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Across the Threshold

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"I can't believe you. I cannot believe you."

"If the organist didn't want people to know she was having an affair, she shouldn't have shouted it from the heavens."

"She wasn't shouting anything, Sherlock, she was playing the damn organ!"

"Oh come now, with the way she'd creased her sheet music? Don't tell me you missed something so obvious." Sherlock stopped on the pavement and looked at John, perplexed. "Really? You missed that?"

"Everyone missed that, Sherlock. At least until you announced it in front of everyone." John sighed. "Now we need to find a new organist by tomorrow."

Sherlock picked up his pace again, striding forward, ignoring John's furrowed brow. "We don't need music at our wedding."

"Obviously having a rehearsal was a bad idea," John muttered. "It gave everyone involved a chance to spend time with you." He rubbed at his forehead. "Luckily the priest believes in turning the other cheek, or we'd have had to cancel the whole thing."

"That would be a relief," Sherlock sighed. He dodged left to avoid a bike, his coat swirling, and turned to walk backwards for a few steps, looking at John. "Even more ridiculous than a public ceremony to prove you're committed to someone is rehearsing it. You can't rehearse getting married, you either do it or you don't."

"It's just to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time and everything goes smoothly," John said, not for the first time.

"Right place, right time, what nonsense," Sherlock sniffed, swiveling to walk forward once more. "As if parroting some stock phrases in front of the right people in the right place at the right time makes anything different at all. If marriage is--as I have been told incessantly--a pledge to spend your life and share your fortunes with someone, then you and I have been married since the moment I asked if you wanted to come along and you said 'Yes.'"

John missed a step. "That's...actually rather romantic," he said. Sherlock rolled his eyes and stalked on. "But the state doesn't recognize that kind of marriage."

"The state, the state." Sherlock flung his hands in the air. "My brother is The State. You really want him more involved in our lives?"

"If I'm ever in hospital, you know that unless we were married--" John said.

"Yes, yes, we've been over all this," Sherlock huffed. "That's the whole reason we're going through with this rigamarole."

"Because," John pressed, "If we weren't married, my parents would get to make decisions about my care. Decisions like whether or not you'd be allowed to even see me. And after your performance today, I think you'd have even more reason to find that alarming."

Sherlock stuck out his lower lip and sulked, but stopped arguing for a moment. However, that might have been because they were back at 221B and he was busy getting his keys out of his pocket.

"I just find all the ritualistic details tedious, John," he complained as he went up the stairs. "All the superstitious nonsense and empty symbolism that carries so much weight to the inferior mind." He unlocked the door at the top of the stairs and paused as it swung open. Then he flung his hands out theatrically toward John. "I suppose you'll want me to carry you across the threshold as well? Perhaps we should practice that too?"

John crossed his arms. "Why are you assuming you'll carry me across the threshold? What, you think I can't carry you? Just because you're tall?"

Sherlock's expression was affectionately mocking. "Well, as I have to carry you mentally all the time, it seems appropriate."

John felt his eyes narrow. "Oh, that is it," he said. Reaching down, he hooked an arm under Sherlock's knees and started to lift him..

"John," said Sherlock. "What are you--"

"I'm carrying you across the threshold," John said, attempting to sweep Sherlock into a classic bridal carry. Sherlock was wriggling a great deal, which made it much harder. "Hold still, damn you," he blustered.

They wrestled about at the top of the stairs for some time, eventually half-falling, half-sliding down the steps one by one in an epically ridiculous cascade of limbs and curses.

John struggled to keep his righteous indignation going at the sight of Sherlock sitting rumpled and annoyed on the bottom step. "I'm not letting you enter the flat under your own power, so let's just get this over with," he said, trying to catch his breath.

"You'll never make it all the way up the stairs," Sherlock said, lifting his chin.

"Well then, you can just sit there until the wedding, see if I care."

Mrs. Hudson's voice came plaintively from her flat: "Sherlock, must you argue about everything? Just let John carry you up the stairs!"

John gave him an eloquent look: See? You've upset Mrs. Hudson.

Sherlock heaved a sigh and stood up. "Very well," he said with the air of a martyred saint. "If it will make everyone happy."

"Ecstatic," John said, and lowered his head to put his shoulder into Sherlock's stomach with some emphasis.

"Oof," said Sherlock, doubling over across John's shoulder. John straightened up with Sherlock slung over one shoulder and began to climb the stairs.

"This is very undignified," Sherlock observed as they made their weaving way upward. Mrs. Hudson's head popped around the corner, and he waved at her from behind John's back.

"No one--to blame--but yourself," John puffed. "There."

He made it up the last few steps and across the threshold.

