Title: Just The Way It Is
Pairing: John/Sherlock. I'm not kidding for once =)
Rating: Teens or younger
Warning: Umm, slight spoilers but if you haven't seen it then you won't get the reference anyway. They're small.
Word Count: 2,581
Disclaimer: Not the BBC

Summary: It didn't creep up on them, nor did it appear in some almighty epiphany which resulted in their running into each other's arms declaring words of love and devotion. Rather, it had always been there, because that is just the way it was.

A/N: I'm feeling chipper, if only 'cos I enjoy dark fics and they make me want to go against them. Having found some dark fics not full of fluff I was inclined to write something sweet instead. In other news, I have fallen in love with Irene Adler. And Rachel McAdams. Pretty much simultaneously.

Also, I'm apparently good at stories with no plot. Always have been.

It didn't creep up on them, starting small and starting to grow like some hideous disease which neither would be able to recognise, diagnose nor treat until it was too late. But neither did it appear in some almighty epiphany which resulted in their running into each other's arms declaring words of love and devotion, of forever and a day. No, rather it was something that had always been there, and even if physically the relationship changed, at the base of it all it was always still the same feeling.

The feeling was that of wonderment and stupefaction and awe and surprise. They could look at each other and feel that same amazement towards the other as they did the same day they met, when Sherlock told John everything about John's life and in return John didn't run away screaming. Neither particularly fit each other, much less completed each other, but they worked well because they were men well adjusted to the concept of having to constantly readjust.

They were opposites well enough, such as with Sherlock who was entirely expected in his unexpectedness and then John was entirely unexpected in his expectedness. There were moments of brilliance to them both where John did something amazing like shoot a man for Sherlock or offer to take a bomb for him, and then there was Sherlock in his moments of complete normality where he looked to John and felt the need to protect him from the law, or when he stuttered around, decomposed and jittery, trying to thank John for his bravery in his own special way.

Even physically they didn't match, with John short and strong and solid and exceptionally usual and human, and Sherlock tall and thin and pale and while not so unusual as to warrant a second look from the everyday masses, he was always noticed before John was.

In personality they were completely alien to the other too, with Sherlock being disassociated from the majority humanity bar perhaps the mental patients and having all the morality of a jealous two-year-old whose favourite toy is being chewed by another, smaller toddler. John, on the other hand, had a clear line of right and wrong, even if he did keep on jumping over it and back again intermittently. This was one of those little things Sherlock hadn't expected from John: the fact that John clearly had marked out morals, but he didn't always follow them. Sherlock sometimes wondered if all army men were like that.

Despite their differences it was true enough that Sherlock had John felt something stronger towards each other. Neither would say anything as cliché as love or even strong liking, because that wasn't quite right. There was a loyalty and some affection and a degree of fondness for all of each other, including each other's little habits and idiosyncrasies, like Sherlock's attraction to dead things and John's relentless pursuing of the fairer sex. The irritation roused from the other doing ridiculous and fiendish acts like bringing road kill home to measure their real likeness to a pancake or, lord forbid, bringing women home for sexual comparison against the last one John had dragged into Baker Street, was allowed to be numbed by the fact they would have a shouting match over it and they'd be the focus of the other's attention once again.

An unlimited amount of patience had to be exercised towards each other daily, and also with other people when they appeared in public together. As John tried with his all might to deny any suggestions of anything more than a strictly platonic relationship with the sleuth he shared a flat with, it always fell onto deaf ears and those listening would raise their eyebrows or shake their heads and eventually John stopped bothering to try. As Sherlock always said, people were idiots, and idiots don't change their minds. John must be an idiot too, then, for he hadn't changed his mind about suffering through each day with only Sherlock to return home to. They had both discussed the possibility and the likelihood of John moving out to settle with a woman and make a home, but the conclusion had always been indecisive and John perhaps hadn't found the right girl, because he remained solidly in Baker Street with the detective whom both aggravated him and made his life worth living, and neither of them, or in fact anyone, was particularly surprised.

