Making Him Stay (Sherlock BBC Fanfic)
Sherlock was not as ignorant of his personality as people liked to think. It was as if the coppers he worked with thought he was a crime solving genius who was otherwise deaf or oblivious to everything else. So when they started talking behind his back about John, it was in Sherlock's best interests to play up to their beliefs. Otherwise, they'd never give him the clues he needed to make John stay.
He wasn't sure what it was about the army veteran that so captivated his interest, but there was definitely something more to John Watson. It wasn't gratitude for saving his life - that would have worn off in a few weeks - and the cabbie case was well over a month ago. It wasn't his mind - John was a doctor, so he had to have some intelligence, even if it was poorly trained - because it never took Sherlock very long to figure out how the people around him would think or react to any given situation. It wasn't his looks - Sherlock was married to his work and had no desire to start negotiating the quagmires of personal relationships now - even though he knew on some level that John was not an ugly man.
He was just John and that was enough for Sherlock to want to keep him around.
Hence the eavesdropping on the people who worked at Barts and Scotland Yard.
Sherlock had - according to them - many faults that would drive away a flatmate. There was his mess, his unconventional hours, his noise, his personal manners and his personality for starters and then things went rapidly downhill from there. If he wasn't a high functioning sociopath, Sherlock would have despaired of all human contact whatsoever - as it was, several people found themselves on the receiving end of a cutting personal commentary Sherlock-style. At the same time, he made sure to keep John away from these people as much as possible, in case they brought to John's attention how bad a person and flatmate Sherlock really was. He wasn't too sure how it had escaped John's attention that he was living in flatmate-hell, but Sherlock certainly didn't want to put any ideas in the mans head about seeking better accommodations.
Not long after Sebastian's rather stupid puzzle - smugglers, how banal - John was called away to attend a family funeral in Glasgow. A great uncle had passed away and appointed John as his executor, much to the good doctors surprise. John had headed off for Scotland to arrange the funeral, wake and all the other things that went with a death in the family, telling Sherlock and Mrs Hudson that he'd be back in a week or so.
Sherlock realised that after spending a week with 'normal' people - boring as they were - John would find coming back to the flat something of a shock. Therefore, Sherlock enlisted the aid of Mrs Hudson to get the flat into what she called a 'fit state for human beings', disposed of the experiments that cluttered the kitchen, arranged for lab space in Barts and practiced 'normal' conversations with the skull. There was nothing he could do about the noise of his violin - he needed it to think, to stave off boredom and to express himself at times - but he made a mental note to try and use it when John was absent as much as possible.
When John called to inform Sherlock he'd be another week before returning home, to Baker Street where he belonged and where Sherlock preferred to see him, the consulting genius began to wonder if just the memory of Baker Street was sufficient to contrast with his current digs, thus making John want to stay with the more boring, banal and so called 'normal' people in the world. The news prompted the hiring of a professional cleaner to get the bits that he and Mrs Hudson hadn't managed, and some intensive recipe research on the internet with a view to breakfast and dinner preparations. Sherlock discovered that he couldn't cook - or at least that the food was not pleasant to consume - and resigned himself to ensuring that there was plenty of bread, milk and cereal in the flat. You couldn't ruin cereal entirely, provided you didn't add anything to it. As he'd never aspired to be a chef in his life, the skill gap didn't worry him too much - unless it was something that John considered to be an essential skill in a flatmate.
John came home from Glasgow tired and a little peaky. He arrived quite late at night, staggered into the front room long enough to say hello and see you in the morning to Sherlock, then lurched upstairs to his bed. He hadn't noticed the cleanliness of the flat or the lack of the usual clutter, which annoyed Sherlock a little, but then John had never been too observant when it came down to it and he had been slightly exhausted. Sherlock spent three hours getting ready to produce breakfast when John woke up the next morning and then retired to his own room for the night to check on some of the less emotional websites what to do if his flatmate was unwell.
John woke up at nine the next morning, which was quite late for him. Sherlock heard him coughing in the bathroom and made sure that the tea was not too hot. He had a panicked moment over whether to present someone producing mucus with a milk based breakfast, but it was too late to change that now as John was coming into the kitchen, fresh from his shower.
"Breakfast!" Sherlock announced, taking in the wince at his volume and the slight flush to John's face, "Are you sick?"
That would make things more difficult, initially, but he was sure that he could still point out to John all the reasons he should remain in Baker Street while he recuperated. Once the man was better it would be easier to maintain his 'keep John at Baker Street' campaign.
In fact he managed it for two weeks. John didn't let his cough slow him down and insisted on accompanying Sherlock to several minor crime scenes and one rather interesting case from his website. He made an effort to help Sherlock keep the flat tidy, though the man was surprisingly flexible for someone who'd trained in the Army about clutter. Once he realised that the clutter distressed Sherlock, John suppressed his own tendency to leave tea mugs on the coffee table and washed up his plates more promptly than before.
It wasn't until Lestrade pulled yet another of his fake 'drugs busts' that Sherlock gave himself away. The case was almost entirely without merit, but Sherlock had been taunting the DI for a while now, so they were about due for a blow-up. His chest and stomach got quite tight and uncomfortable as Anderson tossed books from the bookcase while Donovan rummaged through the kitchen, leaving things out of the cabinets and all over the bench top. Lestrade was yammering on at him about his lack of cooperation and in the middle of it all, John stood with his hands in his pockets, watching them all with a look on his face that Sherlock couldn't quite identify.
"Stop it, stop it, stop it!" Sherlock shrieked, causing silence to fall in the flat like a switch had been thrown. John moved then, taking his hands from his pockets and coming to put them on Sherlock's arms, bending his knees to get a proper look at Sherlock's face. Whatever he saw there obviously convinced him that Sherlock needed something, because the doctor turned around and demanded to see Lestrade's warrant, kicking the Yarders out when the DI couldn't produce one. He walked them down the stairs, which gave Sherlock time to start shoving things back in the kitchen cupboards with fervour.
John picked up the books, re-ordering the bookcase neatly and then fetched Sherlock out of the kitchen and onto the couch, choosing to sit on the coffee table and put those hands of his on Sherlock's wrists once more.
"What's wrong?" the question was calm and patient, just what he needed to hear after all the mess and confusion.
"I want you to stay," Sherlock hadn't meant to blurt that out, but he was tired. Being neat and polite and considerate took so much effort, especially as it was against his normal training. John was worth it, though.
"I'm not going anywhere," John replied calmly, "Is that what the whole pod-Sherlock performance has been about these last two weeks?"
"Pod-Sherlock?" the detective frowned, not familiar with that phrase, which meant it was more of that pop-culture stuff that John liked. He'd tried to be interested in that too, but it was simply not worth wasting space on his mental hard drive for.
"Clean flat, making cereal for me in the morning, no experiments..." John listed them all off easily, "Sherlock, has someone said something to you about me not being happy here? Because I'd hope you'd know that I wouldn't stay anywhere that I hated, or disliked. I don't mind a bit of clutter, or the science rig on the kitchen table from time to time. I'd like the body parts to be better stored, but that's another argument. You don't have to turn into a Stepford Wife to make me stay here, ok?"
"But..." Sherlock thought back to all the websites and their advice and John grinned and shook his head.
"If it would make you feel better, we can come up with a measure of acceptable clutter, or something," John offered. Sherlock nodded hesitantly, noting that his stomach and chest were feeling much better. He leapt off the couch to fetch paper and pen, his mind already working on establishing a recognisable standard and unit of measurement for clutter.
Disclaimer - characters and setting as depicted in BBC series not mine. No money being made. Plot is mine.