AN: Heya! this is my September prompt from the fabulous loveretrevier. Go give her love.

Rules:

- Main pairing is non-canon compliant
- One character of your choice must cough every time another character speaks to him/her
- 100+ words (2415 words whoops)
- Use the words "elegant" and "sea"
- Genre: anything EXCEPT angst or tragedy

This is my first time writing anything for Sherlock. Sorry if it's pants.


'Come one John, work is unimportant! Come help me identify the cause of death, it's really not hard!' Sherlock had practically begged over the phone. John smirked a little.
'What was that about work? I thought work was all you had?' He gently teased. John could practically see Sherlock roll his eyes.
'John don't be obtuse. Your work is unimportant, mine is. Obviously.' John rolled his eyes in turn. 'Obviously' he mouthed back, shaking his head. There was a pause in the conversation. Then – 'Please, John. It's not the same by myself' Sherlock admitted. John blinked. When you put it that way… 'Well – I guess I could pretend to have a fever-' he started, when the detective cut him off as if he hadn't sounded close to tears.
'Great. I'll text you the address. Be there in 5 minutes.' John blinked again as he was hung up on. What an odd interaction. And why didn't he text me in the first place? John wondered as he pulled on his coat. It looked like rain.

*5 minutes 48 seconds later*

'You're late.' Was the greeting John received at Molly's flat. He sighed. So it was going to be one of those days. He nodded to Lestrade, who looked as glum as ever. The man really needed a girl in his life. He made his way over to Sherlock, who dominated the tiny kitchen.
'So, what's happened?' he asked Molly who looked rather pale sitting next to the counter. Her head snapped up when he spoke.
'John! I didn't hear you come in, oh um, well I found a body in my garden I'm not sure why perhaps someone was trying to frame me but I don't know who would or the body for that matter I mean it looks similar but-' she rambled on, John nodding whilst scribbling as much as he could in his notebook. A scoff made him pause.
'Clearly,' Sherlock began. John winced inwardly. It really was one of those days. 'Someone was trying to frame you. No motive, no knowledge of the victim, and an alibi. Someone really went to great lengths to make us believe you were the murderer' Sherlock finished patronisingly. Molly flushed and looked down to the counter top. John sighed. He really hated these sorts of days. Sherlock's gaze snapped to him, expression indescribable.
'Well, it could have been a frame job, couldn't it? It would be rather farfetched to believe, and it would take someone immensely stupid to try and pull it off, but it's still plausible.' John stated calmly. He hated when Sherlock tried to put Molly or Lestrade down, and they knew it. Molly shot John a quick smile of thanks, whilst Sherlock frowned at him.
'I suppose.' He said at last. 'Let's go look at the body then. Shall we?' Sherlock left the room with little flourish. John frowned at his back. Was it just him, or was Sherlock acting off around him lately? First calling instead of texting, now letting John win an argument? What was going on?

Sherlock was hunched over the body already when John finally joined him. John kneeled down next to him with a huff. Sherlock glanced at the noise.
'I'm an old soldier, Sherlock,' John grinned as an explanation. Sherlock scrutinised his face.
'You still look plenty young to me,' he started before cutting himself off with – was that a blush?! – on his checks. John blinked at him, again. Was that meant to be a compliment? He shook his head. He had always been rubbish with platonic relationships, at least normal ones, so Sherlock's odd emotional detachment had always suited him. Not when it came to leaving him for two years, but usually it suited him. This new, badly timed, ill-thought out semi-compliments were really worrying John. Was it the older man's way of apologising? John just coughed a laugh and tried to focus on the body, ignoring Sherlock's side glances at him. Perhaps if he acted like nothing was different then this development would go away. Ha, I sound like Mycroft, John chuckled to himself.
'Well? Do you see anything?' Sherlock's voice broke John out of his thoughts.
'Ah yes right, um,' John quickly examined the body. 'It seems to me the poor bugger was strangled. Obviously not by Molly, the fingertips are too large to be hers.'
'Not too large to be a woman's?' Sherlock interjected.
'No. Don't be sexist. Where was I…?' John trailed off, missing the smirk of Sherlock's face. 'Ah yes. He has a cut on his face, likely from a knife of some sort, or a razor judging from the depth and length of the scar. His jeans are a little wet near the bottom, so he was probably dragged not carried. So the murderer was a person with large hands, but is fairly weak.' John finished, looking at Sherlock expectantly.
'Well done.' Sherlock smiled. John blinked yet again. Did he… actually approve? 'You missed all the vital clues, and the telltale marks that truly identify the murderer and the crime scene but well done nonetheless.' Ah, there was the familiar mockery. John almost sighed in relief. He almost missed the calculating gleam in Sherlock's eye as he spouted off a list of all the things John had missed. Almost.

