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Mine

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After a walk through the chilly, London night, Dr. John Watson got home late from the clinic and found 221B … empty. Having lived there for a month, he’d grown accustomed to finding his moody flat mate sprawled on the couch, moping. Not only accustomed, John realized, but fond.

Where was Sherlock?

Avoiding a moldy set of human ears, John found some leftover Chinese in the fridge. He took a few half-hearted bites, but the sound of his chewing seemed oppressive in the silence of their flat. That’s how he thought of 221B, as theirs. He put the food away and opted for tea instead.

He stood in their dirty kitchen and noticed it smelled vaguely of formaldehyde, while he waited for the kettle to boil. Once it did, he poured steaming water into his Army mug. John was relieved to hear the front door open. Ever since coming back from Afghanistan, he didn’t care much for being alone.

He said his name softly: “Sherlock?”

When there was no response, John stepped around the corner from the kitchen to the living room and froze. Sherlock was indeed home, but he wasn’t alone. In fact, he was pressed up against the closed front door being snogged senseless by someone in a long trench coat with gray hair.

Sherlock’s head leaned back when the gray-haired man moved to his throat and starting mumbling words … “Bloody brilliant … Idiot … Rude, impertinent ass …” John recognized the voice: Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade.

They’d met a few times at crime scenes, and he seemed an intelligent, patient, polite man who was quite fond of Sherlock. More than once, John had caught Lestrade shaking his head in admiration of Sherlock’s intellect. Now, it appeared Lestrade admired more than that.

Still unaware of John’s silent, shocked presence, Lestrade pushed Sherlock’s expensive coat from his shoulders and returned his attentions to Sherlock’s mouth. John almost dropped his teacup when Sherlock moaned: a deep, echoing sound that should have been illegal in its glorious obscenity. 

John cleared his throat suddenly, and Lestrade leapt away from Sherlock’s body as if he stood in a fire pit. “Dr. Watson,” he said, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth. His wedding ring reflected light from a nearby lamp.

John shook his head. “I’m sorry. I was just …” He almost tripped in his rush to get out of the room.

“John.” Sherlock’s voice—forceful, strong—stopped him.

“I’ll just …” Lestrade ran his hands through his hair, cast one quick glance at Sherlock, and stepped toward the door. “Night then.” His feet sounded heavy as he descended the front steps back to Baker Street.

John watched Sherlock take off his coat the rest of the way and hang it on the hook by the front door. His thick, black curls were a wreck, which he didn’t seem to notice. He pulled on the cuffs of his shirt before looking up at John. “Ah. Tea.” He took John’s steaming mug, the bastard, and sat in his chair.

John put his hands on his hips and tapped his foot before turning around. “Married to your work?”

Sherlock sipped silently.

“Speaking of married, Lestrade is. Married, I mean. You obviously observed his wedding band.”

“Societal construct,” Sherlock said, deadpan.

“Societal …” John shook his head. “Don’t you respect the institution at all?”

“I—” Sherlock snapped his mouth shut, a little red around the edges, presumably from Lestrade’s whiskers. “I’m supposed to say ‘yes,’ correct?”

John slumped down into his own chair and took a long, slow breath through his nose. He didn’t know when it had arrived, but rage had come for a visit. John was angry. He was very, very angry indeed.

Sherlock set the teacup down on the table by his side. “You’re angry.”

“Very observant,” John muttered.

“Because I’ve had a four-year affair with a married man.”

“Four …” John’s eyes popped open. “Four years?”

“Not an affair really.” Sherlock folded one ankle over his knee. “Occasional harried grabs in back alleys after an invigorating chase, that sort of thing. Sometimes we even make it to a bed.”

“Jesus!” John shouted.

“If it’s so offensive to your morality, we won't come back to Baker Street again.”

John shook his head. He shook his head some more.

Then, Sherlock did the very thing John dreaded—the thing he did to clients and criminals alike. He shifted forward in his chair, rested his elbows on his bony knees, and folded his hands under his nose. “I’m mistaken.” 

John rolled his eyes. “Can I get that on tape?”

Sherlock tilted his head, one beautiful green-gray eye squinting. “You’re not upset because Lestrade is married, not really. Why are you upset?"

“Never mind.” He stood.

John heard the scrape of suit fabric over leather and knew he was being pursued. Before John could reach the door that led upstairs to his bedroom, Sherlock was in front of him, thin arm across the entrance. He peered down at John with furrowed brow.

John put his hands on his hips and looked anywhere but at the consulting detective extraordinaire.

Why are you upset?”

“This.” John gestured between the two of them as best he could with Sherlock hovering six inches away. “This is invasion of personal space. We’ve talked about this before.”

Sherlock moved back. A little. But not so much that John couldn’t smell his cologne—a scent John, in the span of weeks, already associated with home.

“Sherlock. I’m tired.”

“You’re angry.”

“I’m not.”

“Yes, you are. You’re irate. Why?” Sherlock moved closer again, so much so that John could actually see the tiny freckles on his flat mate's nose.

The proximity was too much as John’s stomach rolled to a boil. “Because you’re …”

Mine.

God, where had that come from? John covered his mouth as if he’d said the word out loud.

Mine.

You’re mine, Sherlock.

It would be a lie for John to deny he was desperately in love with his flat mate and had been, possibly, since their first cab ride together. He hadn’t felt such a visceral pull toward another man since high school, when his hormones had been wild as a bag full of cats, and he’d done some experimenting. He’d been pretty much fixed on women since, but Sherlock Holmes …

Sherlock Holmes did things to him.

It wasn’t just the way he looked, blinding in his masculine splendor. It wasn’t the confidence or the way he walked with such purpose or even his bloody gorgeous voice. It was the way Sherlock made him feel safe. Ironic, since they spent so much time chasing baddies down dark alleys, that Sherlock would make John feel so very protected.

Sherlock made John feel like he had a future. He had a companion. They had 221B, and every night, John loved coming home to his … friend? Was that all Sherlock was?

“John.”

He looked up to find the detective studying him. “You’re …” John stared down at his feet. “Don’t destroy a man’s marriage.”

One of Sherlock’s dark eyebrows tilted up in the middle. “That’s really more Lestrade’s decision than mine.” He spun away on his heel and fell gracefully back into his leather chair, returning to John’s pilfered tea.

“I need to sleep,” John said.

Sherlock didn’t respond, and John glanced back to find his friend’s eyes glazed over, already deep in his Mind Palace.

John felt hefty walking up the steps, as if he’d put on twenty pounds in the last five minutes. Emotionally, perhaps he had.

(You’re mine.) 

But Sherlock wasn’t his. At least, not yet.