|A House is not a Home
Author: selenityshiroi PM
This is a prompt fill from the LJ Fic Meme. John and Sherlock got a flat share because they needed to split the rent. But when John comes into money, people wonder 'why hasn't he found a place of his own' The actual prompt is inside the storyRated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - John W. & Sherlock H. - Words: 8,002 - Reviews: 55 - Favs: 344 - Follows: 11 - Published: 11-24-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6502790
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This was written for this prompt at the LJ Sherlock Fic Meme: John/Sherlock friendship or slash (doesn't really matter).
We all know that Sherlock has money (from somewhere) but John comes into some cash. Maybe he gets a higher paid job or perhaps he inherits money from a long lost relative/wins the lottery. Whatever. He has enough money to strike out on his own and everyone expects him to move out of Baker Street and get his own place. After all, he only got the flat share because he couldn't afford to pay a lot of rent on his own, didn't he?
People link him to online estate agent sites and give him those house information sheets.
The only people who seem to think this is completely bizarre are John and Sherlock.
"Why do I need a new place to live? I've got somewhere to live."
"You can't possibly enjoy living with him."
Bonus points for Mycroft whisking John off to look at houses. (Even more bonus points if he assumes Sherlock's going to be moving with John:
"There's a loose floorboard that would make an adequate hiding place for your illegal firearm. And just look at this spare bedroom. It has adequate space and lighting that my brother's experiments wouldn't have to clutter up that lovely kitchen."
Despite not being much of a writing sort, I was utterly inspired and ended up writing this a part at a time over two days. It was originally posted here: http : / / sherlockbbc-fic. livejournal. com / ?thread=10775788#t10775788 (remove the spaces)
John hadn't been certain as to why he had purchased the lottery ticket. Oh, sure, he'd given in and brought the occasional ticket when a roll-over had taken the jackpot up to obscene amounts of money and everyone and their grandmother had been queued at the Lotto tills. But when, one Saturday afternoon, he had been buying some milk at the Tesco Express, ignoring three texts from Sherlock as he waited behind a woman topping up her electric meter key, he had found himself staring at the garish Lotto posters and almost distractedly had asked for a Lucky Dip when he finally reached the cashier.
He hadn't even checked it for three weeks, forgetting about the pink tinged slip of paper in his wallet.
Although he'd requested to not have his details publicised, it was inevitable that his acquaintances at New Scotland Yard knew about his sudden windfall. After all, the only reason he'd checked the ticket was because it had dropped from his wallet whilst he was getting some coffee from a Costa near-by a crime scene. Sally had gone with him, needing some caffeine herself after a long day at the site of a particularly gruesome murder. Sherlock had been in his element, climbing over furniture to calculate trajectories from blood splatter and had barely noticed when John had told him he was popping down the road for a drink-the 'Americano, black, four sugars' being the only sign he had even heard him.
He got along okay with Sally. Whilst she had a less than stellar opinion of Sherlock, she seemed to like himself well enough. Even if it was laced with a strong sense of pity. At least she tended to keep her more virulent complaints about Sherlock on her tongue when speaking with him, unlike Anderson who tended to make John clench his hands together to prevent him from wiping the disdain from his face with a fist to his nose. So their joint escapade to the coffee shop had been pleasant enough, talking the usual small talk and pointedly not talking about the crime scene they had just left.
When the ticket had fallen, whilst he dug a tenner out of his wallet, Sally had picked it up for him, shifting the carrier holding her own coffees (one for Lestrade, one for Anderson, one for a young PC that John hadn't met before and one for herself) to a better grip, and had glanced at it as he accepted his change, dropping a few coins into the tip cup next to the till.
'Didn't figure you as one for the lottery, Doctor.'
He'd smiled ruefully as he took it back from her, waiting for his order to be completed.
'I'm not, normally. I guess I must have been bored in the queue or something.' He opened up his wallet to stuff it back in amongst notes and receipts.
'Not a winner, then?' Sally had asked, watching him grab his coffee and adding teeth-achingly high amounts of sugar to Sherlock's.
'I haven't actually checked.' They'd made their way out of the store, weaving past the queue and back onto the street. 'Maybe I'm a millionaire and we don't know it!'
She'd laughed with him but had pulled out her mobile, one hand balancing her coffees whilst her thumb brought up her phone browser.
'Give us the numbers and I'll check the results for you. Wouldn't do to have you living in squalor when you could be rolling in money.'
He'd grinned at her, but dutifully worked the ticket out of his wallet, avoiding the other pedestrians as they made their way back to the murder scene.
