|The Adventure of the Blushing Soldier
Author: Zoffoli PM
While Sherlock studied the fourth victim closely – a man again, Frank McPherson – John was studying Sherlock. He'd been doing a lot of that lately – way too much. Things do not get better when he blurts out his feelings at the crime scene, in the middle of a case...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Romance - Sherlock H. & John W. - Words: 5,972 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 59 - Follows: 7 - Published: 08-01-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8381189
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners, Arthur Conan Doyle and in their BBC version Stephen Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Stephen Thompson. The original characters and plot are mine. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This story was done as a request from remanth on DA, for Sherlock Holmes Week 2012. Her prompt was: 'John tells Sherlock his true feelings in the middle of a case.' Hope you guys enjoy! Reviewers are loved :D ~¤Zoffoli
N.B.: This story has been kindly betaed by Veronique Roux in record time. Many thanks! :)
The Adventure of the Blushing Soldier
THIRD LION'S MANE MURDER – SERIAL KILLING CONTINUES
This time the victim is a young man – Harry Stackhurst, 33, a promising accountant who was found yesterday dead in a back street, wearing a fake lion's mane like all previous victims...
John dropped the newspaper on the kitchen's table.
"When are you taking the case?" he asked rather sharply.
"When Lestrade contacts me," Sherlock retorted coldly.
"This is the third victim, Sherlock!" the good doctor exclaimed, outraged.
"And so Lestrade will call. In fact, here he comes."
Indeed, a police car stopped in front of 221B, and soon the D.I.'s steps were heard in the staircase. He burst into their living-room, breath short.
"You really should come to me before number 4," the consulting detective advised off-handedly. "What about you only wait until there's a second victim?"
Lestrade glared, but he gritted his teeth and repressed an outburst. "Will you prevent the fifth one this time too, or not?"
Sherlock smiled up contentedly as he stood, and replied: "Perhaps."
John rolled his eyes, pointing out in a mutter: "I was the one who prevented the fifth one last time, remember?"
The consulting detective glowered at him, but before he could deny the fact, John was breaking eye contact and turning away. Sherlock frowned. Something was off with his flatmate. But before that...
"Fill me in as we go to the crime scene," he told Lestrade, taking his coat as he walked out of the flat.
"You're coming in a police car?" the D.I. Inquired, disbelieving.
"No. You're coming with us in a cab."
~ oOo ~
While Sherlock studied the fourth victim closely – a man again, Frank McPherson – John was studying Sherlock. He'd been doing a lot of that lately – way too much. It also happened that he became aware of it, which did not improve his situation in the least. The moment he had admitted to himself that he was falling in love with Sherlock, and no longer just admiring him and wishing they could remain best friends until the day they died, John had been doomed. The turning point had been when he'd realized his attraction to the detective: self-consciousness only made the pining stronger, and the desire harder to deal with.
John had refused to acknowledge any of these troublesome reactions of his at first, but always his body reminded him that he was condemned to forever long for someone he could never get – and who regularly lay half-naked around his flat. Their flat. It just made John want to hit his head against a wall until he put some sense into it.
He'd been fascinated by Sherlock from day one – dazzled would be a more appropriate term. Sherlock was stunning – not beautiful in any way, with his lanky body, his cadaverous white skin and his eerie blue eyes – but undoubtedly mesmerizing. And, John had soon found out, addictive too. Sherlock had been exactly what he needed upon his return from Afghanistan. He'd been exactly what he always needed, and if they'd met any sooner, John would've probably not left to war at all. In fact, he wanted to never leave again.
Sherlock provided the thrill, the danger and the adventure. He gave the ex-soldier the opportunity to fight, save lives, and elucidate mysteries (even if most of the latter was done by Sherlock himself...) He'd rid John of his limp, had sparked life in him again: out of a cripple, he'd made a hero.
