I'm nervous, he realizes as he changes shirts yet again. Why is he nervous? He's known John for over two years. They've been friends almost the entire time, and it's been more than a year since he was John's patient. So why is he nervous? He shouldn't be nervous.
"You're nervous because it's the first time you've gone out on a date, with your first real significant other, and you're worried about cocking it up," Jim announces as the agent appears behind, leaning against the door stop lazily, meeting his gaze in the mirror he's currently looking at.
"Am not," he protests, even though the words sound false to himself and he has to internally admit that's exactly what he is worried about.
"Wear the red shirt or the indigo shirt," the psychopath suggests, "Your clothing tastes have improved over the years, but I still have a better fashion sense."
"Fashion," he snorts, "how bor-ring."
Snickering his unusual friend says nothing else, simply watches as he changes into the purple shirt.
"What do you want Jim?" he eventually asks as he grabs the black jacket to pull on.
"Nothing much, Jasper told me I wasn't allowed into my flat for another thirty-five minutes, as he can be vindictive for someone with a conscious, I decided to come bother you instead." The psychopath replies with a shrug.
He snorts again, "What did you do to piss him off this time?"
Dark eyes go wide as Jim plays at innocent, "Me? I don't know what you're talking about, I'd never piss off Pike."
Smirking, he retorts, "I could give you a list of times you've pissed him off that I know about."
"Well," the psychopath drawls, "I get to go undercover as myself, and he's not exactly happy with what I am supposed to be doing. We can discuss that later, like next week's meeting of insane people."
He arches one dark brow. Turning towards Jim and carefully looking the psychopath over, trying to get a read on what is not being said. He's gotten better at it, but Jim, Jasper, and Mycroft can still confuse him when they try. Thankfully Pike doesn't feel the need to do so most the time, his brother doesn't bother as a rule, which leaves only Wildcard to challenge him on it.
"You're bringing the network back as a syndicate for some reason, rather than just an intelligence network." He states as he realizes what the psychopath meant.
"Yep," Jim replies, popping the 'p' sound. "We'll be discussing the boring details at dinner on Tuesday."
He nods, turning his attention back to his preparations for getting ready for his date. He's clean, well dressed, has the money, and ready to go. All he has to do now is go meet John at the doctor's flat so they can go to Angelo's.
"Taking a cab or want to be dropped off?" the psychopath asks curiously as they leave his flat in Mrs. Hudson's building. He's only been living on his own for a few weeks, and he misses having someone else around. He's pretty sure that Jim knows and it's part of why the psychopath likes to just show up, along with the other three agents in their little group of friends.
Three years ago he never would have imagined having friends. Now he belongs to a small group of them. John was his first friend, the person who accepted him first for himself without any other expectations or requirements. Jasper and Jim confused him for the longest time. Jasper is his cousin, so for a while he didn't know if the protectiveness was from that, because he was a job, or something else. Eventually Jim had spelled it out for him, along with explaining the psychopath's logic behind liking him. Alec he had gotten along with since day one. He didn't have to ask what happened, he knew, and he didn't care. It was more interesting all the languages the spy could teach him, and shockingly enough willingly taught him. James is the one he has the least connection to, mostly because he has a habit of announcing whatever stupid thing the agent has done lately and why it pissed off Jasper. He's even becoming friends with Lestrade, sort of, slowly, as he does cases for the detective. Maybe someday that'll be a real friendship.
"Cab," he distractedly answers as they step outside.
Jim just nods, strolling off and whistling some pop song.
Raising a hand, he flags down a cab and chuckles when he discovers it's one of the network cabbies.
"Doctor Watson's office," he tells the man, slipping in and closing the door.
The driver takes the second best route to the office, managing to avoid traffic. "If you want to wait a moment, we will be needing a ride."
"I can do that," the cabbie agrees with a nod.
He slips out of the car and heads towards the building.
John meets him just inside the door, —Hello Sherlock. —
—Hi John,—he responds happily. —Hungry?—
—Famished, — the blonde replies with a grin, turning to bid the receptionist goodnight before they exit the building.
The cab hasn't moved, so they climb in and he gives instructions where to go next. The ride there is peaceful. They sit close together, his larger hand lightly laying over John's smaller one. His date flips his hand up, and squeezes, making him smile and blush.
When they get to Angelo's, the large man puts a candle on their table, happily babbling while he ignores it.
After several minutes watching the host as he go on about how Sherlock recently got him off a murder charge, John looks at him and asks, —Does he always go on like this?—
He nods, —Yes, but the food here is excellent, so it's worthwhile. —
—Do we wait to order until he's done, or just interrupt to give it? — his date asks curiously, glancing at the menu.
—I just order, — he answers with a snicker. "Angelo, we're ready to order," he interrupts the big man.