They'd just ducked back under the Police tape and had drawn the attention of Lestrade when Sally's phone had matched up his numbers to the results of the draw from that date. Which meant that when she dropped her scalding hot coffees in shock at the 6 matching numbers, the splashes had caught Sally's, Lestrade's and his legs. Sally had barely noticed, staring blankly at the £1.3 million prize figure that John had apparently won.
Sherlock had just been happy that the coffee hadn't contaminated anything important at the crime scene.
John had never really planned on a wealthy lifestyle. Whenever people talk about what they would do if they won the lottery, they would talk about flashy cars and delicious food and drink and even more delicious women. And the more sedate, selfless answers tended to be 'let my parents have a happy retirement' or 'send my kids to the best schools'.
John's parents had died in a car accident shortly after he'd joined the army, he didn't have any children and the last thing he needed was a flashy car that would sit in a garage somewhere gathering dust.
He did, admittedly, like the thought that he no longer needed to rely on Sherlock to pay for his food, though. The Chinese down the road may not be the finest cuisine, but it certainly was delicious. And he didn't have to borrow Sherlock's debit card to buy the groceries any more.
But still, he was at a little bit of a loss as to what to do with his newly found wealth.
He couldn't give any to Harry. For starters, she was a prideful woman. She would sooner take his advice on her drinking habits than she would take money from his hands. And her drinking habits made him reluctant to hand money to her anyway, certain it would be pissed down the drain very quickly. And he didn't really want to tell her about his win. He was certain she would have plenty of suggestions on what he could spend his money on and they would probably be the same sorts of things purchased with the useless, flashy car.
He did, however, put a tidy amount aside in a savings account for her. At the end of the day, she was still his sister and he wanted to make sure that he could help her if and when she needed it.
In the end, he decided that he would just ignore it. Just because he had the money, it didn't mean he had to spend it lavishly.
If Mrs. Hudson got her rent paid exactly on time every month and the damage that Sherlock kept inflicting on her flat was repaired far more promptly than beforehand then she certainly wasn't complaining.
And if the sofa in his and Sherlock's living room had been replaced with a new one then no one mentioned it. Even if it had taken him a while to find one long enough for Sherlock's ridiculously long limbs to fit comfortably into it without needing yoga like contortions.
And if he allowed Sherlock to drag him to a high end clothing store to buy a new coat, claiming that John's shivering at a crime scene had been putting him off, then he ignored the outrageous price tags and let Sherlock dress him up and critique the fall of wool and the quality of linings and various other details that John had never thought of before when it came to clothing. (He had drawn the line at buying a long, great coat like Sherlock's. He decided to leave the dramatic flouncing of coat tails to his flatmate.)
He had, however, decided to continue working at the Surgery.
It was nice to have an anchor of normality in the strange and frantic world he shared with Sherlock. Chatting with his colleagues at the surgery over the latest episode of The X Factor, even if he had been chasing a credit card fraudster instead of watching it, or putting his medical skills to work on a mild case of bronchitis, rather than stitching a knife wound, was always good for keeping himself balanced in the world. It usually gave him an excuse to leave the flat when Sherlock's boredom started to produce wild violin performances or noxious experiments.
But it was nice to have the freedom to turn shifts down if they were in the middle of a case. Sarah knew about the cases, even if she didn't know about the lottery win. So she was always understanding when he told her that he wasn't available. It had been well before the lottery win when he realised that she was only offering him work and not dates any more. He hadn't been sure if he would have brushed the dates aside for a case as well.
It was a few months before anyone from New Scotland Yard mentioned his windfall. The few people who had been present when Sally had discovered his win had all kept their mouths shut, so the news hadn't spread much further. It was nice to know that he at least had enough respect from them to stop them from blurting the news out to the entire Metropolitan Police.
But it wasn't until Lestrade had pulled one of his infamous 'drugs busts' before the topic had been raised again.
Sherlock had managed to piss Lestrade off by breaking and entering the flat of a suspect and stealing his work diary. Well, it had been Sherlock's suspect. Lestrade hadn't gotten that far down the investigative track at the time, but when he caught up to Sherlock's train of thought he had descended on 221b Baker Street with several uniformed officers and the familiar faces of Donovan and Anderson in tow, seething about procedure and evidence being admissible in court. Sherlock had actually used the diary to dismiss his suspect, but the police had torn half their flat apart by the time Sherlock had divulged that information.