Therefore it can only be worth a brief note of acknowledgement when it became something more. They both noticed it, but never said anything about it because they'd been expecting it and it was always going to happen. When it did, then, they just took it under wing and went along with it.

It didn't start on a dull Wednesday morning in late September because it had started on a fairly usual morning in late January, but to other people that dull Wednesday would possibly signify the birth of their 'real' relationship. But to them it would always be just another day, remembered by neither of them as life continued on, because it didn't make any difference.

That day, Sherlock was approaching his one-week mark where he remained in a caseless sulk. He was curled up, knees to his chest, in his favourite chair, legs covered by his dressing gown and toes twiddling against air as he watched the television, muttering things under breath about stupid kids shows and how Batman was in no way a real detective, don't even lie. He was a violent, upper-class criminal who got away with it because he was clinically insane, but clinically insane with money. Stereotypes were rife in the cartoon and no one but Sherlock's Father's old man servant talked like Alfred did anymore.

It was fast approaching eight o'clock when John stumbled downstairs still in a sleep induced grog, asking why Sherlock didn't wake him when Sherlock knew John was going to be late for work. Sherlock, honestly engrossed in his cartoon, didn't answer.

John put the kettle on and put some bread into the toaster, obviously intending to fill up a flask for work and eat on the way, and asked Sherlock where the butter was, which was a stupid thing for the man to do when he knew that Sherlock wouldn't answer him. Sherlock honestly hadn't known they had any butter, to be honest. John then went on a mission to find his other shoe which had mysteriously disappeared.

The kettle boiled and the toaster popped up John's now officially burnt bread and neither butter nor shoe had been found. John resigned himself to unbuttered and black toast, munching on it as he filled his flask up, but absolutely refused to walk out into the world without a pair of matching shoes to put on his feet. He knew they were in the large living room somewhere, distinctively remembering leaving them in here the night before, but admittedly Sherlock had probably been down here all night so for all John knew his shoe could be in a dumpster which was now travelling in the back of a lorry which in turn was now driving at seventy miles per hour up the A1.

He began his search around Sherlock specifically because he suspected Sherlock may have tampered with it, and his toast was still hanging from his mouth as he fell to his knees to move stuff from the cluttered floor. He ate it with distaste, but the growling of his stomach was more important than what Sherlock could have possibly done to make a toaster burn the bread after a measly minute and a half.

His shoe was found when he had just finished his breakfast, and it had been hiding beneath a rather large pile of junk, including a case for a laptop John didn't know they owned, a few University prospectuses which Sherlock had used for reference in a recent case regarding a University professor and the murder of seven innocent pupils, three empty Coca Cola bottles which John collected to be put in the recycling bin outside, and a copy of the 2001 Highway Code. John put his shoe on while he was still sitting before hoisting himself up with the help of the back of Sherlock's chair, bottles under arm, and telling Sherlock (though he was still mainly talking to himself) that they really should sort out this mess. Sherlock grunted in a moody reply which suggested he was going to do no such thing, not even in John's wildest dreams, and John just had to settle with being glad that Sherlock even acknowledged his presence at all.

"I'll be back later." John said, leaning quite close to Sherlock as he rose from the ground, and Sherlock nodded at him, still watching Batman with rapt attention. It was The Brave and the Bold and John smiled a bit at Sherlock's choice in early morning entertainment, knowing Sherlock wouldn't have even considered TV as a distraction from boredom if not for John and his somewhat successful attempts in showing Sherlock why people loved that little box so. Fond as usual, if not just as irritated by Sherlock's very normal dismissal of his person, John absently tucked a few of the man's dark curls behind Sherlock's left ear, before pecking the detective's temple and straightening himself out properly, throwing on his jacket and leaving for work. Sherlock didn't react and it was almost as if John hadn't done it, the way they both ignored it like it was just another usual, everyday thing.

Touches and kisses never really elevated from familiar to intimate because their relationship wasn't like that. Sherlock touched John more than his did other people, whether that was a steady hand resting on his friend's lower back or a brushing of shoulders or knees or thighs when they sat down together for any meal or to watch a film or to research something important for a case. They were willing to admit enough to satisfy people, but they never really made much moves to make it a romantic relationship.

