Feelings and a Bottle of Jack.
Disclaimer: I don't own BBC Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes or any incarnation. Nor do I own the characters or any of the story lines. I just created the plot and made them dance to it.
'What he said...' started John, 'I saw what it did to you.'
Sherlock continued to glare out the window of the cab on the way back to the flat, his brow furrowed in his infamous 'deducing' look, 'what are you talking about?'
'What Sebastian said in his office, that all your classmates hated you, I saw your face,' replied John, leaning the slightest bit towards his colleague.
Sherlock tilted his head up a fraction of an inch, 'what about my face?' he asked.
John pushed on his lower lip with his tongue; Sherlock knew exactly what he was talking about. 'You don't really like Sebastian do you?'
Sherlock closed his eyes, remembering his classmates talking about him behind his back, how they'd look at him like he wasn't human. He scoffed, 'was I too obvious?'
'What did he do to you?' asked John.
Sherlock turned his glare onto John, he knew the answer already. No one liked him; they all thought that his talent was just a trick or that he was a psychopath, destined to live the life of a serial murderer. This irked Sherlock.
John narrowed his eyes back at his eccentric flatmate in a gesture of mockery. 'Don't give me that. He's done something to you. You don't like Anderson and you don't hold him in anywhere near as much contempt as you did Sebastian. Go on, what did he do that's made you hate him so much?'
Sherlock cracked a reassuring smile, 'we just butted heads in college, that's all.' He turned to face outside again, the smile fading from his features to be replaced with a frown.
'Butted heads, yeah right,' John smiled a disbelieving smile, 'like I'm going to believe that,' he muttered. He turned to face his own window, leaning his chin on a hand as he watched the water droplets race on the glass.
The two sat in silence for a couple of minutes, Sherlock watching the symbols from the bank dance across the window and John wrestling with his need of an affordable flat, with someone who was willing to put up with an ex-army doctor with psychological trauma, and how much of a pain in the neck Sherlock was to live with.
The cab eventually stopped outside their destination and Sherlock pulled out some cash from his coat and handed it to the driver. The self-dubbed Consulting Detective and army doctor exited the cab into the pouring rain.
Using their coats as makeshift shelters, they jogged the short distance to the step of 221B Baker Street and let themselves into the warm building.
Sherlock proceeded up the stairs with John in toe. He removed his coat and scarf and hung them in their usual place. He crossed the floor to the coffee table and sat down on it, cross-legged, steepling his fingers under his chin. He started to watch symbols flying across the backdrop of his flat, comparing them with those he saw at the bank.
John stood to the side of Sherlock. He watched him, expecting the usual string of brilliance to escape his mouth. When it didn't, he decided to interrupt Sherlock's musings with a question relating to their conversation in the cab. 'How do you do it?' he asked.
Sherlock raised his eyebrows a touch but kept his focus on the air in front of his face, 'do what?'
'Stay so apparently heartless. You must feel things, you are human after all.'
Sherlock blinked, 'it does not do well to dwell on feelings, John.'
John sighed, acknowledging a lost cause when he saw one, he went to the kitchen in search of a clean cup when he happened upon a jar of what looked like slugs. He took the jar out of the cupboard, '... what the- Sherlock?'
Sherlock smiled, so he'd found the leeches.
'Really, Sherlock? Really? I know you get bored, but leeches? Do you need these?' John gripped the top of the jar with two fingers and a thumb, he turned it up to the light to inspect the blood suckers. 'Where do you even get leeches?' he asked himself. He shook his head and placed the jar on a small area of available bench space.
'They're for an experiment,' said Sherlock with a smile still on his lips.
'An experiment in what?' asked John.
Sherlock opened his mouth to explain but John interrupted him, 'you know what? I don't even want to know. If you need me I'll be at Mrs. Hudson's. I know for a fact that she doesn't keep bugs in her kitchen cupboards,' he started towards the stairs.
'Wait,' said Sherlock.
'What?' asked John, hand poised to grip the door handle, preparing to be asked too much of yet again.
'We need tea. I disposed of what we had left to use the jar,' said Sherlock angling his head towards the kitchen, his eyes never wavering from his invisible target.
John took his hand away from the door handle and turned to face Sherlock, a self-fulfilling prophecy he thought. 'Why did you...' he lowered his head to calm himself down. 'Why can't you get it yourself? Why can't-how did you live before I arrived?' he said, raising his head.
John dropped his jaw in shock.
'Not well, anyway.' Sherlock faced John, a faint but present look of despair swimming around his bright eyes. He stood and stepped off the coffee table straightening his suit as he went, 'having only a skull and an old landlady for company is not as much fun as it sounds.'
'Well, I...' started John.
Sherlock looked into his colleague's eyes, 'I like you, John,' he said.
John frowned. He'd obviously misheard, 'you what?'
Sherlock bowed his head and rubbed the back of his neck, 'I'm not good at feelings.' He studied John's reaction. He found disbelief and embarrassment - the more obvious of his emotions.
'Feelings? You have feelings... for me. What kind of feelings? R-romantic feelings?' asked John, falling over his words.
Sherlock stood up straight allowing a smile to play at his lips at John's flailing. 'You said 'feelings' four times in the same sentence.'
'What am I supposed to say when my flatmate, who's 'not looking for any kind of relationship', tells me that he likes me?' asked John, chuckling, still in disbelief.
'He could tell me if he reciprocates or not,' suggested Sherlock. 'And just because I'm not looking for a relationship, doesn't mean I can't be attracted to someone.'
John shook his head, 'you are unbelievable.'
John laughed and stumbled his way over to an armchair. Sitting down he put his hand to his head, smile still etched on his worn features, and said, 'I need a drink.'
'I have some wine somewhere - since we're out of tea,' replied Sherlock warmly.