He'd been putting books back onto the shelves, most of the police having left and just Lestrade, Sally and Anderson hanging back whilst Sherlock unwilling explained how far he'd managed to get on his own investigation, when Sally had spoken up.
'I'd have thought you'd have done something about living in this dreary place by now, Doctor.'
John had looked back at her and realised that Anderson and Lestrade had turned their way, more interested in his answer than the sulk he had missed Sherlock slip into on the sofa. John assumed Sherlock had gotten bored of explaining the case to Lestrade and had stormed to the other side of the room in a huff of impatience.
'Hmm? Well, I suppose the décor could do with sprucing up a little.'
Sally raised her eyebrow at that, as if that wasn't the answer she had expected from him. Lestrade looked amused whilst Anderson had snorted a bit, as if to say that the décor needed sprucing up with a demolition ball.
'I like the décor. It's not changing.'
Sherlock's petulant comment had dragged John's attention back over to the sofa, although Sherlock looked like he was asleep or meditating, his fingers pressed together in front of his mouth.
'Well, it wouldn't hurt to get a few more lights in here. Maybe some lamps. It can get pretty dim in here during the evening.'
'Mmm,' The humming sound from Sherlock's throat had at least meant that he was thinking about that idea. 'It can be difficult, sometimes, to perform experiments in the night-time. Especially when I need to monitor colour changes. Better illumination would be beneficial.'
He'd turned back to Sally with a small sense of triumph.
'Well, I guess that's one thing I can improve about the flat. As long as you guys don't smash the lamps in the search of hidden drugs the next time Sherlock annoys you.' He'd smirked at her in an amused way, to show he wasn't sore about the bust. But she'd merely rolled her eyes at him and turned to leave, Anderson already waiting to go and Lestrade pulling on his jacket.
'That's not quite what I meant, Doctor.' She'd waved him goodbye at the door. 'Bye. And see ya, Freak. Don't be quite so much of a pain in the arse.'
Sherlock had ignored her parting words, and Lestrade's departure. But then he'd also proceeded to be strangely withdrawn for the rest of the day.
John had decided that the case was obviously getting a bit murky and it was best to leave Sherlock to think it through, aiding the process with the occasional cup of tea.
The next day, coming back from an all night chase around London after an epiphany from Sherlock had cracked the case, John had stepped over an envelope in the threshold downstairs containing information sheets from an estate agents in the area, printed from the internet from the looks of it. They were all for one bedroomed flats in a half hour radius from Baker's Street.
He'd flicked through them, curious about where they'd come from and why they were there before he threw them into the paper recycling box. Maybe an overeager estate agent was trying to get the tenants down the street to enquire.
Sherlock had looked curiously at them, where they sat in the recycling box, and then threw John's coat back at him before dragging him out of the flat, talking a mile a minute about a fantastic Indian restaurant he knew. John missed some of the story about how Sherlock had saved the owner from a drug dealing conviction, when one of his employees had been using the delivery service to sell heroin, as he had turned to drag the front door shut behind him. But Sherlock liked nothing more than showing off his brilliance, so he'd managed to get the missing part out of him over an enjoyable meal, basking in Sherlock's attention focused on him and the delicious smells of the curry house.
It had been a week later that he'd received an email from Sally whilst he was updating his blog.
He'd just finished posting about the last case he and Sherlock had been on, which he'd had to rather heavily censor due to some...less than legal methods they had used. It was tricky explaining the whole story when he knew that half the police in London were reading his blog.
It wasn't often that she emailed him. She sometimes left short comments on his blog, normally along the lines of 'freak' or 'are you insane' or 'you're going to get yourself arrested one day', but an email was unusual.
He'd opened it, curious, only to find that it was blank other than a PDF attachment. He'd frowned in confusion, but opened the attachment anyway.
The PDF was for a, frankly, gorgeous one bedroomed flat with a stunning décor. It had a new kitchen that looked like it had been taken straight from a TV advert, a new wet-room bathroom, was beautifully furnished, had access to a lovely communal garden and it was also shockingly cheap for the area and the standard of the building.
He'd realised the reason for the price when he read through the details at the end. The flat had been one of a few properties seized from a drug lord who had been arrested a few months ago. It looked like the sentencing had finally been completed so the seized assets were being sold off. No wonder Sally had gotten a hold of the file.
He'd fired an email back to her saying that he hadn't realised that she was planning on moving, but the flat seemed absolutely perfect for her. And that if she wanted any help when it came to moving, he'd be happy to help.
The email she'd sent back had merely said 'Are you serious?'.
