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It Was Always There

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John heard the sounds of furniture being violently shoved across the floor as he climbed the stairs of the flat. What was Sherlock up to now? He ran up the last few steps and stopped short as he watched his flatmate shove the desk against the wall where the couch used to sit. “Sherlock? What are you doing?”

“I’M BORED, JAWN!” Sherlock roared before kicking the desk chair in the general direction of the desk.

“So you’ve decided to rearrange our living room?”

Sherlock paused. John could see the consulting detective running through his options before deciding on what to tell him. He finally decided that a simple “yes” would suffice.

John found himself wondering what Sherlock had really been up to, but decided it was safer to not ask. “I hope we hear from Lestrade soon.” John mumbled as he headed into the kitchen. A nice cuppa wouldn’t do much to make his day better, but it was worth a try. A bored Sherlock was harder to keep occupied than most children and it was definitely one of those days where John wished he kept a stash of elephant tranquilizers handy. He could deal with the pacing, the violin playing, everything and anything else Sherlock could throw at him, except the temper tantrums.

Unfortunately, Sherlock was deep in temper tantrum mode.

Sherlock took his anger out on an end table before he wandered into the kitchen. He absentmindedly pushed his microscope aside and sat at the table. John slid him a mug of tea and sat down across from the sulking detective. Sherlock looked hard at his flatmate and realized how tired John looked. “You haven’t been sleeping well.”

“No, I haven’t.” John looked down at the mug he held in his hands. His turn to lie. “Somebody’s been playing his violin all night.” No need to tell Sherlock about the nightmares. “It’s a beautiful song, though. Something new?”

Sherlock nodded. “Yes. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but haven’t been able to pull it together.”

“And your muse has begun showing up in the middle of the night to help you write it? Every day for the past week?” John rolled his eyes. “Sherlock, I know it’s a foreign concept to you, but I need to work. To do well at work, I need sleep. Could you please tell your muse to come visit when I’m at the surgery?”

They drank their tea in silence, Sherlock observing the tiniest details of John’s weathered face. It didn’t matter how many times he looked at the Doctor, he always found something new. A small nick on his chin: he was using a new razor blade. Stain on his jumper: drop of jam from the sandwich he had for lunch. Plaster on his finger: judging from the location, paper cut. John’s eyes: tired and empty. Something was bothering him. But what? John was, as always, a huge mystery to Sherlock and he was determined to figure out this new puzzle.

Sherlock stood up and put his mug into the sink. His blue silk dressing gown flared out as he spun around. “I’m getting dressed and then we are going out,” he announced.

“Sherlock, I’m exhausted. I had a really long day at work. I don’t want to go out.” John rinsed out both mugs and set them on the counter to dry. “Besides, when do you ever want to go out unless we’re chasing some criminal through the streets of London?”

#

While he waited for Sherlock, John did a quick once over of the refrigerator and the cabinets where he stored the food. Thankfully, Sherlock had been behaving himself and was keeping his spare body parts (“Experiments, John.”) away from the food. They needed a few staples, milk mostly, and he would drag Sherlock shopping on the way back from wherever they were headed.

After leaving the flat, Sherlock headed in the direction of Regent’s Park. “A walk around Queen Mary’s Garden will do me some good,” he muttered.

“Excuse me? Did you just say you wanted to walk around a rose garden?”

“What? I’m not allowed to appreciate the beauty of a rose?” Sherlock snapped.

“N-n-n-n-no. It’s just not like you.” John found himself wondering, not for the first time, what else he didn’t know about the consulting detective.

“Neither is redecorating the flat. It’s good to know I can still surprise you.” He pointed a smirk in John’s direction, but he was looking in the opposite direction. Sherlock wondered what he was thinking. Why was he so hard to read?

They walked in silence, a slight breeze making Sherlock’s coat flap around him. He would stop from time to time, looking at the various roses, reciting random facts about bees and pollination, and how they affected the breeding of the roses. John, as usual, tried to hide his delight at how the detective’s brain worked. Sherlock couldn’t remember the fact that the Earth went around the sun, but he was a walking encyclopedia on bees.

After their second lap around the garden, Sherlock decided he was done and headed back towards Baker Street. “Sherlock, we need to stop at Tesco. We’re out of milk again.”

“MILK!” Sherlock roared. “WHAT IS IT WITH YOU AND MILK? YOU’RE ALWAYS BUYING MILK! MILK IS BORING!”

John took a deep breath and tried to control his temper. Having a tantrum of his own wouldn’t help matters at this point - it would only spur Sherlock on. “Look, you stupid git, I don’t know what the hell you do in the flat all day while I’m at work, but we’re constantly running out of milk. One would think that every once in a while you could walk a few hundred feet DOWN THE BLOCK and buy some FUCKING MILK!”

Their argument caught the attention of several couples walking through the park, making Sherlock chuckle. John was always so concerned about what others thought, and here they were, having a domestic in Regent’s Park. He couldn’t help himself. “Ssshhh. People can hear us.” He wrapped his arm around John’s shoulders. John surprised both of them when he leaned against the detective. Something inside of Sherlock stirred, but he chose to ignore it for the time being. There would be time to research that later. What was important now was the feel of John’s body pressing against his.

“You’re the one that started it.” In for a penny, in for a pound, John thought. He was tired of being worried about what people thought. From the second he walked into the lab at Bart’s, he’d become part of this weird hybrid: Sherlock-and-John. Whatever he was, whatever people thought, nothing was going to change the fact that he and Sherlock were partners in both work and life.

“Mmmm. It appears I have a case after all… my blogger went missing.” John couldn’t help himself and started to giggle. When Sherlock joined in, he started to laugh even harder. Holmes’ giggle was infectious and John was pretty sure that he was the only one that Sherlock ever giggled with.

“We can’t giggle, Sherlock. We’re in the middle of an argument.” He pulled away from Sherlock and looked into those amazing eyes. They were a very light blue today. He’d never seen any eyes that could change color as frequently as Sherlock’s did. He could get lost in them.

Sherlock blinked, breaking the spell. “Let’s hurry up and get the milk. I need to finish redecorating the flat. I think the sofa would look fantastic against the wall under the smiley face.”