*later*

After Sherlock had finished showing off his massive intellect to everyone gathered, the police force had escorted them to the site of the murder. Or at least, the place Sherlock claimed the murder had taken place. John shifted in his seat. Something was definitely up with his flatmate. Having mourned his best friend's death, gotten engaged without him, gotten used to life without him, had him slam back into his life, find out his fiancée was cheating on him, move back in with him, John wasn't sure where their friendship stood anymore. He had seriously considered asking Sherlock to be the best man at his wedding before it was called off. But sometimes, when Sherlock thought he wasn't looking, he could feel Sherlock studying him. He didn't know why. He didn't want to know why. After all the shit that had happened since the 'Fall', he just wanted things to be normal. So he pretended their relationship was normal. He had to. He valued what little they had too much to do otherwise. John caught Sherlock's eye in the wing view mirror. He grinned before turning to face the blurred outside again. He felt the stare of a genius on his cheek. He pretended not to notice. He hoped that Sherlock would in turn ignore the blush that seemed to be creeping on his cheeks.

*Later, at an underused river bridge in Kent*

'What are we even doing here' John moaned as Sherlock rushed off to do whatever it was he did. Lestrade looked at him, coughed to clear his throat, when Sherlock practically materialised next to him.
'Come, John. I need your opinion on something.' He commanded before striding away. John sighed. He longed for a nice cup of tea, his feet up, watching some sitcom – 'Now John!' the shorted man hurried after him. Lestrade coughed a chuckle.
'They're so whipped…' he muttered to himself. He coughed again. He really needed to buy some cough drops on the way home.

Sherlock was standing over a river bank when John finally caught up to him. 'You know,' John started reproachfully 'I have far shorter legs than you. A little consideration would be nice.' Sherlock inclined his head slightly, as if to acknowledge John had spoken but not been heard. 'What did you want to show –'
'This tributary leads to a fast flowing river, which leads to an estuary. That in turn leads to the sea. The Thames also leads to the sea, but it does not connect with this river.' Sherlock interrupted. John blinked. That was unexpected.
'Well, yes I suppose. But what does that have to do with the case?' John asked only to be greeted with silence. He sighed. 'Sherlock, seriously. What does this river have to do with the body in Molly's garden?' He asked. Again no response. John sighed, and watched the river. 'It is a nice river,' he admitted to the stoic figure beside him 'and I think it's nice that all these little streams will always lead up to one big mass of water.' Sherlock stiffened beside him.
'But they all lead to the same thing.' He said, slowly, as if he was sad. John glanced at him.
'Well… yes? Isn't that what you said?' Sherlock looked pensive.
'Unfortunately.' He turned away. 'Come, I have all the data I need from this area.' He called over his shoulder. John glowered at the retreating back. He never understood that man.

-Scene change-

'Lestrade! You know Molly's area the best. Is there any body of water around there?' Sherlock barked at the man, as he strode over. John trailed behind, lost in thought. Lestrade jumped at the sound, and coughed as he turned to face the detective.
'Ah, I suppose I do,' he nervously chuckled. John raised an eyebrow. They'd been spending time together, had they? This is going straight in my blog, John sniggered to himself. His little cult followers would be so pleased with this development. 'Anyway, there's this nice park with a lake in about 2 minutes away from Molly's.' Lestrade was saying to Sherlock who listened intently.
'Are there any streams leading to it? Sherlock asked quickly. Lestrade looked taken aback, and coughed before answering.
'Well, no. It's a council installation, innit? The blokes kept a fountain there to change the water up but it kept breaking s it's always covered in algae.' He finished, not at all intimidated by Sherlock's impassive stare over his head. The detective pursed his lips.
'I think,' he began, 'I have this case solved. Let us go back.' John and Lestrade both looked at him in surprise. That was fast work, even for the younger Holmes, especially with the lack of evidence.