He'd gone to reply, confused as to her response. Just because Sherlock and Sally tended to butt heads, it didn't mean that he wouldn't help her out when she needed a hand. But before he could do so, Sherlock had snatched his laptop away, claiming he needed it to look up some data for an experiment.
John had just sighed, and let him do so. Sherlock's laptop had been a foot away from where he'd been sat in his armchair, but John guessed that turning it on would take far more time than Sherlock was willing to spare.
He saw Sherlock read his email before closing the browser and opening a new one. John had given up getting annoyed at such invasions of privacy about a week after he'd moved in. Sherlock had a way of knowing things whether you put the information in front of his face or not. He'd just grabbed a novel that he'd been working his way through and opened it to continue reading, the email from Sally forgotten.
He'd managed to get all the way through his book before Sherlock had disturbed him again, which had been a rather pleasant surprise.
It had been a few more weeks till he'd had any more contact with anyone from New Scotland Yard.
Sherlock had been sent an interesting case through his website that had dragged them both out of London and into Wiltshire, where some unusually perfect thefts had taken place from a collection of homes in a small town. The lack of evidence and connections between the crimes, as well as a lack of collateral damage, had caught his interest. Especially since the items stolen could have been just as easily obtained by normal, inelegant burglaries of the 'smashing the windows, going in and grabbing the loot' kind. But John had suspected that Sherlock's boredom, which had reached 'crawling the walls' level, may have also contributed to his interest.
It had turned out to be the Pastor from the local church who had been punishing people in his congregation for acts of mistreatment to others in the community. He'd taken a necklace from a woman who had spread a particularly nasty, personal piece of gossip about someone who had thought her a friend, had taken a watch from a man who had had an affair with his secretary, not telling her that he was married until she had discovered by accident and then been besotted with guilt...several minor crimes that he had committed to correct the balance of justice, using his knowledge of the people from his years as a trusted man of god to slip into their homes and steal from them with barely a misplaced speck of dust.
Sherlock had been so amused by the case that he'd almost not wanted to tell the local police. But the young woman who had reported it to him was so distraught over the loss of her mother's locket (taken when, on her deathbed, she had confessed to the Pastor that the daughter was not her husband's child) that Sherlock had divulged all his evidence so that the poor woman could get the heirloom back.
They had barely stepped back through the door into the flat when Sherlock had received a phone call. He'd refused to pick it up, so John had had to dig the phone out of Sherlock's coat pocket and answer it himself.
Sherlock hadn't been surprised when he explained the phone call from DI Gregson to him, as Sherlock had been reading the newspaper stories about a string of murders in the Docklands area with great interest whilst they'd been away. John had barely had chance to put his travel bag down before following Sherlock out of the flat and into a swiftly hailed taxi.
DI Gregson didn't tend to involve himself much with Lestrade's team of people, a long, bitter rivalry taking place between the two. So it had been a surprise to see Anderson collecting evidence from the crime scene.
Sherlock had immediately made his displeasure at seeing Anderson known, which had resulted in Gregson and Sherlock bickering over the body, and the way Gregson ran his investigations, whilst Anderson made his way back to his kit, bagging swabs and fibres. John had been standing near-by and had no interest in joining the argument on the other side of the room, so it only surprised him a little when Anderson actually spoke to him.
Unlike Sally, Anderson didn't tend to engage in small talk with John. His utter disgust at Sherlock and the mutual loathing meant that John was perpetually associated with his friend in Anderson's eyes. He occasionally made comments on John's fascination with Sherlock's work, normally rather derogatory, and often shared his opinions about Sherlock's mental state, as if he was trying to convince John of the same. He never questioned John's medical opinion, though, which John at least appreciated. It was one of the few buffers that stopped him from treating Anderson as poorly as he sometimes felt he deserved.
'Sally says that she's fed up of being subtle.'
John had turned towards Anderson, curious as to his meaning.
'The Estate Agent sheets, the emails, the website links she texted to you?' Anderson had sounded like he was talking to a small child, and John had never liked being patronised. Sherlock seemed to be the only person who could get away with that, probably because the people Sherlock spoke to tended to deserve it, no matter how clever they were.
John hadn't realised that the envelope of property information and the texts he had received last week had been from Sally. She must have changed her mobile number at some point, for starters, for him to have not recognised who the texts had come from. He'd assumed the texts had been spam and had deleted them after realising what the first site was. That the state of the current property market was making people desperate enough to send spam texts to everyone on his network or something.