To be fair, neither wanted such a thing. Romance, and the idea of it, made Sherlock feel uneasy and uncomfortable, and for John it was a silly idea to think of himself and Sherlock as a loving couple, because if he wanted that it was something he could easily get off women.

What they had was something more – something deeper; and it stretched the boundaries of relationship. It wasn't love, and it never would be, but it was strong enough to keep them together, to make sure neither would grow bored and leave the other. It made sure they kept each other close – they were the lifeline to the other; the reason to go on. Their connection kept all of John's other relationships short and abrupt and they wound up being more for sexual gratification than anything stemmed from a deep emotion. This affiliation of theirs also kept Sherlock protective of John, and in his feelings for John Sherlock became a real person. He was, of course, still completely insufferable, but he tried his hardest occasionally to be better and that was enough.

At crime scenes, when Sherlock was being particularly brilliant and over excited and, frankly, bloody annoying, John would take a hold of his friend's shoulder and Sherlock would look to him with questioning eyes, and would know he had done something insensitive or wrong and that now was the time to step back and stop calling people idiots for a moment else he was going to get punched.

When he was stuck, he would get angry and irritated, and it was John's job to kneel besides him and take his hand, supporting him with gentle touches and calming him as he got his rationality back and could figure it out logically and simply in a manner which was still absolutely fantastic no matter how many times it happened.

A light peck to the cheek or the temple or the forehead was common for the morning and sometimes the quiet nights where they were tucked up in the dim lights of 221B Baker Street and John thought it was time he got to bed and bid Sherlock a good night.

On Sherlock's side, when John was being particularly brilliant himself, Sherlock was more affectionate than he ever was. He would grin at John, agree with him with his eyes, and then lean forward, hands on each side of John's face, kiss his forehead and then grip the top of John's arm for the rest of the day like he was something Sherlock would never let go of.

Often, even without John being clever, Sherlock would grab John by the wrist and drag him all over London, and would occasionally stroke John's cheek once or twice if John became upset about something that Sherlock could try to help soothe.

Anything bigger, such as actual kissing or sex, was left for other people to deal with. Sherlock and John's relationship didn't call for it, and while they knew they would never be able to survive or function properly without the other, both were free to pursue other relationships to be put on the side if they needed something more. They wouldn't battle over it or become jealous because there was nothing to be jealous about. It always worked in the same way: John could get a girlfriend or a boyfriend if someone took his fancy, but the presence of another human wouldn't stop John from his familiar, fond and somewhat tender touches and kisses which bordered on sentimental which he periodically gave to Sherlock. Similarly, Sherlock would touch John as usual, even if this week's boyfriend or girlfriend was around to watch. It didn't matter in the long run whether they saw or not, because if Sherlock said run John would sprint from his generic, pedestrian little date and meet Sherlock halfway to a crime scene, whether he was in the middle of a film or dinner or anything else that he could possibly be doing with his newest partner or not. If the time came when it was the other way round, Sherlock knew that he would do likewise.

People around them saw that there was a bond stronger than what any of them would ever experience, and if Sherlock and John both were anything but an asexual sociopath who revels in murders and is simply one step away from being a villain himself, and an ex-army doctor who creates a limp after being shot in the shoulder and only shakes when there is nothing to make him shake, then they'd probably be married by now.

Then again, if they were anything more usual than what they were they would also probably be dead.

Their life continued – a mess of murders and criminal charges and stupid, dull people, and irritating peers and beastly families and body parts where food should be and Mrs Hudson trying to maintain the front of landlady only and it was all so colourful and wonderful and loud and busy and fantastic and neither of them ever stopped to think there might be something different for them out there, and were instead just happy in their skins, and could make due with just a smouldering gaze and a peck to the temple a day, because that's the way it always had been, and that's the way it always will.


A/N: YEEY. I didn't kill anyone.