But until that point, John had just thought that he'd be bonded to Sherlock for life, as his doctor, colleague, blogger and friend. He didn't think that prioritizing Sherlock over his girlfriends meant he was gay: it just meant he cared more about his friend than about any of those women. To be fair, Sherlock was also more likely to be exposed to danger and risk his life, which made John's presence by his side all the more necessary. He didn't think either that the fact he'd sacrifice his life to save Sherlock pointed to any romantic attachment. Wouldn't best friends, or brothers by heart, gladly die for each other? It was only natural.
However, getting some very wet dreams, noticing every attractive physical detail (or rather, finding every detail attractive) in his male flatmate when he'd always been straight couldn't bode very well. Finding himself wishing he could taste those full lips, touch the pale throat and get under the skin of this man who was so tortuously and deeply human under his mask of high-functioning sociopath, now that was far too telling to be ignored, or even worse, denied. After months of helpless want and longing, John had been forced to come to terms with it: he could no longer keep up a platonic relationship with Sherlock.
The consulting detective's voice snapped the doctor out of his thoughts and made him jump.
"You're not paying attention at all!" he complained.
"Sorry, I already examined the body, and I'm not especially inclined to keep groping or staring at a cor..."
"I meant to me, John," Sherlock specified curtly as he stood up and went foraging about the scene, John on his heels. "I've been talking to you for at least thirty seconds."
John couldn't repress a tenderly mocking smile from spreading across his face. Not paying attention to you? God, if only... As the scent of the detective hit him like a slap in the face, the doctor felt himself harden and thought this just couldn't go on.
"I think I love you," he confessed precipitately, before he could think twice about it.
"What?" John gaped.
Sherlock frowned in annoyance and clicked his tongue as he walked back towards the police officers.
"Obviously, John. How else could you stand sharing a flat with me? Even I am well aware that I am not the easiest person to live with..."
"No, Sherlock, what I'm trying to say..."
They both looked up to Lestrade, and for once in his life John cursed the timing of the man.
"So? What can you give me?"
"Serial killer is a man – in his forties I'd say – he knows all the victims but not since long, a few days at most. He met them all once, then met with them again "accidentally", which is when he killed them."
"How can you possibly..."
Sherlock bent above the corps and pointed to the many cuts and scratches on the whole body.
"All these have been made after the victim was killed – poisoned, like all the others, even though they all had a different drink – but this one was hit on the head once before he died. He probably refused to follow the killer wherever the latter intended to bring him and have a 'drink' with him, so he was knocked out."
"But the victims have nothing in common!" Lestrade exclaimed.
"Yes, they do: the lion's mane," Sherlock said with a mysterious smirk, before he turned to leave.
"Wha... Wait, Sherlock!"
"Find me what the victims wore every day during the week they were killed!" the infuriating genius added. Before the D.I. Could say anything, he'd jumped into a cab with John, and was gone.
Lestrade let out a resigned sigh, and wondered how Sherlock always managed to hail a cabbie so damn quickly.
~ oOo ~
"So..." John began, feeling a bit awkward. But Sherlock mistook the object of his confusion, and thought his friend was just at a loss concerning the case at hand.
"So the killer chose the victims according to a certain pattern, but he didn't kill them the first time they met. They all trusted him to some extent, but not as you would trust a friend – in all likelihood he just met them on the street or some other public place, and then arranged to run into them again and offer them a drink. For some reason he must have come across as friendly and interesting, otherwise they wouldn't have accepted his offer. Well, the last one didn't, obviously..."
"But what's with the mane?" the doctor asked, so enthralled by Sherlock's deductions he'd forgotten all about his own problem.
Sherlock frowned pensively – or perhaps, in annoyance. "Don't have enough data yet. But it's probably linked to the place he met them."
The rest of the ride back was spent in silence.
~ oOo ~
Once they were back at the flat, Sherlock resumed experimenting in the kitchen, waiting for Lestrade to text him the answer to his question – the data he needed to solve the case. John had no idea where he stood, and for the life of it he couldn't understand his friend's reaction to his confession at the crime scene. Hesitantly, he walked to the kitchen and decided to take the bull by the horns.
"Sherlock. About what I said back at..."
"Sorry John, I'm busy. Just a minute."
He took a finger out of a jar, put it in another one, and went back to his microscope. John waited a minute.
