Title: Topical
Summary: Sherlock2010 John has lunch with his sister. Sherlock is the topic of conversation.
Characters: John, Harriet, Sherlock, Billy
Pairing: None really but... well, lol.
Rating: K+

"I'll have a bottle of house white, please."

John glared over the table at Harriet but she simply rolled her eyes and handed her menu over to Angelo, who turned to John with a questioning eyebrow raised.

"I'll have an orange juice."

"Sure thing." He gathered the menu from John's grasp and made to turn away but paused half way and looked to John. "Mind, now, that since you're a friend of Sherlock's, it's on the house."

John narrowed his eyes at the stress in the sentence and pointedly ignored his sister's amused glance and her failed attempt to smother her grin. John quickly schooled his face into an expression of thanks to Billy's retreating back.

"How is your new flat, anyway John?"

He glanced back to his sister, feeling his cheeks tingling under stress of the slightest flush and nodded.

"It's fine."

Harriet tried to hide her amused smile, her eyes sparkling as she glanced down to the empty glass in front of her and John narrowed his eyes at her again. She had been hassling him for weeks to meet up and it wasn't that he didn't want to see her, it was just that... well. He didn't want to see her. But he had eventually relented and invited her as close to Baker Street as she would ever get for lunch.

"Just 'fine'?"

John quirked an eyebrow at her and smiled tightly.

"Yes. Just fine."

She glanced up at him, her eyes matching his – the one thing they both inherited from their mother – and smiled.

"Good." She flicked her fingernail against the edge of her glass and the ping rattled around the table for a few seconds, during which John glanced back to the menu despite knowing already what he was going to order. "I've been reading your blog," she continued and John resisted the urge to look up at her tone.

"I know," he said instead, his tone flat and unaffected. "I've been inundated with your comments. You and Bill need to exchange email addresses so you can stop spamming my comments." She laughed at that, hearty and loud and John glanced around the almost empty restaurant at the other patrons. None of them even twitched at the sound and John shook his head; Sherlock certainly knew the most interesting of places.

"Well, if you would answer your phone more often I wouldn't need to resort to such desperate measures now, would I?"

John looked up at that and frowned slightly, even as he laughed slightly.

"What has my not answering my phone got to do with you and Bill chattering away on my blog?" He paused a moment and then frowned. "And, by the way, how did you find out about it?"

"That's not important," she said with a flick of her wrist but relented when she caught the glare John sent her. Before she answered, though, Angelo came back to the table with their drinks and they ordered their food. "I know your therapist would have recommended it, so I simply Googled your name and, lo and behold, there you were." It was her turn to frown. "You might have come up with a more interesting name."

"It's my name. Why would I have it as anything else?"

She snorted.

"Oh, John." But she didn't elaborate and John shook his head, concentrating on taking a sip of his orange juice instead as Harry downed two large mouthfuls of wine. He simply lowered his head and raised an eyebrow, knowing that it was just easier not to say anything – they had been through it before, time and again and it still made no difference. "But that's not why I'm here."

John sighed in frustration and looked up as his anger sparked.

"I can't afford to give you any mo-"

"Hush," she said with another flick of her wrist and John suddenly found the gesture more than a little frustrating. "I neither need nor want your money so put that out of your mind." John frowned, ready to ask but she silenced him again. "What I am interested in, however, is your new flatmate. The madman, as you call him."

John's eyebrows climbed up his forehead as he stared at his sister, mouth slightly agape.

"What... what?" He shook his head slightly when she chortled again and he pulled his eyebrows down into a frown. "Why?"

She levelled him with an amused stare, her sandy blond hair curling over her shoulder.

"Because I've been ireading your blog/i."

John stared at her again. Clearly, he was missing something.

"Yes, we've established that."

"God, John, you really can be thick at times!" She said with a laugh and John barely reacted, having gotten used to being called an idiot in the few short weeks he'd been living with Sherlock Holmes. "Tell me about your little crush."

John rolled his eyes and let out a huff of air, meeting his sister's stare with amusement.

"I don't have a crush on him."

She guffawed.

"Yeah, right. What was it you said? 'He was charming'? 'Charming', John? We both know that's gay-talk for hot as hell."

"You would know that better than I would, Harriet."

She huffed again, the sound more amused than put-out and John bit back his disappointment, childish though it was.

"Don't give me that."

"Well you would."

"You know what I mean." He moved to argue but faltered at her stare. He conceded with a grimace. "Tell me about him."

"There's not much to tell."

"You live with the world's only consulting detective and you mean to tell me there's nothing to tell? I hear he's a sociopath – is it true?"

"So he tells me," John replied quietly, fixing his gaze over Harriet's shoulder to stare at the kitchen door.

"You don't believe him?"

"I believe he thinks he is."

Harriet smiled.

"You always did try and see the good in people."

John glanced up and smiled, noting that Harriet's glass was almost empty. He eyed the wine bottle with disdain but refrained, still, from commenting. He wondered how quickly it would be gone – if it would even last her through lunch.

"He isn't nearly as closed off as he wants people to think he is. But he's pretty close to it." He looked back to her again, noting her sad little smile. He hated that smile.

"I'm sure you'll do wonderful things with him, John." She covered his hand with hers and John was startled by the contact – it had been so long since someone other than his physiotherapist had voluntarily touched him that the feel of another warm hand on his sent a shock through his system.

