Sherlock shuffled his weight against the barstool. "John…there's something you should know."

The doctor gave Lestrade a quick glance before nodding. "Okay. Whatever it is, Sherlock, we'll deal with it."

"I don't think I'm in your life by mistake."

John let out a breath. "Well if that's your way of saying we're meant to be together, you're going to have you work on your lines, mate."

"No, I mean, I don't think we met by happenstance. I think Mycroft had something to do with it. He's always wanting me to have a handler and he would have had access to your files. I don't know his relation to Stamford but we can't put anything past him." He looked at John's unchanged expression. "Why aren't you reacting?"

"This is supposed to be a surprise? Don't know if you remember or not, but he dragged me to an abandoned warehouse just hours after we moved in together."

"That would make sense if you burrowed your way into my life and he had to break in to put a stop to it if he thought you were a threat. But I'm saying what if that's not it, what if you were chosen? What if he manufactured our meeting?"

"Then call him here so I can shake his hand."

Sherlock blinked.

"But-"

Lestrade patted him on the shoulder. "Still with us?"

"You're not upset. Neither of you was upset by this idea. How?"

"So what if Mycroft forced you on us? Best thing to happen, really." John finished off his beer. "It doesn't change anything. If a puppy was dumped in my garden, I wouldn't blame the mutt for ending up there. Especially not after realising how good he is at fetch."

Lestrade laughed but Sherlock kept his eyes on the table. "Dogs don't ever become independent."

John's eyes widened as he realised he'd backed himself into the metaphor. "Well, right. But they still grow. And often the owner needs the dog just as much as the dog needs him." He stumbled over owner but Sherlock didn't cling onto it. "Just because they piss on the carpet now and then doesn't mean they're sent to the pound."

"And when they try to eat their own shit, or run into traffic, you guide them in the right direction," Lestrade said. "Even if they don't know that's what's best for them."

Sherlock sat with his thoughts for a moment before answering. "I've always considered myself more of a cat."

"Distant, moody, posh? Want affection even if they don't know how to show it?" John winked. "Doesn't sound like you at all."