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The Significance of A Date

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 John curled his toes in his shoes in pleasure as he took another sip of his, frankly amazing, tea. The chair he sat in was deliciously overstuffed and the pleasant smell of baked goods wafted out from behind the counter at the front of the little tea shop John frequented. Outside, the London air was crisp and pleasantly grey in the way it could only be in autumn. John had stopped into the shop after taking a bloody difficult exam—curse the bloody pricks who came up with the names of all the proteins and enzymes—and was enjoying the start of a very relaxing weekend. This, John thought, is the best day ever by far. I could live in this moment for—

John’s attempts to slowly melt into a puddle of very relaxed goo were abruptly interrupted by a commotion from the back of the shop. A gust of cold wind hit the back of his neck and he snapped forward, spilling tea in his lap.

“Oh bugger-“ John started to get up to go get some napkins and was taken aback to find a pair of wide eyes staring at him entirely too close to his face.

“What day is it?” The man asked, completely unbothered by the close proximity.

“Oh, er...Friday,” said John, reacting slowly as he tried to focus his eyes on the stranger in front of him.

The green-blue-oh wow—eyes of the stranger rolled at him. “No, no. I meant date.

“Oh...uh...it’s October third.” This time, John was less surprised by the tall man’s direct question, but instead found himself realizing that the odd man in front of him was quite dishy. He was the type that just exuded posh—all high cheekbones and perfectly styled hair. Not usually John’s type; John had a tendency toward blokes that were more rugged and homey like him, but wow.

“Thank you, it was of vital importance that I knew.” The stranger gave him a once over and immediately about-faced to march up to the counter. John just stayed half-sitting, half-standing at his seat, admiring the view, when the man just as quickly pivoted and marched in the same brusque manner back to John. The man thrust a steaming mug and a handful of napkins in John’s face.

“Here!” the man said, and then flushed quickly. John admired the color in his cheeks, it made the man look even more posh and slightly flustered like a Victorian woman, and oh, isn’t that adorable—

“Are you listening to me?”

Now it was John’s turn to blush. He was sure he didn’t look nearly as appealing as the man, all scarlet from the tips of his ears down his neck. He could only hope that his handsome and strange distraction from his tea didn’t notice. John absentmindedly took a sip of the tea the stranger had handed him.

“Oh!” John said, taking another deep sip from the mug, “This is exactly how I take it...thank you, uh...sorry, I didn’t catch your name”

The man huffed. “My name is Sherlock. And if you had been listening you would’ve heard that I noticed that my entrance caused you to spill your tea so I deduced what you liked based on the splatter on your trousers—“

The man—Sherlock—suddenly paused and lurched forward to throw napkins at John and start blotting at John’s lap. Then, he suddenly seemed to realize the particular location of the tea he was trying to sop up from Johns trousers and shot back just as suddenly. The flush came back in full force and John wasn’t sure if it was the tea, the flush, or the blotting that suddenly had his insides warm and fuzzy.

“Medicine!” Sherlock suddenly blurted.

“What?” John asked, at this point he was getting whiplash from Sherlock’s outbursts.

Sherlock cleared his throat, “You, uh, study medicine. Saint Bart’s. You’re in your...second, no, third year and you’re thinking about enlisting in the RAMC, not surprising really, reading medicine is expensive and I doubt your parents can really support you what with paying with your brother’s rehab treatments and binge nights. Plus, you would fit in well in a space where you felt you could help people and you clearly like fast paced environment, if your love for rugby says anything about you.” Sherlock paused and looked John over once more. “I’m sure you did well on your exam today, though.”

“Really?”

“Yes”

“Well, that’s amazing.” Sherlock blinked owlishly at John.

“I wouldn’t go quite that far...you clearly studied very hard considering the bags beneath your eyes and the ink smeared on your hand. Though I do suppose that people do like congratulations on that sort of thing so—“

“No, no, blimey,” John’s eyes crinkled and he beamed at Sherlock, “I meant everything else. How did you do that? The whole medicine-army-rugby-“

“Oh!” Sherlock suddenly looked uncomfortable, “Yes, well, just simple deductions really but I...er..I’ll just go, shall I?”

Sherlock started to get up and John blurted, “No! Christ, that was amazing Sherlock.! Seriously, how did you do that? Are you in Professor Whitmore’s class? I swear I would’ve noticed you, but...”

John trailed off, thinking privately to himself that there was no way he would forget the gorgeous—and apparently brilliant—man in front of him.”

Sherlock sat back down. He shifted in his seat and smiled a shy smile.

“It’s quite simple, actually, when you just observed. I know you’re studying medicine and you’re doing it because you’re actually decent because of the volunteer ID on your jacket over your chair. Saint Bart’s for the same reason. The state of your trainers speaks for your rugby habit, as does the way you stretch your shoulder when you reach for your tea like you’ve recently injured it. Your brother was easy from the engraving on the phone and the rehab—”     John’s eyes had followed Sherlock’s as he went through each deduction. Catching on, John said, “the scratches!” and Sherlock positively beamed.

