.

“I realised you never managed to actually see if you could domesticate a bee,” John explained, a warm smile on his lips, “Time to test your theory, don’t you think?”

Sherlock nodded, pulling John to him and kissed him, not sure he would ever be able to let go.