'Why would Sally be sending me stuff about flats and houses?' John had been genuinely curious, realising for the first time that Sally wasn't planning on moving herself. 'I already have a place to live. Sherlock hasn't managed to blow it up yet, but at least I know who we can talk to if he succeeds one day.'
Anderson hadn't seemed any more impressed with John's confusion.
'You can't possibly enjoy living with him!' Anderson had cocked his head in Sherlock's direction, the subject of which was now looking at them curiously before shifting his attention back to Gregson, explaining something sharply and swiftly.
He continued, 'Sure, it's one thing to live with him when you're desperate for a flat share, but you can afford to live far, far away from him now. And you can probably afford therapy, too.'
Anderson obviously didn't know that John already had a therapist. Or, at least, that the Army had a therapist that they made him see on occasion. John had quickly decided that he was never going to divulge that information.
'Where I'm living is fine.' John had insisted, annoyed at Anderson trying to rub his dislike of Sherlock onto him. 'I don't need your input in my living arrangements.'
Sherlock had decided to make his way over to them at this point.
'Let's go, John.'
John had looked at him, trying to ignore Anderson curling his nose up.
'What, bored of the case already? Not gory enough for you?'
Anderson's disdainful tone hadn't even made Sherlock look at him, his attention focused on John alone.
'I've already given Gregson all the information he needs to make his arrest. I'll explain it all to you over lunch.'
John had shot a sideways look towards Anderson, who'd looked incredulous at the thought that Sherlock had deciphered the killer from ten minutes in just one of the crime scenes and had looked ready to cause a fuss. John had very quickly decided that they should leave swiftly, before the next blood being spilled was due to a cat fight between the two men.
They'd gone to a small restaurant, tucked away down a side street, for lunch that served traditional English fare. John hadn't had a meal as good since before he'd left his parent's home, no one ever having surpassed his mother's yorkshire puds in his eyes.
The food and the tale being woven by Sherlock's words and hands across the table, of the case he had just solved, had left him with such a strong sense of home and belonging that he'd barely remembered what he and Anderson had been talking about.
Sherlock had been at Barts when Lestrade popped round to their flat, a few days after the case with Gregson.
Sherlock had sent Lestrade a message, linking one of the DI's murder cases to Gregson's solved case, and Lestrade had wanted to get the details straight from Sherlock before handing the files over to his rival and colleague.
Sherlock had passed his laptop over to John, himself walking in from a shift at the surgery, before he'd left, a document open on the computer with details of the crime and how it was related to the other case-obviously meant for Lestrade's eyes when he turned up, as Sherlock had undoubtedly predicted.
Lestrade had read through the document, scowling at the conclusion Sherlock had reached, before handing the laptop back to John for him to put away.
'Dammit...I hate giving stuff over to Gregson. He always rubs it in.'
'But at least the murder is solved. And the murderer caught.' John had never quite understood the pissing match that seemed to be ongoing between the DIs. He'd always believed that it made more sense for them to team up against Sherlock, as the outsider, than to be trying to one up each other.
Lestrade, however, was the sort of person who had a large amount of respect and compassion for the victims and their loved ones, so he'd conceded that point gracefully. But he'd hung back before leaving, shifting uncomfortably as he'd turned to face John fully.
'I hear that Donovan and Anderson have been bothering you.'
Lestrade had always seemed mildly embarrassed at the mini war going on between his two team members and Sherlock. So it made sense to John that Lestrade would try to smooth down any ruffled feathers that had been exchanged between the two sides. He'd wondered how many hours Lestrade had spent in his time trying to calm down police officers after brushes with Sherlock Holmes.
'Yeah, I'm not sure what's gotten into them.' John really couldn't see why they were so interested in where he was living. Other than trying to share their attitude towards Sherlock with the rest of the world.
'Well, Sherlock can't be easy to live with,' Lestrade had tentatively offered, 'I mean, it doesn't take a consulting detective to see how some of his...habits can make life difficult.'
John liked Lestrade, and he knew that Sherlock grudgingly liked him too. So he had been slightly disappointed to find that he had to explain himself to the man.
'Look, living with anyone is difficult. People always have to make compromises when sharing a flat, whether those compromises are to do with leaving the toilet seat lid down,' He'd remembered a flat mate when he'd been in University who'd used to go apoplectic with rage if the toilet wasn't covered between use, 'or if there are severed fingers in the freezer.'
Lestrade had winced at the final part, the reaction from most people when John mentioned Sherlock's experiments. He'd never really gotten used to finding body parts around the flat himself, particularly when he was barely awake and groping around the fridge for the milk, but it was just another aspect of life to him. He'd given up wincing at the thought after the head in the fridge. After that there had been very little that could shock him more.
