A/N: This sort-of takes place in ScopesMonkey's Sherlock-Verse. Tricia and Jo belong to him/her, and if you're a Sherlock fan you ought to speed over to their profile post-haste. I just really wanted to see John deal with some homophobia. Enjoy! (Or not, if you'd rather.)
Tricia stalked over to John, practically vibrating with anger.
"It's Roberts again. God, I can't stand that man."
They were at a large conference hall that was about two hundred metres from being outside London altogether. They had been attending some sort of ceremony of recognition for veterans, but John still wasn't clear on the details. He was only there because Sherlock had insisted, saying something worrying about John needing a confirmed alibi. John had, in turn, dragged Tricia along for moral support.
He glanced over to a small know of people standing near the refreshment table. Roberts, a slight man of medium height, was making a point that seemed to require some violent hand gestures to accompany it.
"What's he done?" John asked. He had never held any real animosity towards the younger man, although he knew that Tricia had never liked him. Indeed, after John had saved his best friend when a roadside bomb sent their truck flying, he had received nothing less than respect tinged with awe from Roberts.
"He's saying that it's a pity we let gays in the military. That they can't be as good at soldiering, or some rubbish." she almost spat. "I wanted to tell him off, but I know it wouldn't do any good. Well, it might do me some good."
John frowned. He'd never pegged Roberts as… as whatever you called someone when they let their silly prejudices cloud their judgment. Human, Sherlock would say. Then he would chide John for having expected anything else, for expecting people to be good and just. After all, didn't they spend most of their time chasing down the dregs of humanity?
John took one hand in the other, and began absently twisting his wedding ring. He would have been shocked if this had happened just after he'd been invalided, but after being married to Sherlock for just over two years, he was only mildly disappointed. He supposed that Sherlock's inability to be surprised by humanity, which he called realism and John called cynicism, had worn off a bit.
Tricia, apparently mistaking John's silence for anger or hurt, said gently, "Look, John. I know it's you he's talking about, but you just have to ignore idiots like that. He doesn't know what he's talking about."
That threw John for a bit of a loop. He hadn't quite made the connection from Roberts' comments to himself. Even after several years of marriage, he still didn't think of himself as gay. He supposed he would have to come to terms with that someday. In the meantime, however…
He looked down at the ring he was fiddling with, and grinned. If there was any more evidence that being with Sherlock had changed him, then the idea that had just occurred to him was it.
"Tricia," he said, "d'you reckon Roberts reads my blog?"
Tricia had apparently not anticipated that question. "Your blog? I- I don't think so. Why do you ask?"
John pointed at the ring which sat on the fourth finger of his left hand. "You know, I haven't seen him since before I moved in with Sherlock. As an old friend, I'm sure he'd like to know that I've got married."
A grin to match his own spread across his face. "Did I mention that I love you?"
John chuckled. "Come on. Let's go catch up."
They walked over to the small group of people, being deliberately nonchalant.
"-I just don't think it matters-" a tall man with stringy blond hair was saying, before he caught a glimpse of John over someone's shoulder. "Watson! Good to see you. I'm sure Watson'll back me up."
"Back you up on what?" John asked, he and Tricia inserting themselves into the circle.
"They're all saying that gays shouldn't be allowed to enlist, but I think that's rubbish." the man said, a look of distaste on his face. John thought that his name might be Mason, but the lack of haircut made it difficult to match him to fading memories.
"We don't need them skipping around, spreading their fairy dust on the battlefield." said an odious little man named Cobb, whom John had never liked. Roberts snickered.
"Oh, shut up, Cobb." Tricia said. "You don't know what you're talking about."
Cobb glared at her. "Yeah, you'd love it if there were more fags in the military. You could all do your nails together before trucking out. That'd be just fabulous, wouldn't it?"
Outraged, Tricia opened her mouth to bite off an angry retort, but John held up his hand. He didn't want this to turn into a fight.
"Personally," he said mildly, "I don't think it matters. It's not like there are any avenues for romance in Afghanistan anyways. We won't win this war by flirting."
"Thank you!" the man who may have been called Mason said. "That's exactly my point."
Roberts crossed his arms. "You can't seriously believe that."
John gazed at him steadily. He looked uncomfortable upon realizing that he held the minority opinion. There might be hope for him yet.
"I do." John replied. "Just look at our company. The odds are, what, five of us were gay? But there wasn't a man out there I wouldn't have trusted with my life."
Roberts thought about that for a second, then said, "Maybe. But then… surely they can't be as good as the rest of us, can they?"
Tricia rolled her eyes, but John thought that this was at least a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, Cobb seemed to agree.
"I bet it was Priestly!" he laughed. "Little fairy. He was the worst shot in the squadron. Probably too busy fantasizing about the rest of us to do his damn job."
"Priestly and his girlfriend are right. Over. There." Tricia said.
"Yes, and if I remember correctly, it was you who couldn't hit the barn side of a broad, Cobb." perhaps-Mason said. "Do I have to be worried about you trying to get into my pants?"
Cobb took a menacing step forwards, scowling angrily. John put his hand up again.
"Stand down!" he said forcefully, and a few scattered people standing within earshot turned curiously. Cobb hastily took a step back.
"No, but really." Roberts said hastily. "I mean, who were the best shots in the squadron?"
"Watson was far and away the best." maybe-Mason said.
"Yes, absolutely." Tricia said loyally, giving John a pointed look as he went to protest. "And Riley, of course, and you too, Marsters."
"Well, thank you." Marsters (apparently not Mason) said. "Although I think you're overestimating my abilities."
"No need to be modest, James." Tricia said. "We're all friends here."