"Oh, John! Sorry, I had forgotten you. Can't we talk later? This is very delicate..."
"Sherlock, I'm in love with you!" John suddenly burst out, now clearly exasperated with his friend's attitude and utter lack of tact.
Sherlock froze. After a few seconds, he finally looked up at his flatmate.
"Umm... that's not good, is it?" he inquired, his voice unsure.
"You tell me."
The poor detective was so puzzled and confused he had no idea what to answer. John was usually the one telling him what was good or not, so how could his friend expect him to know such things?
"So... are we supposed to do something about it?" he asked tentatively.
John shook his head in despair.
"I guess not. It's all right. I'll just go and pack."
At this, Sherlock jolted.
"Pack? Why? Where are you going?"
"Were you even listening to what I said?"
"Of course, I..."
"I'm attracted to you, Sherlock!" John exploded. "Do you understand that concept? At-trac-ted. It means I can't just stay here when you're lying around the flat half-naked!"
Sherlock gave an offended moue.
"I don't lie ar..." He protested, but John didn't let him finish.
"Yes, you do."
"But so do you! When you're in that white bathrobe after you've showered..."
"And that's the problem!" John snapped. Sherlock fell quiet, wordless.
They stood there, facing each other, for a few dreadful seconds. Then the detective remarked dumbly:
"But you're not gay."
"John... I'm not sure how you could've missed that, but... I'm a man."
The doctor rolled his eyes.
"Of course I know you're man! That's the whole issue."
Sherlock frowned in confusion.
"Why is it an issue?"
"Nevermind. Just... no, forget it." He shook his head for the umpteenth time and turned to leave.
John stopped dead in his track, and took a deep breath – bracing himself for what was to come. Sherlock went on.
"I told you the second day we met..."
The doctor smiled wistfully.
"I know. You're married to your work. And that's fine, Sherlock, that's perfectly fine. I'm the problem, here. I'm sorry."
Sherlock arched an eyebrow.
"That's not what I was going to say. But... I told you, this isn't my area. I don't bother with it – I just don't want to take the trouble."
John closed his eyes as his heart sank in his chest. His face, however, remained in check, his composure military.
"But I would take the trouble with you."
John's eyes snapped open as his brain registered the words that had just been uttered.
"What?" He stuttered.
Sherlock sent him a somewhat wavering smile.
"I only have one friend, after all."
John stared, speechless.
"Sherlock, this isn't just friendsh..."
"I don't care what you call it." Sherlock shrugged. "It's just you, and me. If our partnership works, what does it matter what we call it?"
"It matters because... God, Sherlock, do you really understand the meaning of attraction?"
Sherlock tilted his head to the side.
"Of course. You want to have sex with me."
John almost choked himself, so surprised he was by the unexpected bluntness of his flatmate.
"You... what... but... You don't want me, Sherlock."
Sherlock stood up, sighing exasperatedly. He started pacing around the room, his steps nervous.
"I don't know what you want to hear from me, John. I can't say I want to sleep with you – but I wouldn't mind. I... When I'm on a case, or when I'm home, I... it's good to have you around. When you examine me, or when you accidentally – or not so accidentally – touch me... I don't mind."
Before John could reply anything, Sherlock's phone rang: it was a text, but as it was from Lestrade, the detective instantly picked it up and scanned the screen, completely dropping the conversation.
"Sherlock, we were just talk..."
"Sorry, John." He took a pen lying on the table and scribbled an address on a piece on paper, then handed it to his partner. "Could you go to this address and talk to the victim's mother? I need to know what she was wearing, every day of the week prior to her death. I probably wouldn't be very good at it, so..."
"Definitely not," John concurred bitterly. Grabbing the piece of paper, he left the flat without a word, and didn't notice Sherlock's lingering gaze on his back as he marched out.
~ oOo ~
Interrogating the victim's mother turned out to be more difficult than expected. The poor woman was a wreck, and it was the dead girl's younger teen sister who answered John's questions. He noted down everything in his notebook, then thanked them and took his leave.
