Somehow I always seem to write fics in pairs. Ah well, here you go: a bit of light John/Sherlock slash for you, with some fluffy and slightly angsty feelings thrown in.
Written for another prompt in the SherlockBBC lj comm, which I won't include here since it gives it all away.
Feeling a bit less confident with this one than I would like, so your feedback would be eternally loved and snuggled like my own child.
Sherlock was a handsome man; it was undeniable, even from a purely objective viewpoint. His thin, lanky frame, the sharp angles of his cheek bones, those entrancing eyes- not quite grey, not quite blue. Perhaps they were not classical good looks, but they were so striking that you couldn't help but feel drawn to them, and you certainly never forgot them once you had seen them.
John had realized all this within about three minutes of meeting the man. Even while the detective nonchalantly revealed his deepest secrets as if they were obvious trivialities, he couldn't keep himself from staring. He realized his reaction must have been obvious as well, but he couldn't stop all the same. He had been flustered by Sherlock's face as much as by his words, and the graceful way he had glided out of the room. He continued to stare long after the door had closed, and Stamford only chuckled, mistaking the meaning of his bewilderment.
As he quickly learned, he was not the only one to recognize Sherlock's obvious beauty. Molly from the morgue was hopelessly infatuated with him, despite his repeated colds rebuffs, and just about every witness they met seemed torn between intimidation and admiration. Even on the busy streets he drew curious and appreciative glances.
Over the ensuing months John had of course come to appreciate Sherlock for much more than his aesthetic beauty. His mind astounded John, constantly catching him off guard with its brilliance. Sherlock was like a force of nature when he worked, beautiful and entrancing and dangerous. And he had come to love all the small things about Sherlock's personality as well: his stubbornness, his loyalty, his sullen pouty moods, and his ability to bring out both the best and worst in John.
But just because he knew Sherlock was so much more than his gorgeous exterior, that didn't stop him from admiring it on a regular basis. He relished stolen glances of Sherlock's broad back and long fingers and chiseled profile. He would use any plausible excuse to stare into those eyes for as long as possible, looking away intermittently to deflect suspicion. He liked to watch those angelic features in wild animation while Sherlock whirled around a crime scene, or in quiet repose while he meditated, sprawled on the sofa. It was so entrancing that he had to consciously remind himself not to stare too often or too long, lest he be found out.
Though honestly, John knew he wasn't fooling anyone, especially Sherlock-bloody-Holmes. The consulting detective didn't miss a thing, there was no way he didn't catch John's appreciative glances. But he had never said a word about it, which John took as permission to continue, so long as he didn't cross any boundaries. Looking, it seemed, was tolerated.
But the weighted gazes were all on his side, John knew. Sherlock looked at him the way he would look at any specimen under his microscope, the way he looked at most people. Sometimes, when they were alone, his gaze seemed softer, maybe even affectionate, the critical assessment gone.
John knew in a detached way that he wasn't much to look at. Unlike Sherlock, people rarely even noticed his presence. But he didn't mind so much. He knew objectively that he wasn't anything like ugly, he was just, well, plain. Ordinary. Unremarkable. And that was fine with him, since it was the way it would always be. Sherlock certainly didn't seem to mind and so John put it out of his mind.
The first thing Sherlock had noticed about John was not his stiff army stance or military haircut, like he later claimed, but rather his face. As he had entered the lab that first time his face had been relaxed, his eyes bright and inquisitive. Before Sherlock had shocked him into that guarded, suspicious expression. His ears, Sherlock noted, were perhaps a bit oversized in proportion to his head. His lips were a bit thin, especially when he pressed them together in that irritated manner. He had the beginnings of wrinkles around his eyes and mouth, and his blond hair was beginning to lighten towards grey in a few tell-tale spots. He wasn't young or beautiful, but Sherlock found himself admiring him all the same. It was completely irrational, and had thrown him off guard. He had made an excuse to leave as quickly as possible, though not before testing his new acquaintance with his theories, to watch how that expressive face would react. It had been irresistible, and he had not been disappointed.
Over the ensuing months he had only found his indescribable attraction growing. John's frame was short and compact, so different from his own, but it exuded stability and strength. His hands were large and permanently callused, his shoulders broad and straight. That hair, kept so short and neat, often disheveled from frustrated tousling, looked soft and fine like a child's, and Sherlock wanted to know what it would feel like under his fingers.
And then there were his expressions: as John had opened up to him Sherlock had experienced a whole new world of expressions conveying emotions that he couldn't even put a name to. He had begun to categorize them by situation- 'that one-corner grin when I've said something unintentionally silly', or 'how he purses his lips when he's feeling guilty,' or his personal favorite, 'the toothy smile that crinkles the corners of his eyes when he's genuinely happy.' It was a whole new education in human observation that he never grew tired of.
Of course, he appreciated other things about John as well. Even if Sherlock sometimes called him an idiot, John's company never grated on him, and even when John scolded he never really judged Sherlock the way other people did. John would do anything asked of him without hesitation, because he had complete faith in Sherlock. In anyone else such blind obedience might seem pathetic, but in John it spoke of a loyalty and a depth of regard that nearly overwhelmed the usually solitary detective. Then there was the way John found such humor in everything, the way he could laugh at himself and the world even when he should have been hurting instead. Every day John was continually astounding him.
Sherlock knew that John liked to look at him, to watch him when he didn't think he would notice. He always did, of course. And it sent an odd sort of thrill through him, like a jolt of static electricity down his spine. But John was less observant. He didn't notice Sherlock's own penetrating glances and roaming eyes. Perhaps it was because he wasn't as naturally observant. But it was also because he wasn't expecting it.