John was absolutely charmed, but couldn’t resist teasing the handsome man smiling across from him. Oh, I have got to get his number.

John cleared his throat and looked up, eyes twinkling mischievously, “Yeah, it’s too bad though, you can’t deduce everything, can you?”

Sherlock’s brow furrowed.  “What did I get wrong?” he asked, pouting his lip forward.

John was momently distracted by Sherlock’s plump mouth but quickly shook it off to resume his signature Watson charm.

“Well, first off, you are right about the phone, but Harry stands for Harriet.”

“Oh, a sister, I always get something wrong—“

Sherlock looked up, suspicious. “That’s just one thing, and I still deduced it. I just had the wrong gender. And what does that matter? It’s just a stupid social construct.”

“Hmm, yes, I guess you’re right. No sense worrying about stupid social constructs. And for another social construct, I guess you’ll just never know my name. Seeing as you can’t deduce it at all.”

“That’s not fair! There was no way I could read such small—“

Sherlock’s outrage came to a sudden halt. He flushed a color that would generously be called cherry and more realistically detailed as “stoplight red.” John smiled wickedly, assuming he had finally stumped Sherlock for having not asked his name.

“Oy, what’s this then?”

“I, er, may have come into the shop because I saw your ID badge.” Sherlock’s blush got impossibly deeper.

John furrowed his brow. “Wait, what would you want with my ID badge? Are you trying to steal drugs from the hospital because there are programs—“

“No! No! Nothing like that! I have my own badge for the hospital, my friend lets me use the mortuary for my work...”

“Hold on for your work?” John felt incredibly thick. He was only saved true embarrassment by the mortified look spread across Sherlock’s features.

“Yes, I’m a consulting detective. Only one in the world in fact. Or I will be when I’m finally done with my degree that my arse of a brother is forcing me to finish but,” Sherlock looks up from his fast talking tirade, “that’s not really important.”

By now, John was both thoroughly impressed and confused. It was clear that Sherlock was brilliant but speaking with him was like trying to keep pace with a whirlwind.

“So, my ID badge...?”

“Oh! Yes, well...I thought that it might be nice talking to,” Sherlock cleared his throat, “a doctor.”

John’s jaw dropped open slightly as everything slid into place. Sherlock had seen John’s Volunteer Medical ID badge and come into the shop to speak with him. And that meant that the date question...

“I understand that it’s a bit not good to just be interested in someone’s occupation but I had seen you in the shop before and you always looked tense and I could tell by the back of your head that you were relaxed today and Molly made me watch this ridiculous movie—though I suppose it was a fascinating study in American social structures...”

Sherlock trailed off, biting his lip. John had no idea what the buggering hell Sherlock was talking about but he did know that you don’t turn your nose up when a beautiful man seeks you out...even if he does seem slightly barmy.

“Well I’m not a doctor yet so it’s alright. I’m John, by the way.”

“Oh, right! John. Good. Yes.” Sherlock shifted, still unsure. John smiled at how his name sounded in Sherlock’s deep baritone.

“So, Sherlock, now that you seem to know everything about me, it seems only fair that you’ll have to tell me about yourself on our next date. My treat, since you bought the tea today.”

John quirked his eyebrow at Sherlock, daring him to protest. A brief look of confusion passed over Sherlock’s features before he grinned like a cat with cream.

“That sounds excellent, John. I can tell a great Chinese place by it’s door handle, you know. And I can deduce all the fortune cookies.”

“Hmm, now that seems unlikely but I will be delighted to see you try.” 

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Irene snorted and Molly groaned.

“You picked up someone using a line from Mean Girls? That’s ridiculous. John, I thought you had some standards!” Greg shot at John across the table.

Molly, Irene, John, Sherlock, and Greg all sat at a booth in the pub. It worked out rather conveniently that John was mates with Greg because it meant that Sherlock and Molly (well, mostly Molly) could force their boyfriends on double dates. Somehow, Irene seemed to always squeeze her way into the outings as well, not caring at all that her own pretty girlfriend, Kate, rarely cared to join them.

John scoffed and tightened his hold around Sherlock’s waist. “Oi, how was I supposed to know that the date line was from a movie? It’s not like I’ve ever seen it.”

Irene smirked. “It’s true Greg, you do seem to know that movie awfully well considering you’ve supposedly only seen it once.”

Greg blushed as Molly laughed. “Oh come off it, Greg! I’m sick of watching it because Greg always has it on.”

“Okay, okay I get it. Can we turn back to making fun of Sherlock and John, please?” Greg feigned a mortified look but didn’t really mind. These were his best mates and come on, Mean Girls was hilarious.

Sherlock smiled privately and took another sip of his pint as Molly, Irene, and John continued to poke fun at Greg. He eventually put down his glass.

“Well you have to admit, I’ve given John some great material if he ever wants to publish an account of our time together. ‘On October third he asked me what day it was...’”

They all laughed.