*back at Molly's*

The police car pulled up outside Molly's terrace house. John got out, and waited for Sherlock to stop texting to get out as well. Sherlock finally exited and saw John waiting expectantly. The taller man sighed.
'Look John. It was a random murder, a scuffle over drugs.' John blinked, for what felt the 100th time that day in surprise.
'How'd you figure that out?' He asked finally. Sherlock shrugged.
'Traces of narcotics in his pockets, and this area is well known for fighting within gangs. Checked with my homeless network and they have finally confirmed that it was a misunderstanding between two gangs.' John looked at him in shock. His initial reaction to shout 'Amazing!' or 'How?' or 'Your cheekbones look really nice when you wear that coat' were all suppressed, to be thought about later.
'How,' John decided on at last, 'did you - actually, never mind that, why did we go to that place in Kent then? What did that have to do with anything?' Sherlock had the nerve to look a little hurt.
'What, no words of praise for my brilliant deduction?' Sherlock asked, pulling a face. John decided that it could be called pouting, and that it could be called attractive if one was into that sort of thing.
'I'll give you 'words of praise' when you do something praise worthy you arse' John retorted. Sherlock's mouth twitched.
'Why don't you go back to the flat and get the kettle on. I'll tell Molly the body was simply an accident.' As he turned to go into their friend's house, John called after him.
'You didn't answer my question!' Sherlock simply waved a hand in dismissal. John growled a little. Damn that man, and his elegant hand waves. John called a cab. He really needed a cup of tea.

*evening*

'Joohn!' The deep voice called him down to the kitchen. John ambled down, half asleep.
'What dya want now Sherlock?' He grumbled as he stepped into the kitchen. Sherlock glanced at him, and turned to face him.
'I felt we needed to talk about this.' He said simply. John rubbed his face. He was way too tired for this conversation.
'Look Sherlock, can we talk about it in the morning? I'm way too tired –' Sherlock cut him off.
'No this needs to be said.' Blue eyes looked straight into grey. 'Although you are mostly ignorant of your surroundings ('Thanks' muttered John) you must have noticed this. There is a tension in the air.' John looked at him sharply. Sherlock looked back at him, face emotionless – no, hesitant, scared even. 'I… have had trouble identifying what it is I feel. Towards you.' John raised his eyebrows in surprise. 'I understand you are usually attracted to women. But hear me out. I really want our relationship to be taken to another level. I-' Sherlock's breath caught in his throat. John was frozen in place. 'I really, really like you John. I want us to be together, in more way than we are. I know your past relationships haven't worked out, and I've been worrying that the same would happen to us. But I've decided that whilst what we have is comfortable and well know, chasing the unknown would be far more fun, wouldn't you agree?' The detective finished, looking at John expectantly. Of course, being the smooth talker he was, John blurted out:
'So that's what those compliments have been about!' he exclaimed. Sherlock chuckled, albeit a little relieved, and moved closer to him.
'I'm glad you noticed.' Sherlock slowly, as if not to frighten him, brushed the back of his hand down Johns face. John took a little step back.
'Look, Sherlock,' he began quickly seeing the hurt on his friends face 'I'm not saying no but I'm not saying yes right now either. I just need some time to think.' He hurriedly explained. Sherlock smirked.
'Of course' his voice much deeper that it had been previously. He moved closer again. 'And when you're ready, well' he moved his mouth closer to johns ear, 'You know where to find me' the taller man practically purred before stalking off into his room. As the door slammed, John shivered.
'Fuck this,' he muttered and strode confidently down the corridor. He was only going in to get the last say, that was all. If anything happened after that, well. He could blame it on Sherlock and those damn cheekbones of his.


Please review! And tell me if I've used apostrophes wrong, I'm kinda useless at them.