"Faggot! Freak!"

The accusations were not unfamiliar to John, as he sat at his lunch table with the rest of the rugby team and their girlfriends, and they were always leveled at the same person, sitting half-way across the room.

The first time he had heard the words—really heard them for what they were and who they were spoken to—John had stood in rage and was half-way to punching the lights out of the culprits when he caught the raven-haired boy's engaging eyes, which told him to stop. And those eyes he could never resist.

"It will ruin your reputation," Sherlock panted in between apology kisses behind the shed after school, "You're captain of the team. You need the respect of your players." That was part of the problem. The tormentors were two of his players.

John had protested, of course, but arguing with Sherlock was really no use. He had learned that long ago.

"Homo!"

John tried not to wince too noticeably.

"You want to suck my dick?" the first boy said.

"Yeah, does that turn you on, you cock-sucker?"

John balled his hands into fists and took a deep, steadying breath. They were in rare form today.

Without looking, John knew that Sherlock was leveling one of his more disdainful looks at the two boys.

"Watcha lookin' at, fairy princess?" The sound of a slap rang out through the cafeteria, and before John knew exactly what he was doing, he had risen from his seat, ignoring the questions from the girls across from him, and the boys next to him, all of whom thought nothing of the taunts.

"Did you like that, freak? Shall I do it again?" The boy was so intent on getting Sherlock to react that he didn't notice John coming up behind him. He slapped the younger boy again, Sherlock's pale skin turning red from the impact. The bully was going in for a punch when John stepped smoothly between him and Sherlock. He blocked the punch effortlessly, and returned the favor. He punched harder than he meant to, and he heard a sickening crack as his fist collided with his teammate's nose.

"Don't you dare hurt him, you understand?" John made his voice as authoritative as he could, projecting throughout the suddenly-silent cafeteria.

John turned to Sherlock, giving him a hand up to stand and pulling him close, wrapping a protective arm around his waist.

"Oh, yeah? What's it to you?" the thus-far-unharmed bully shouted back.

Sherlock rolled his eyes and gave John a look that said if they hadn't figured it out by now, he would be safe to just go back to the team table without any more fuss. Instead, John kissed his boyfriend.

Sherlock tried to pull away after a moment, but John wanted the statement to be made right, and when he slipped his tongue past Sherlock's lips, the other boy seemed to understand that, for he wrapped his arms around John's neck, and kissed back.

A moment later they separated for air, and seemed to remember where they were. Still, they stood staring at each other for a moment, adoringly.

"Does that give you a hint, Anderson?" John snapped, turning to face the two tormentors. He almost laughed at the surprise on their faces.


Also on AO3 - /works/5629183