He was quite glad to be getting back to Baker Street, so they could solve this case (OK, so Sherlock could solve this case) and finally do some serous talking. This just wasn't going to work. His plan was delayed, however, when a classy black car stopped next to him, and he was kindly asked to come.
"Dr. Watson!" Mycroft greeted with one of his perfunctory smiles. "How ave you been doing lately? Not so well, I presume. Well, have a seat, make yourself at home."
"No, thank you. Mine is perfectly fine."
"Yes. Or so I gathered."
Big Brother's curtly tone made John wish he hadn't got into the car after all.
"So... all is out in the open now, isn't it?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You finally reached your limit and told Sherlock you loved him. Didn't you?"
John clenched his fist, and he glared at Mycroft heatedly.
"How is that any of your business? Just what kind of surveillance are we under anyway?"
The British government greeted the outburst coldly.
"He is my only brother. Surely you must understand."
"I don't," John retorted flatly. "And I'm out of here." He effectively turned to leave, but was stopped again at the door when Mycroft said:
"Do you know Sherlock is a virgin, Dr. Watson?"
"Yes, I am quite aware."
Mycroft's gaze became intense.
"Some people did try to approach him in his life. Even you, on the second day you met..."
"I know. But Sherlock thought you were at first, and he did turn you down. This time, he didn't, did he? Don't you find that telling enough?"
John frowned, annoyed and disbelieving.
"Are you saying Sherlock is interested in me?" He asked, his tone disbelieving, laced with sarcasm.
"No. What I'm saying is that in the span of just one year or so, he changed his mind and now deems you're worth the trouble. And that's the only love confession you can expect from him, I'm afraid."
John remained silent, his gaze pensive.
"I believe Sherlock can no longer imagine his every day life without you in it," Mycroft went on, his tone undoubtedly disapproving. "Oh well. He could've picked worse."
"Oh, thank you," John commented wryly. His mocking expression fell when he saw Big Brother's graveness, and his almost threatening gaze.
"I expect you to take your responsibilities. We wouldn't want him to go back to some more disastrous addictions now, would we?"
The only answer Mycroft got was the door being slammed in his face.
~ oOo ~
After this, a few days passed, and John had the distinct impression that Sherlock was preparing something crazy. And dangerous. The detective, however, denied it all, and John didn't dare insist. Every time they tried to resume their serious discussion – serious to John, anyway – they were interrupted: either by Mrs. Hudson, a new client, or Lestrade filling Sherlock in on what the victims had worn the week they died.
"And how is that any relevant? We need to find the killer before he strikes again, Sherlock!" the D.I. told him once.
"Of course. Just wait and see. We will find him."
Naturally, Lestrade didn't understand at all, and left, irritated. As for John, it took him another two days to catch up, and fortunately, he was just on time.
He'd gone grocery shopping in the morning, and when he came back, Sherlock was nowhere to be found. Surprised, John texted him several times, but he never answered. As he sat to the living-room table to go on his blog, he saw in his history that Sherlock had been looking at Trafalgar Square. He stared at the screen in confusion, until it hit him: the fountain. The lions. The lion's mane. So he had found where the killer met his victims for the first time... John froze. Oh no.
As he rushed out of the flat and into a cab, he dialled Lestrade's number, panic filling his chest.
"Hello, Greg? Yes, it's John. I need you to tell me exactly what you told Sherlock about all the victims' clothes."
It turned out they had all been wearing red at one point in the week – something very noticeable, such as a coat or a dress.
"Anything else in common?" John pressed.
"Sorry, but we couldn't find anything."
John hung up, and prayed that he wouldn't be too late.
~ oOo ~
Sherlock had indeed gone to Trafalgar Square – but that was five days ago. From then on, he had waited for the killer to find him again. He had made sure when he'd gone to be wearing a brand new red coat he'd bought for the occasion (and personally found horrendous), and to smoke as he crossed the square, walking past the lions. And as expected (but that was, after all, a lucky guess, and Sherlock was thrilled), he had been approached by a man, in his forties, who asked him if he had a light. The stranger was amiable and Sherlock was forced to admire his eloquence, and how easily they began a conversation. That was true talent, he mused. The killer knew how to gauge his victims, and what to tell them exactly so they would feel safe, and trust him.