Finally their host falls quiet, waiting for them to order.
"Baked pasta with butternut squash and smothered in cheese," John states slowly, carefully enunciating each word.
His lips curl in a small smile. One of the things he has come to enjoy over the last few years is when his friend decides to speak aloud, because he likes the doctor's voice.
Glancing at Angelo, he remarks, "My usual."
Nodding, the owner hums, "I'll get that in right now."
Once the big man is gone, he glances at John and then away as his skin heats up again. He's been playing out their first date for the last two years in his head, but he apparently couldn't get it just right. They sit together in peaceful silence while they wait for their meal. It's the same sort of quiet acceptance that had started their friendship back when he couldn't speak, and he still appreciates it.
When Angelo sets their dinner down and tells them to enjoy, he mutters, "Thank you," just because he has been trying to work on his manners even though it mostly fails.
—This smells delicious, — John comments before spearing a piece to try. Making a humming noise of pleasure, his date sets the fork down to state, —This was a wonderful idea, thank you Sherlock.—
His blush from earlier comes back, his eyes darting around the room as he process and automatically registers the various people. He just nods, not sure what he should say. Maybe he should have asked James for advice, after all, everyone in their group knows how much of a playboy the spy can be.
—How are you liking your new flat?— The blonde asks a bit later, after giving him some time.
Grinning, he answers, —I really like it! My relationship with Mycroft might be a lot better now than it used to be, but I seriously don't like living with my brother and found myself crashing at one of Jim's places far more often than I would sleep there after I stopped being under watch all the time. —
Chuckling, John nods in understanding, —Jim mentioned you were getting along famously with his network of troublemakers.—
—I sort of work for Jasper, it's not a massive income, but it's nice not to be reliant on the trust. — He replies happily, he enjoys his work, mostly finding people who go missing or tracking down information. It's not quite what he wants to do with his life, but as he hasn't got that totally figured out, he's okay with it. What he enjoys even more is the work he does for Lestrade sometimes. Those are fun, between the hunt and capture, he has a blast. It challenges him to think like other people, be able to prove it with physical evidence beyond the basics that he sees, so that normal people can see it to. Of course, sometimes it's boring having to explain it to the normal people. He also ends up with some of Lestrade's cases while doing work for Jasper, which he almost always finds fun. Of course, he's told John all about his work, and his friend, no boyfriend, always praises his intelligence when he figures out things no one else can.
—I get that, I know how happy I was when the clinic started paying for itself rather than using the money I was given to start it. It's quite an accomplishment.— The blonde tells him with a warm smile. —Still annoying your brother by making him go through Jasper when he wants you to solve something?—
—Of course! It's fun watching his frustrated expression and Pike is almost as mischievous as Wildcard,— he answers with a snicker. —I'm still not sure what's happening between Jim and Mycroft.—
Chuckling, John retorts, —I don't think they know either. —
Again they fall into a comfortable silence, the sounds of the restaurant seeming almost muted in their small bubble as he enjoys his meal with his boyfriend.
That word sends zings of pleasure through him. Someone not only likes him enough to have him as a friend but also as a significant other. Of course, they haven't used the label 'boyfriend', instead they've been using 'partner' and he's alright with that because it has the same connotations.
After dinner, they leave Angelo's and just take a rather relaxing walk together. It's nice, just getting to walk without any sort of purpose, as it's mostly dark except the street lights, they don't really talk. Instead they wander, occasionally pointing things out as lighting allows, or using their phones to text each other in darker stretches. Along the way they run into several of the network and John's patients, each giving them either a nod of recognition or a cheery hello.
He's startled when they find themselves at his flat hours later, he hadn't realized they were heading that way. Should he invite John up? Yes, yes he should, and offer tea, because he's not ready for tonight to be over. He's been enjoying the company, both when they are discussing things and just quietly spending time together.
—Would you like to come up for some tea? — he asks almost hesitantly.
John's been in his flat before, but this the first time since they started dating, and he's not sure of what he should do. Note to self: ask James and Alec for dating advice. He'd ask Jasper, but his cousin has never dated someone to his knowledge, and while Jim teases his cousin, there hasn't been anything that that lets him know who it's about. It's one area that Jasper has remained hard to read on. Jim, well, there's no way he'd ask the psychopath for dating advice.
He grins, he's got people he can ask, that's so very different than his life used to be.
—I'd love to,— John answers, drawing him out of his mind.
His grin widens as he quickly unlocks the door and heads upstairs, knowing that the blonde won't be too far behind. The night's not over, maybe, if he's lucky, it's the beginning of something amazing.
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*waves* this is it. Stillness in Silence is now done. There will be a lot of other stories in this universe. I have a few of those stories started, but won't be posting until I get them done, for my own mental health reasons. Follow the series to get notifications when I start posting, or follow me for all story updates.