"Congratulations, you made it," said Sherlock. "Now put me down."

John made a contradictory noise, although his knees were definitely getting a bit unsteady, and started heading toward Sherlock's room. Dangling upside-down from John's shoulder, Sherlock was suddenly struck by the ludicrousness of the tableau, and started to giggle helplessly.

"Don't you dare," John managed as he felt that giggle shudder delightfully through the body pressed up against his, but soon he was laughing too, which caused them to veer wildly off course, stumbling against furniture. Sherlock pushed them off John's chair and then the fireplace, as one might push a drifting canoe away from a rock, and they finally managed to make it to the bedroom before John's knees gave out entirely and he collapsed on the bed with a still-giggling Sherlock underneath him.

Sherlock curled his long legs up and rocked back and forth as if laughter had incapacitated him entirely; John could feel his abdomen shaking and was unable to resist pushing his shirt up and kissing the place where the sharp bones of his ribcage fell away into vulnerable trembling flesh. He was laughing too, he couldn't seem to help himself, a long bubble of incredulous joy that they were both here and alive and life was full of adventures and annoyances and delight. He trailed kisses and bites down to Sherlock's navel, savoring the feel of laughter beneath his mouth, the sound of it in his ears.

"Oh God," gasped Sherlock, half-laugh and half something else entirely, and as so often happened between them laughter shifted into lust with no warning at all, and John found himself tugging urgently at Sherlock's trousers, his hands clumsy on the belt buckle, wanting.

"I approve of this rehearsal," Sherlock announced as John yanked and wrestled, making no effort whatsoever to help. He was grinning. "They're trousers, John, not the Gordian Knot."

"I'll solve your trousers in the same fashion if you don't get them off now."

"The Case of the Tangled Trousers," Sherlock observed idly, one hand in his astonishing electric-purple briefs, jacking himself off in that abstracted way that both infuriated and inflamed John (and he knew it, the bastard). He lifted his body just enough that John could finally remove the offending item. "From your glance at the nightstand drawer and the way you just bit your lower lip, I gather you intend to fuck me?"

John stopped so abruptly in his lunge to the nightstand that he fell over onto his side. "Damnit, Sherlock, a little warning before you talk like that."

"Like what?"

"You know. You talk dirty as though you were discussing butterfly taxonomies."

"And you love it," Sherlock said smugly.

John bit his lip again and yanked open the drawer.

"Language is such an odd thing," Sherlock said. "If I say 'I enjoy sexual intercourse with you,' it has no discernable effect. But say 'I like it when you fuck me,' and your hands start shaking so you can hardly open the lube. Give me that," he said, taking it from John and squirming effortlessly out of his pants simultaneously. "Compliment your corpus spongiosum--quite virile, by the way--and you don't bat an eye. But admire your magnificent cock and--oh, yes--the most dramatic things tend to happen."

He slung his long legs over John's shoulders and closed his eyes, breathing deeply as John pushed into him. "Fuck," he murmured, almost experimentally, as if he were examining the slippery fricative and the fierce breathless stop of it, turning it over on his tongue. As John picked up the pace, he repeated the word quite a few times, each time sounding less like a linguistics lesson and more like an actual oath, until John's name was mixed in as well, and in John's opinion things were going along very nicely indeed.

At least until Sherlock got the words mixed up and said "Juck" a few times, then burst into helpless giggles again.

John would have stopped to complain, but he was so close and the sudden shift in motion as Sherlock laughed was too much; he leaned forward and bit at Sherlock's collarbone, growling in exasperated rapture as Sherlock begged, "Juck me, Fohn," until at last Sherlock's giggles shifted back into gasps--mercifully wordless, this time--and they collapsed together in a sated, snickering heap.

"Weddings are stupid," Sherlock said after a while, wiping his eyes.

"They are, a bit," John agreed. "I might have left something of a bruise there," he added, tracing a spot on Sherlock's collarbone.

"Really? How wonderful," Sherlock said, craning his neck to look down.

"Wonderful?"

"Isn't that how the superstitious little jingle goes? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something black and blue?" Sherlock grunted as John elbowed him in the ribs. "Also, I like the idea of you knowing your mark will be there, tucked under my tuxedo and oh-so-cliche boutonniere, slightly above my heart."

John blinked at him, then sighed and nuzzled close to Sherlock's neck. "Stop being stealth romantic," he grumbled. "It makes it hard to stay annoyed with you."

"All part of my Machiavellian plan."

"Right," said John. "Your Machiavellian plan to marry me. Sounds brilliant."

"To have and to hold from this day forward, isn't that how it goes? No, John, weddings are stupid," Sherlock repeated. "But being married might be a bit all right."