Sherlock finally said he was in a hurry, and left the man there, but he was sure to meet him "accidentally" again within a week.
The hardest part had been not to let John know. If he had, there was no doubt he wouldn't have approved of such a "dangerous" plan, unless he was to serve as bait himself. So selfish, Sherlock thought. I need my measure of thrill too.
And so he had kept it a secret from his friend and colleague. However, he knew John's help – his gun, and his talents as a shooter, more precisely – would be needed eventually. That is why he ignored his texts until the man he knew to be the killer offered to have a drink at his place, and they arrived there. At this point, Sherlock texted John the address, the floor, and even the door number.
"Your girlfriend?" asked Ben – for that was the name under which he had introduced himself. In fact, it could very well be his true name.
Sherlock smiled up to him.
"So you have a flatmate? Funny, at your age... No offence."
"I'm not offended. People often wonder," Sherlock commented as he entered the flat. "Nice, your place."
"Thanks! So, what do you want to drink?"
"Coffee would be perfect."
Ben grinned. "Coffee it is, then!"
He went into the kitchen as Sherlock studied the room. Nothing unusual to be noticed, the man truly was ingenuous. Not enough to fool a Holmes, though. The whole aspect of the flat was too elaborated to be real. Everything had been put into place so he, Sherlock (or who the killer had deduced he was) would feel at ease. But this time, the player had been played.
"Here's your coffee."
They sat, and Sherlock stared at the cup. He checked the time on his mobile phone, and then started his show.
"So, how did you make the last one drink it?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Your last victim. He obviously refused to come up here, since you had to knock him out. So how did you manage to make him drink?"
Something feral lit up in the man's eyes, and the mask was dropped at once as he pointed a gun at Sherlock. The detective rolled his eyes. "Not again."
"Who are you?"
"What kind of name is that? Your real name."
"It is my real name!" Sherlock protested, piqued by the remark. Stupid murderer.
A grin spread on the killer's face.
"Well, Sherlock, since you know how it works, it will be easier. Drink, and let's be done with it."
"I'm curious, though. Why Trafalgar Square? And why the red?"
Ben's grin widened crookedly.
"No reason, that's the brilliance of it. Just like the French Surrealists. You pick a pattern at random, and you create something out of it. Isn't it wonderful?"
Sherlock stared. So the man was a psychopath. Well... now was a good time for John to arrive. He had barely finished the thought when the door was slammed open and John burst in, holding his gun fast, pointing it at Ben the moment he took the scene in. Sherlock used the occasion and Ben's surprise to disarm him, kicking his hand and sending the gun a few meters away.
"Don't. Move." John growled, his gaze fixed on the madman.
"Oh. So you're the flatmate. Hahaha, funny one, Sherlock, funny one! Hahaha..."
He kept laughing when the police arrived to arrest him just a minute later. Sherlock didn't need to thank John for that: he had known the moment he sent the address that John would rush to his side, but would still text Lestrade in the process, so they wouldn't end up killed by a psychopath just because they'd been unnecessarily reckless...
"John," Sherlock began, as he walked up to his partner. But the doctor glowered.
"You. I could punch you right now. What the hell did you think you were doing, leaving on your own all over again? What if I hadn't made it in time?"
Sherlock furrowed his brow.
"But John, it was perfectly calculated, you couldn't have made it la..."
"You're such a selfish bastard!" John abruptly exclaimed. "I can't believe you went off like this again after what happened at the Pool..." And when I'd just told you I loved you. But that's besides the point, he added mentally, dejected.
"John, I'm sor..."
"Forget it," the doctor interrupted, suddenly aware people had been staring – mostly, Lestrade and Sergeant Donovan. "Let's go home. We need to talk."
And as he marched out, Sherlock followed sheepishly.
The ride back was quiet, but once they arrived to the flat and the door was closed behind them, John's mood flared up again.
"Tell me why you've acted so irresponsibly."