'I guess you're right.' Lestrade had said, picking his coat up from the arm of the chair he had slung it over when he'd been passed the laptop. Lestrade had given him an unusual, semi smile, the sort given to people who you know haven't understood what you're talking about. John had thought that Sherlock would probably give that smile out constantly, if he was the sort to soften other people's ignorance with a smile.
The expression had left John feeling like he's missed something. Something important.
Maybe it had been what Lestrade had muttered as he walked out the door, something about 'sharing a flat' and something being 'not necessary'. But Lestrade had had his back to John when he mumbled the words and John hadn't really caught them.
He would have asked Sherlock, who chose that moment to flounce past Lestrade and into the living room. After all-Sherlock very rarely missed anything.
But Sherlock had ignored Lestrade's departure and instantly jumped into telling John all about the experiment he had inflicted upon the Barts Chemistry labs, face and gestures completely animated with pleasure at the discoveries he had made.
Sherlock's obvious warmth towards his scientific research and the joy he'd had in explaining it to John had caused a small glow to settle in John's stomach as he'd made his way to the kitchen to make some tea, Sherlock following automatically without breaking the story.
As he'd pulled some biscuits out of the cupboard (Jammy Dodgers-one's he liked far more than Sherlock, he knew, something that Sherlock had had to compromise on) he'd wondered why people couldn't understand that the compromises weren't so bad when you got to share Sherlock's mind and thoughts like this.
It had been several months since either he or Sherlock had heard from Mycroft, the last time having been a few weeks before his lottery win, in fact.
Oh, they'd seen traces of his watchful eye around on occasion-CCTV cameras that shifted in their direction or strange people watching 221b from the street outside whenever Sherlock hadn't had a case in several days. But they hadn't seen the man himself.
Sherlock had been perfectly happy with this arrangement and hadn't made his views on his brother's absence a secret. John had assumed that his absence had something to do with several political scandals that come into light all at once.
There was the politician who had been caught in an orgy with five prostitutes, two male and three female, in a hotel paid for on expenses (the newspapers had been having a field day with that one, the tabloids in particular loving the sensationalist aspects). There was the laptop of one of the shadow cabinet ministers that had been left on a train, containing some particularly virulent emails between himself and another member of his party regarding their opposites in power-including some ill gotten evidence about a rumoured drug habit of a minister's son that had swiftly become a confirmed drug habit when some reporters decided to see if there was any truth to the rumours.
Then there had been an international incident when a small Naval manoeuvre in the Indian Ocean had accidentally caught a small fishing boat in the crossfire. The sinking of the small vessel had killed twelve innocent Indian fishermen and, whilst tragic, would have not caused as much of an incident as it did when the Defence Secretary had commented, overheard and recorded by reporters, that the fishermen must have been poachers, as that area was a restricted fishing zone.
The Indian Government had not been impressed with the callous, and unfounded (it had turned out that they were merely four miles off course in a boat without any electronic navigation aids) remarks and the British Press and public had not been happy either.
John had imagined that the whole débâcle had kept Mycroft suitably busy. He'd been certain that the pale face of the Defence Secretary as he announced he was stepping down from his post had a lot to do with the elder Holmes.
John had, therefore, not been expecting the large black car that had pulled up alongside him when he had been on his way to the local supermarket to get some groceries.
He'd left Sherlock plucking some strange, irregular melody on his violin, a four day absence of 'anything remotely interesting' taking it's toll on the man. He'd snapped periodically at John, frustration oozing out of his every pore, but John was used to such bursts of misguided temper and had decided to get out of Sherlock's way instead of getting caught up in the tense atmosphere.
He'd known instantly, however, that a meeting with Mycroft would worsen Sherlock's mood a hundred fold.
Still, when the driver had stepped out of the car, opening the rear door for John expectantly, he had been unable to refuse the obvious invitation. Not that he'd believed that he would have been allowed to refuse.
Mycroft's lovely assistant, still unwilling to divulge her real name and still known as Anthea, had been sat inside and hadn't even looked up from her Blackberry as he'd ducked into the car. Her fingers had continued their flight over the keys, even as she'd distractedly returned his greeting.
He'd known not to bother asking what Mycroft wanted, so he'd sat silently and allowed them to take him to their destination in peace. At least, he'd thought, they would probably drop him off at Tescos afterwards, saving him the walk.