"Anyways." Roberts continued. "Riley's engaged, isn't he?"
"Yes." Cobb said. "I've met her, lovely woman."
"Forgive me if I don't trust his judgment." Tricia muttered, and Marsters stifled a laugh.
"You've got a girlfriend, haven't you, Marsters?" Roberts continued, apparently ignoring Tricia's comment.
"That I do. Her name's Elisabeth." He continued, more towards John and Tricia. "We've been together five months. Lovely woman, she really is. Don't know why she puts up with me."
Tricia laughed. "I'm sure she has impeccable judgment." she assured Marsters. "We should have tea someday. I'd love to meet her."
"And," Roberts continued, determined to make his point, "Watson, you and Tricia finally got hitched then, yeah?"
No matter how many people assumed that he and Tricia involved, John just couldn't see it. They were best friends, practically brother and sister. But that was all they had ever been, and nothing more.
"Do these even look like they match?" Tricia said, holding her hand up next to John's so their wedding rings were side by side. "How many times do we have to tell you that there's nothing between us? I'm married, to a lovely man named Henry, and we have a daughter, name of Josephine. How hard is it for you to believe that we aren't involved?"
"Yes, and I'm married now too." John said. He paused, and took a mental deep breath. Here went nothing. "Don't know how he'd feel about being called lovely, though. We've been married just over two years. His name's Sherlock. Bit of an odd name, I know…"
He became aware that he was rambling, and broke off. Really, whatever came next, it had been worth it to see the expressions on Cobb and Roberts' faces.
Cobb's mouth was slightly open, as though he'd forgotten that he was in control of it. He was staring at John with a mixture of shock and disgust. Roberts, meanwhile, looked as though he'd been hit with a brick. He looked back and forth from John to Tricia as if he was looking for answers hidden in the three inches of space that separated them.
Marsters had a half-smile on his face. "Really?" he said. John nodded. "Well, congratulations, then. And you too." he added, looking to Tricia. "We'll all have to grab a bite sometime."
"Here." John said, fumbling his phone out of his pocket. "I'll text you." He passed it to Marsters, who took it with a nod.
"What was that point you were making?" Tricia said innocently, looking at Roberts. He didn't respond.
Cobb, however, did. "Fucking queer." he said, glaring at John.
John, having expected something like this from him, wasn't particularly upset.
"Are you asking?" he said. "I'm afraid my husband wouldn't approve."
Marsters chuckled, but Cobb looked murderous. He glared at each of them in turn, as if searching for words. John, Tricia, and Marsters all smiled, and Roberts still looked like he was in shock. Cobb shook his head, and stalked away, muttering obscenities under his breath.
"Never liked him much." Marsters said, handing John his phone. "That was priceless. And I didn't know you were gay, John."
"Yeah, well, before I met Sherlock, I didn't know either." he said, while giving Roberts a medical once-over. The man looked like he could do with an orange blanket.
"We really will have to have that tea, you know." Marsters said. "I'll text you. But I'd better be off. Errands, you know." He shook John's hand, and gave Tricia a one-armed hug, before turning to Roberts. "Be seeing you, Alan?"
Roberts turned. "Seeing me? Oh, yes. Goodbye, then." He went to shake Marsters' hand, but stopped, and settled for an awkward nod instead. Marsters returned it, and then he was gone.
"Well, as fun as this have been, if we leave Sherlock babysitting Jo much longer, he might let her play with chemicals or something. That man is a terrible influence." Tricia said.
"Yeah, I'll catch up. Give me a minute, Trish."
She glanced back and forth from him to Roberts skeptically, but after a second she nodded. "I'll get our coats." she said, leaving John alone with Roberts.
He was having some difficulty meeting John's eyes.
"You know, I'm surprised at you." John said, looking after Tricia but talking to Roberts. "I didn't realize you thought I was such a terrible soldier. I did do my best, you understand."
Roberts looked slightly scared. "John- I, I didn't mean you. I just-" he stopped, seemingly at a loss for words.
"Didn't you?" John said simply.
"No! You were… are… look, I didn't mean you. I just meant… others, you know…"
John decided to put him out of his misery. See, he wasn't too much like Sherlock. Sherlock probably would have let this incoherent babbling go on indefinitely, just for the sheer amusement.
"Look, Alan. I know you don't have anything against me, or my husband for that matter. Maybe you're misguided, I don't know. You're free to think we spend our time wearing tiaras, I don't care. But keep it to yourself, yeah?"
Roberts fidgeted a bit. "Yeah. I'm… sorry. I'm sorry, John."
John spotted Tricia waiting by the door. "Bye then." he said, feeling like it was a rather anti-climactic exit. But when he was halfway across the auditorium, he heard Roberts call him.
John turned expectantly.
"I…" Roberts looked like he was trying to force himself to say something. "Congratulations."
John nodded, surprised. He saluted Roberts, and then strode over to Tricia, who was still holding his coat.
"What was that?" she said, as he took his jacket from her. "Oh, and don't start expecting this." she added, gesturing towards his coat. "I'm nobody's porter."
"I think we've given him something to think about." John said, getting the door for Tricia.
"Well, that's good, isn't it?" she said.
"Yes. I do think it is."
On the subway, John's phone vibrated. He flipped it open, expecting a message from Sherlock.
From: J Marsters
You may have been the best shot, but I was the quickest draw.
There was a picture attached, but no further explanation. Curiously, John opened it.
"What are you laughing about?" Tricia asked. He handed her the phone, unable to answer.
The photograph of Cobb and Roberts' faces after John had told them about his husband was definitely his new favourite, ousting the one from when Sherlock had handed Anderson a human heart.
John's blog was going to be particularly interesting that night.