"For goodness' sake, John, this wasn't irresponsible! Not any more than most of the things we do..."
"You could've been killed..."
"Is that anything new?"
"But I wasn't there to..."
"Yes, you were. You got there in time. And this time, I promise I knew you would," he added softly, referring to their very first case together when he hadn't in fact known that John would find him and come to the rescue.
At the unexpectedly gentle tone, John fell quiet and felt himself melt uncontrollably.
"...Right. Sorry for snapping at you. Just... don't do it again. Please. Just let me in next time."
An awkward silence stretched and made the atmosphere in the room rather oppressive, when John finally broke the tension.
"So... you consider me as a friend. Your one friend."
His tone wasn't inquiring, but his voice was so filled with doubt and confusion Sherlock thought he should still answer, and break the ice.
"Well, you're much better than the skull..." he replied, a smile playing on his lips.
"Damn the skull!" John cursed, making his friend start. "Oh, nevermind. Scratch this."
He turned to the door and left in a fury – or perhaps, too desperate for words. Sherlock stared, nonplussed.
He turned to the skull with an arched eyebrow.
"What is wrong with him?"
The skull did not reply.
~ oOo ~
Sherlock had been staring into emptiness for two hours or so when he made up his mind. It was impossible to sleep anyway. John's words kept echoing in his mind, chasing any form of slumber away. Oh nevermind. Scratch this. The detective certainly did not want to scratch anything, especially not where John was concerned. That word on his partner's lips was something he found he profoundly resented: Nevermind. As if John was giving up on him. On them.
Sherlock stood, determined to prove him wrong, and snap him out of it once and for all. He made his way through the living-room and silently to the door that led to the stairs – to John's room. As he walked up the steps quietly, familiar with the creaking ones and avoiding them expertly, he thought this was one of the silliest thing he'd do in his life – and one of the most important, too. Once he arrived in front of his friend's door, he halted, and tentatively brought his hand to the handle. Taking a deep breath, he frowned in determination, very much like a child (though he was, fortunately, unaware of it – he would have been mortified by the comparison), and pushed the door open silently. The room wasn't as dark as he'd expected: John apparently slept without closing his window shutters.
Before he could think any more about it, Sherlock closed the door behind him and crept in his flatmate's bed, sneaking as close as he could... until he came face to face with a gun.
"John, as exciting as I find myself being held at gunpoint, I wouldn't be very enthused to be shot in bed, thank you very much."
"Sher... Sherlock? What the h... What do you think you're doing?"
"Seducing you. I think."
"Listen, John... This is stupid."
"You come up to my bed in the middle of the night and then you tell me this is stupid?"
"I meant you. Us." He added precipitately, noting the hardened gaze of his flatmate. "I don't want you to leave. You love me, so you can't possibly want to leave me either. It is in our mutual interest to..."
"Sherlock, this isn't about mutual interest."
"Yes, it is," Sherlock insisted. "You have to understand." He grabbed John by the face, very much like he had on that day when they were looking for the yellow ciphers and they had disappeared from the wall. "Just think, John. You got used to heads in the fridge and violin at three in the morning. I will never take up smoking again, not to mention drugs, because I know you disapprove. All this in our mutual interest. Because we want to stay together. Am I right?"
John was flabbergasted and gaped, speechless, at Sherlock's figure in the dark. It all sounded crazy to him, but he decided he should try to understand how the genius detective saw the world for once, and most of all, their relationship.
"Am I right?" repeated Sherlock.
"Yes," John replied because he wanted to hear more.
"Then sex and romance are no different. I told you, those are not my area. I find them bothersome and pointless, just like I find crap telly and Cluedo stupid and pointless. But when there's nothing else to do and you want to find me some occupation because you find me even more insufferable than usual, I will keep watching crap telly with you. I will keep playing Cluedo with you. It is no waste of time if I do it with you: we both have to compromise. Isn't that how it works?"
"What?" John asked, overwhelmed by the words of his friend.
"A relationship," Sherlock dead-panned.
"You think we're in a relationship?"
"A relationship is just a relation between two people, John."