'It's a start. Where is it? I'll get it,' John made to rise from his chair but Sherlock pushed him back.
'Don't worry, I'll get it. You just sit,' he said.
Sherlock left for the kitchen while John sat, as instructed, relishing in the fact that Sherlock was doing something for him for a change.
He heard Sherlock call from the kitchen, 'it's actually whiskey, is that okay?'
'Even better!' replied John.
Sherlock returned from the kitchen with a large, unopened bottle of Jack Daniel's and two glasses. He sat them on the coffee table and dragged it over between the arm chairs in front of the fireplace. He straightened his back and frowned at the smouldering ashes, 'do you want a fire?' he asked the darkened alcove.
'Are you talking to me?' asked John looking at the side of Sherlock's face.
'Yes,' Sherlock faced John, 'although the fireplace does make for an excellent conversationalist while you're not here, I was talking to you. Would you like a fire?'
'Oh, yeah. Sure. Thanks,' said John, picking up the bottle of Jack to examine its label.
Sherlock picked up a few pieces of useless paper, took the matches from the mantle and set fire to the scrap, throwing it nonchalantly onto the Briquettes in the fireplace.
The brunette sank down into the chair opposite John and watched the doctor's rough, war wounded knuckles whiten has he broke the seal on the bottle.
John felt Sherlock's eyes on him; he followed his flatmate's vision to his hands. He spoke, 'can you at least wait until I'm tipsy until you look at me like that?'
Sherlock pulled himself from his reverie, 'sorry,' he said, 'I'm just wondering how you manage to operate a gun with such petite hands.'
John smiled, 'petite?'
'Oh shut up and pour the liquor, small hands,' teased Sherlock, steepling his fingers again.
John filled the glasses and handed one to Sherlock. He raised his own in a makeshift toast then downed it in one go.
Sherlock took a small sip from his glass, 'so you're getting drunk because I have feelings for you,' he stated, putting down his glass.
'In a nutshell,' replied John, downing his second.
'And what do you think that is going to achieve?' asked Sherlock.
'That when I wake up tomorrow morning I assume that all this,' John gestured towards Sherlock with his finger then to himself a couple of times, 'was just a dream,' he said. He poured his third.
Sherlock frowned, 'what's so bad about 'all this'?' he asked.
'Well number one, I'm straight. Number two, we live together and number three, you're... you...' replied John gulping down his full glass.
Sherlock chuckled, 'number one, I know. Number two, I'm not going to sneak into your room in the middle of the night and climb into bed with you. Come on, John, give me some credit. As for number three, you seem to tolerate my company very well.'
'Look, Sherlock, don't get me wrong, you're brilliant. Absolutely...' John looked up at the ceiling hoping it would provide a better word with which to describe the man sitting across from him, 'brilliant doesn't even begin to cover it. But what you're not is someone who could sustain a normal, healthy relationship.'
Sherlock took another sip of his drink, 'I told you. I'm not after a relationship.'
'Then why did you have to tell me?' asked John.
'Because I wanted you to know,' replied Sherlock simply.
'And what is me knowing going to achieve?' asked John, mimicking Sherlock's earlier question.
'My declaration wasn't designed to achieve anything.'
John said nothing.
Sherlock shifted his position, 'it was basically me getting something off my chest, one less bit of information in my head that I have to contend with.'
John raised his eyebrows, 'so your attraction to me requires contention?
'Contention is a beautiful word, John,' said Sherlock, doing a very bad job at avoiding the question.
'I know it is. Now answer the question,' replied John, the alcohol had kicked in but he was still able to stand his ground.
Sherlock took a swig of his drink, 'a certain amount, yes.'
John smiled; at last he had the upper hand, 'what kind of contention?'
'That you'd find out before I was ready to tell you.' Sherlock took yet another swig from his glass, surprised that there was no longer any liquid left, he snatched the bottle from in front of John and poured himself his second drink of the night.
John's smile widened as he watched Sherlock in his unnatural habitat; feelings. 'I see,' he said, trying to hide his smile. Surely it was rude to enjoy Sherlock's discomfort?
'Oh shut up, John,' said Sherlock focusing on the stream of amber liquid pouring into his glass.
'I didn't say anything,' replied John. He put on an innocent face and sipped from his drink.
Sherlock scoffed and threw back is his own.
'Now that you have some liquid courage in you, are you going to tell me about Sebastian?' asked John.
Sherlock traced the rim of his glass, not looking at the object of his affection, 'only if you promise not to repeat it.' He raised his head, the look of despair had returned to his eyes, 'to anyone,' he said returning his gaze to his glass.
'Of course,' said John.
Sherlock smiled weakly, 'and don't put it in your blog,' he said in a voice that screamed authority.
'Of course I won't,' said John smiling reassuringly.
Sherlock took a deep breath. 'They got to me, John,' he said, 'they just got to me.'
John frowned, maybe it was just his alcohol-induced state but he didn't like seeing Sherlock like this. 'How?' he asked.
'Their taunts, their jaunts I-'Sherlock put a hand over his face, 'I thought I'd be over it by now but seeing Sebastian just...' he trailed off with his head in his hand.
'Brought all the feelings back,' John finished, I know what that's like.' He looked at his brilliant companion, his usual air of superiority gone. He looked vulnerable, penetrable.
John rose and crossed the space between them to sit on the arm of Sherlock's chair. 'It's alright, mate. You don't have to go on,' he put his hand on Sherlock's shoulder, squeezing it lightly.
Sherlock looked at the hand on his shoulder, he went to touch it but thought better of it. He instead laid his hand in his lap, scratching at a fingernail. 'There are a myriad of different types of murderers, John. But unrequited love...' he paused to look at John, tears in his eyes, 'is the most ruthless of them all.'