At that moment, Angelo returned with their dishes, setting them down on the table a little harder than necessary but John didn't react to it. He thanked the man, who smiled tightly as he drew back up to his full height, his smile brightening as he glanced out the window over John's head.

"Here's your man coming now," he said and John would swear he heard a hint of warning in the other man's tone. When he looked up, Angelo was glancing pointedly to where John and Harriet's hands were joined, his glare barely concealed and John barely refrained from rolling his eyes. "I'll come back when he's settled and get his order."

John heard the door opening and felt the cold rush of air hit his side and when he turned, he was met with the sight of Sherlock's six foot two inch frame encased in his customary black tailored coat, his hair windswept and slightly damp from the misty rain that was falling outside. It took him a moment longer than he would have liked for his eyes to meet his sister's again but needn't have worried, she was busily staring at the man who had just walked through the door.

"Ah," Sherlock exclaimed, his tone dangerously closed to happy, as he approached their table, "you must be the alcoholic sister who gave John his phone."

John closed his eyes at Sherlock's statement and held his breath. Harriet did not appreciate being called an alcoholic. He didn't even linger over Sherlock's lack of manners, or his highly inappropriate comment – there would be no point. He'd quickly learned not to get hung up on Sherlock's observations, or his oratory on what those observations were, because no matter how inappropriate they were, Sherlock would never apologise.

"And you must be the sociopathic madman by brother has the misfortune of living with." There was no denying the icy undertone of Harriet's voice, but Sherlock being Sherlock gleened right over it and slid onto the bench beside John, their arms brushing as Sherlock extended his hand to his sister. "A pleasure, I'm sure."

"Yes, I assure you it is." John opened his eyes then when he felt Sherlock lean against him slightly, witnessing Sherlock prodding John's lunch with a fork. "I thought I told you to try the arrabbiata?"

John rolled his eyes and snatched his fork from Sherlock's fingers.

"And I thought I told you I didn't like spicy things?"

"I'm sure you get enough of that at the flat," Harriet murmured and both John and Sherlock started, their shoulders nudging against one another at the motion. "What?" She asked innocently and scooped up a forkful of lasagne, washing it down with another mouthful of wine.

Sherlock shifted and John let out a sigh at the inch of space he created between their bodies. Despite their proximity to one another day in and day out at the flat, John's half-formed attraction to his flatmate did not seem to be dissipating in the slightest.

Angelo came over then but Sherlock waved him away, opting to steal a few mouthfuls of John's orange juice instead and John simply rolled his eyes.

"What are you doing here, Sherlock?"

Sherlock smiled slightly.

"Seeing what people who have real lives have to talk about. Getting to know someone other than yourself – isn't that what you told me? That people know other people?"

"Yes, but-"

"And besides, you've met my brother. It's only fair."

John guffawed at that, his fork clattering to his plate in his surprise.

"Since when do you care about fair?" Sherlock didn't answer; he simply stared at John with those eyes, scathing in their grey intensity.

"Oh, this is precious."

"Shut up," John snapped in response to Harriet's comment and she held her hands up in mock surrender, her mouth twisting into an amused smile.

"Precious and fair though it may be, I do actually need you."

John sighed.

"What for?"

"There's been a murder in Lambeth and the skull isn't very forthcoming with ideas. I cannot think."

"Have you tried the patches?" John asked sardonically but was surprised when Sherlock nodded.

"Yes, five in fact." He flicked his arm down to show the five patches that were stuck to his skin and John closed his eyes in frustration at the sight.

"Five nicotine patches?" Harriet asked, incredulous and John looked over to her in desperation and shook his head.

"Don't even ask."

"Wasn't planning to," Harriet murmured as she looked back down to her lasagne.

"Are you almost done?" Sherlock asked and John jerked slightly when he felt something solid and thick contact his thigh. When he glanced under the table, he saw Sherlock's silk clad thigh pressed against his. He caught his breath and glanced over to Sherlock but the other man was staring across the table at Harriet. "It's really quite important."

"It's all right, John," Harriet said, with a knowing smile. "We can just meet up next week." She shot a significant glance at John's companion and raised her eyebrow, letting John know that the interrogation next time would be much more thorough.


"Very good. Come, John, Mrs Hudson is out all afternoon so we can make as much noise as we want."

He was gone by the time John's brain thought of a response other than 'nnggh'. Harriet was failing to mask her peals of laughter in her glass.

"It's not... He didn't..."

"I'm sure. You best hurry."

He tried to think of something to say, something that would explain Sherlock's bizarre statement but after a few moments of trying, he gave it up as a futile venture. He simply smiled tightly to his sister, dropped a kiss to her cheek and left the restaurant.

Outside, Sherlock was standing with his hands deep in his coat pocket, his eyes sparkling with mirth. John glared at him.

"That wasn't funny."

Sherlock laughed, his head thrown back to expose his face to the rain and the clouds and John forced himself not to stare at Sherlock's long, slender neck. It took a few moments but Sherlock tilted his head back down, his lips slip peaked at the edges and met John's stare, his eyes quietly laughing.

"Oh, but it was."

He twirled away from the restaurant and when John glanced back, Harriet winked at him and gave him a thumbs up. He rolled his eyes good-naturedly and rushed to catch up with Sherlock. When he fell into step beside him, Sherlock laughed again and it was almost enough to make up for the abuse he would no doubt suffer from Harriet next time he spoke to her.