"We'll really have to share the same dictionary some day..."
Repressing a sigh, Sherlock let go of John's face and let his hands fall onto his flatmate's shoulders in a friendlier touch.
"What I'm trying to say is that... In the end, sex and romance won't change anything. Not fundamentally anyway. It isn't something I've tried so I can't tell, but it doesn't matter. You being here matters." Then, in a more tentative voice, for he was beginning to fear that John wasn't getting a word of what he was saying: "I'd be lost without my blogger."
John just lay there in shock. He'd never thought of it that way. That Sherlock was worth all compromises. He couldn't believe he'd been ready to leave for good just because he wasn't capable of dealing with his own bloody libido. When Sherlock hadn't reacted like everyone else would have, either rejecting him or falling in his arms, he'd assumed this was hopeless – when in fact, Sherlock had been trying to find a solution for them to stay together from the very beginning. "So... are we supposed to do something about it?" We. He'd said we. He had never even considered the possibility of them parting. It hadn't been an option. I have been such a fool, John berated himself mentally. How could I have possibly expected Sherlock to react like everyone else? Under this new light, his own behaviour appeared very much like emotional blackmail.
"I'm sorry. Please forget it. I don't want to force you into..."
But before John could finish his sentence, a pair of fleshy lips crushed on his and swallowed his exclamation.
"What the... Sherlock! What was that?" he protested as soon as he could speak again.
"A kiss." Obviously, said the tone.
Sherlock studied John's face closely in the semi-darkness.
"You didn't find it pleasant," he remarked disappointedly, clearly piqued.
John blinked, then stared. Finally, he couldn't help but chuckle. Sherlock looked up, quite offended.
"Are you mocking me?"
John snuggled up to him and murmured. "I'm just curious to know your definition of a kiss."
Sherlock furrowed his brow in annoyance. "Pressing your mouth onto someone else's?"
John nuzzled against his partner's chest to stifle a giggle, but only made it more obvious. At this point, Sherlock was getting quite irritated, and was determined to show John that he could kiss properly. He dived in abruptly, surprising the doctor and intending to crush his lips to his once more. But John avoided the contact and instead straightened up at the last moment, kissing the detective's nose. Sherlock was so startled he froze on the spot.
"Sorry, Sherlock. You're such a bad kisser. Your nose isn't half bad."
The detective was so miffed he was about to turn and walk out, but John held him securely back, and gently, very, very slowly, brushed his lips against Sherlock's. He heard his friend's breath catch in his throat, and smiled against the quivering mouth – hoping, hoping it was trembling with anticipation, and not fear, or disgust. It was too late to stop and think though, so John just pressed in further, caressing the full lower lip with his thumb, tracing the upper one with his tongue; relishing the shiver that ran through his friend's body. Letting his hand slide behind Sherlock's neck, he stroked his nape, massaging the muscles softly, all the way up behind the ear, kneading the base of his scalp. An imperceptible whimper he elicited from the detective was enough to boost his confidence, and as his hand ran through the abundant curls, he deepened the kiss, silently pleading for an access he was soon granted. Smiling into the embrace, he felt himself melt into the cherished scent and taste he had stopped hoping for, but never ceased to desire. Whatever happens henceforth, I'm the luckiest man in the world, he mused.
When they broke the kiss, John rested his forehead against Sherlock's, and waited. As his flatmate wasn't making any comment, he asked hesitantly:
"How was it?"
"Wet," came the honest reply.
John was so disappointed he didn't even hear the teasing tone. "Ah." He replied dumbly. Then, barely hiding the annoyance and the desperation: "Nothing else?"
Sherlock smirked in the dark.
"Umm... I'm not sure. Won't you do it again?"
This time, the playfully taunting tone couldn't be missed, and John heard it without a doubt. Something fluttered in his chest – something very akin to hope, very akin to pining.
"You liked it."
"Maybe. Can't we double-check? Just to make sure..."
"Oh, God yes."
And so it happened they spent the rest of the night double-checking and double-checking again.
To this day, they're still trying to make sure.
The End :)