They'd stopped outside an attractive, five storey, Georgian terrace house, the sort that had rooms with twelve foot high ceilings and, even when split into flats (as many of them were in London nowadays, with property at a premium) they still tended to be filled with impressively large rooms, spacious and luxurious.
It wasn't the sort of meeting place that Mycroft usually chose.
John had been used to meetings in car parks and empty factories and the occasional abandoned warehouse. He'd never been taken to a residential building before.
He hadn't thought it was Mycroft's own home. The building had been separated into a flat per floor, as he'd been able to see as he was escorted up to the third floor by Anthea, and the marked disdain Mycroft had managed to squeeze into the 'b' in his and Sherlock's address, during their first meeting, had told John everything he needed to know about Mycroft's opinion of shared residences.
And he'd not believed that Mycroft would ever show someone his real home during a meeting such as this, anyway. Not even to his younger brother's closest friend.
When Anthea had opened the door the the third floor flat, waving him in before she'd closed the door behind him, he'd found himself face to face with Sherlock's older brother.
'Ah, Doctor Watson,' Mycroft had drawled, his tone what John had labelled as 'dramatic courtesy', 'It has been a while. I trust you've been well?'
John had known full well that Mycroft not only knew just how well he had been but had probably known just how well every one of his acquaintances had been, too. He'd never underestimated Mycroft's ability to know absolutely everything.
'Quite well, thank you.' John had learned to keep his conversations with Mycroft brisk and to the point. 'But I'd feel much better if I knew why I was here.'
Mycroft had smiled at him, something that was even more unsettling than the fake smile Sherlock would plaster on his face when he was pretending to be a friendly neighbour or a charming salesperson or some other persona that required people to think him trustworthy. If he'd been annoyed at John's obvious impatience then he'd not shown it.
'Of course.' Mycroft had slung his umbrella over his left forearm before escorting John further into the flat, past the light and airy hallway, and into a living room that was easily double size of the living room in his own flat.
John couldn't have helped but be impressed with the perfectly finished wooden floors and the large windows that filled the entire room with daylight. It was certainly brighter than most places Mycroft had him dragged to.
'I've heard that you have not been using your resources to their fullest potential.' Mycroft had chastised, an eyebrow arched in a sort of curious gesture. 'I've realised that you may need some guidance in this matter.'
John had wrinkled his eyebrows at that. 'I'm sorry, what?' He'd tried to think back on the last few weeks and couldn't think of any issues he'd had that he hadn't been able to sort out himself. He'd had Anderson and Sally trying to convince him of the evils of Sherlock, admittedly by physically trying to get him away from the flat rather than the suggestions of hobbies, and he'd had that time during a chase through London when a criminal had gotten a little too close with a knife and he'd had to put five stitches in his right forearm. But if Mycroft had had any intentions of 'dealing' with Anderson and Donovan, he'd have had to nip that idea in the bud (even Sherlock would probably not approve of such actions). 'I'm not sure what I could possibly need your guidance on right now.'
Mycroft had turned and started gesturing around the room.
'This room is twenty nine foot by twenty one foot. It has some impressive, original windows with the glazing replaced with double glazed panes. The original fireplaces are in perfect working order and the coving and plaster roses are also untouched, quite unusual in a modified property such as this.'
John had been speechless.
'The kitchen has been recently refurnished,' Mycroft had continued, leading John into a contemporary and elegant kitchen/dining room, effortlessly describing the intricate details of the property with a flourish that estate agents would have wept tears of envy at, 'with new appliances and a large space for entertaining. Which is the sort of activity which should be going on in a dining area.' Mycroft had added a sharp, disapproving tone to the should-an equally sharp look sent in John's direction, even as he led him further through the flat.
John still hadn't been able to speak, but his thoughts had been flying.
Mycroft was showing him a flat. A flat that he was trying to sell to John. A flat where there shouldn't be experiments in the kitchen.
They'd been heading into a room that had bookshelves on three of the walls, a study or office space rather than a bedroom, John had assumed, but the anger he had felt at Anderson for his comments about living with Sherlock and his disappointment at Lestrade for implying the same had been rushing back in a surge, multiplying at the thought that this was Sherlock's brother and, if anyone, he should be understanding.
'For the last time,' John had started, voice rising in volume with every word,' I already have a place to...'
'And I think this area would be perfect for Sherlock's experiments.' John had stopped abruptly at that, words disappearing from his tongue. 'I think you may even be able to fit a fridge in here, which would keep the more...unsavoury items out of the eating area.'