John didn't expect anyone to look at him, or to see him as anything more than Sherlock's assistant. In a sense, Sherlock was glad for this, since it meant that John had no sense of guarded self-consciousness most of the time. Sherlock knew from experience that when you were used to being gawked at you tended to put up a wall. But John lacked that awareness, and it allowed Sherlock to observe all those wonderful expressions.
But at the same time, it pained Sherlock to think that John had no idea how attractive he was, that he had somehow deluded himself into thinking he was invisible. Because he couldn't be more wrong, and Sherlock had observed for a fact that he was not the only one to let his eyes linger on the doctor more often than was strictly necessary.
Sherlock decided that it was time he remedied the situation.
He wasted no time. Sherlock never did, once he had set his mind to a task. The very next afternoon they were in the kitchen, John making tea while Sherlock cleared a bit of the mess from the table and looked for clean mugs.
John's silhouette was illuminated by the soft sunlight filtering in from the window, his face relaxed, lips quirked to one side in concentration as he measured out the water.
Sherlock had blurted it out without much thought.
John looked up blankly, like he hadn't registered the word.
"Beautiful. John. You." His halting words were met with a quirked eyebrow and bemused expression, like John was waiting for some kind of explanation that would make that string of words make sense. Suddenly this felt much more daunting than it had seemed in theory.
Sherlock straightened to look John squarely in the eye. "John, there are some things I need to tell you, have been meaning to tell you, about how I…feel about you."
Unexpectedly, John seemed to relax again. "Don't worry about it Sherlock," he waived his hand dismissively. "I know how much you dislike talking about feelings and whatnot. You don't have to say it, I get it." He flashed Sherlock one of his conspiratorial smiles that said he understood far more than Sherlock thought, and proceeded to pour the tea.
John was certainly not making this easy. Sherlock vaguely suspected that he was doing it on purpose, teasing him somehow. Still, Sherlock had never been deterred easily. He continued unabashed.
"I-I…love you." It came out a bit haltingly. The words were unfamiliar. But saying them felt right, like releasing a great weight, giddy, like he had overdosed on the nicotine patches again.
John looked up from stirring his tea and smiled. "Well of course, I know that. Even if you never really say it out loud I know you consider me a friend, despite your claims not to have friends. And of course I'm flattered; I feel the same way-"
Sherlock cut him off, backing him up against the counter and leaning over to look him directly in the eye. It caught John completely off guard.
"John, just shut up and listen to me. Yes, I love you. But it's not like you think, and if you would shut up for just one moment, or God forbid maybe use those eyeballs attached to your puny little brain, you might see that."
He paused for emphasis, and John could see the half-playful, half-desperate look in his eye. This wasn't just one of his usual rants about John's idiocy.
"Yes, John, you are my closest, perhaps only friend. But that's not what I mean. I don't care that you are smart or loyal, or that you make me laugh over stupid, absurd things." His quick involuntary grin, however, indicated that those things certainly weren't too far from his thoughts, either.
"When I look at you right now I don't see a talented doctor or a skilled soldier or a good friend. What I see, John," and suddenly he dropped the playful smile and lowered his voice to that dangerous low rumble that John had never admitted he loved, "is a man who is so thoroughly alluring that sometimes I can hardly stand it. What I see are warm eyes and soft hair and a strong body that I would like to trace all over with my finger. And maybe with my tongue," he added, almost as an afterthought. "What I see are lips that I would very much like to kiss if you would just stop spouting nonsense from them for one bloody moment.
"Through either stupidity or willful ignorance you seem not to notice my rather considerable attraction to you, but I know you look at me the same way, you really hide it very poorly. Now, are we going to continue to argue over the nature of my feelings for you? Because I can think of several empirical tests that will put the matter to rest rather indisputably. "
He stopped to look at John for permission, his own full lips merely inches away. John's mind was still trying to process this information. Sherlock loved him; yes, that he may have suspected. But not in the platonic-companion way that he had always assumed. Sherlock felt that same physical attraction that he'd felt for so long, like a magnetic pull. The words were still sinking in, but there was no mistaking that look in his eyes. If Sherlock had been looking at him like this all along, how had he possibly missed it? Maybe he really was an idiot.
Sherlock seemed to be waiting for John to take it all in, though not exactly patiently. His eyes were darting back and forth between his lips and eyes, as if waiting for the signal to proceed.
So John gave it to him, unmistakably.
The kiss was sweet and tender and passionate all at once. It spoke of trust and mutual affection and the promise of something more, to be discovered and revealed slowly. There was nothing rushed or desperate about it, no need to push it further just yet.
Sherlock pulled away after a few moments, running the pad of him thumb over John's cheek as he assessed him affectionately. John couldn't help but smile back.
"Well, Dr. Watson, I hope that lays a few issues to rest permanently, then."
"Oh yes, Mr. Holmes, I believe you have made yourself perfectly clear on several matters," John replied in his best mock-serious doctor voice.
He was rewarded with his favorite smile, the one that flashed quickly and brilliantly like summer lightening.
"Well then, I believe the next order of business is to find some supper. Do you feel like Chinese tonight?"
John agreed and Sherlock moved away to fetch their coats. But once that was accomplished he returned to John's side, and they remained nearly touching on the way down the stairs, their hands brushing against each other familiarly.
Just before they stepped out the door Sherlock paused and John turned back to him.
"You know, I really do love you in that striped jumper. Wear it more often for me?" He leaned down for a quick kiss on the mouth and swept out the door before John could react.
That cheeky bastard. John set off after him, Sherlock's favorite smile illuminating his face.