John still hadn't been able to speak, completely off kilter at Mycroft apparently trying to find a nice place for him and Sherlock to live. He'd allowed Mycroft to lead him around the rest of it, the salesman like pitch never letting up, except to interject comments such as 'There is a safe box underneath the floorboards there which would be an excellent place for you to hide illegal weaponry' and 'These natural stone tiles in this bathroom have been excellently sealed so that bloodstains can be effortlessly cleaned' and 'This bedroom has excellent acoustic properties. I'm quite certain that Sherlock could play his violin all night and he would not disturb you or your neighbours'.
He'd still been stunned when Mycroft had handed him back to Anthea, who had wordlessly escorted him back to the car.
He hadn't snapped out of his daze until she'd handed him an information sheet on the flat he'd just seen, outside of the Tescos. He'd accepted it absently, before folding it up and putting it in his inside jacket pocket, smiling shakingly at her before leaving the car.
She hadn't noticed, eyes glued to her phone.
John still hadn't gotten his thoughts together when he'd returned to Baker Street, arms laden with groceries and head laden with confusion.
Sherlock had looked over at him as he'd walked in, from his position on the sofa where he'd obviously given up playing the violin in favour of looking like a forlorn, Gothic heroine, sprawled haphazardly like he'd fainted from boredom. But John had seen exactly when Sherlock had deduced that he'd been in contact with Mycroft when the bored, listless expression had suddenly sharpened, his eyes shifting about John's frame as if he'd been able to see what had happened just from the fall of John's clothing.
'Why on earth was Mycroft taking you to a flat in that part of London?'
John hadn't seen a street sign when he'd stepped in or out of the car, so he was a little annoyed that Sherlock knew what part of London he'd been in when he himself hadn't known.
But then he'd realised that Sherlock had a slightly panicked look to his face, like he was waiting for something bad to happen and he was trying to delay it.
John had gotten pretty good at reading Sherlock, over time. He didn't always read him quickly, because Sherlock had a tendency to realise when he'd expressed something he didn't want John to see and then he would distract John, normally very effectively, with another topic.
But this time, Sherlock had seemed unable to think of a way to cover his slip of emotion. John had assumed it was Mycroft's involvement that was throwing Sherlock off.
'He was showing you a new flat.' Sherlock had said flatly, but there had been an undertone of devastation to it that John couldn't help but miss. 'I'm sure, since Mycroft chose it, that it's absolutely perfect for you.'
John had thought back to the times when the others had been suggesting that John do something about his living arrangements. When Sherlock had been sulking and then overly attentive. Sometimes even quite sweet, like the time in Wiltshire when he'd offered to swap phones so John didn't have to keep putting up with those 'spammy Property website texts'.
'Look,' John had decided that enough was enough and he was just going to clear the air. 'Do you want to move out of Baker Street?'
Sherlock had seemed utterly confused with John's upfront question, eyebrows creased in a frown.
'Of course not.' He'd returned sharply. 'I have absolutely no intentions of leaving this flat.'
John hadn't been able to miss the slight inflection in the 'I'.
'Then we'll stay here.'
That hadn't seemed to clear up any of Sherlock's confusion.
John hadn't been able to withhold a smile at Sherlock's utterly befuddled expression, like he'd been left behind in the conversation. It didn't tend to happen often to Sherlock, and it was an almost adorably childish face.
'Of course, we.' John had insisted, like there was no other alternative. 'I like living here, you like living here. So Mycroft can take his Georgian flat with it's natural stone tiles and it's office that's ideal for a laboratory and he can shove it up his arse. If he can move the stick out of the way, first.'
John had allowed Sherlock to believe that he'd successfully convinced John that the only reason a grin was plastered on his face was due to John's creative instructions for Mycroft.
But the obvious pleasure Sherlock had taken from taking the slip of paper out of John's pocket and ripping it in half and the way he'd tugged lightly on John's sleeve, as he suggested they order in some Thai food and continue on with John's cultural lessons in James Bond, had made it obvious to John that Sherlock shared the obvious desire for neither of them to be anywhere else but in their home. Together. At 221b.
This is my first (and, knowing my fic writing capabilities, probably my only) fic for the fandom, but what a fandom it is! The Sherlock fandom has been amazing since day one, and I love it so much!
Oh, and it should be known that I totally OTP John and Sherlock (or Watson/Holmes) in a 'I don't care if they're romantically or sexually involved or not, they belong together for all of time' type of way. So this fic is Slashgoggle Friendly!
And I hate FF. NET's space removing format.