AN: Birthday ficlet for my wonderful friend the OG. I'd be lost without you, dear.

Didn't edit it, as it's a day late already. Will go through at some point to make it pretty.

WARNINGS: Homophobia.

John sat in his seat onstage facing his three-hundred some classmates with his hands fisted at his sides and jaw clenching tighter by degrees while he listened to retiring superintendent Mycroft Holmes' speech. Every word about "letting go of childish things" and "recognizing true potential" was a disguised barb, carefully designed for John Watson.

John honestly didn't know why he had bothered. He'd gotten the message loud and clear a week ago when Sherlock, in that condescending, sarcastic tone that was patently his, had thanked John for "the physical diversion" that their time together had been. Sherlock shared this mere moments before John had planned on confessing that he'd taken out more loans than he could think about without hyperventilating so he could go to Harvard. With Sherlock. Now John would have the dubious pleasure of watching the man he loved and his new "physical diversion" for the next four years and come out of the experience hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

To top it all off, he had to spend the entire graduation ceremony next to one ex and three seats down from another. Of the two, he had to confess he'd much rather be sitting next to Sherlock than Sally. iSherlock/i hadn't cornered him after soccer practice to give him a long, venomous bulleted list of best-friend-turned-boyfriend's supposed crimes ending with the phrase "and he's igay/i, John. People are talking." No, that had all been Sally.

John had been shocked into silence, long moments passing while he tried to reign in his temper. "People do little else. And you know what? They're right for once. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have ten minutes to grope my future-serial-killer of a boyfriend before I have to go catch my bus."

He'd had the privilege of being broken up with not seven minutes later, but it had been worth it, if only to see the scandalized expression on Sally's face.

Mycroft's speech was just the icing on the many-layered cake of crap that had been John's life of late. As the salutatorian and class president, he had to speak. Next, as a matter of fact. The trick would be resisting the impulse to trip Mycroft and flip off about a third of the class. Specifically, the third headed by Anderson (the douche) , who had decided that John had changed his name to "faggot" when he'd decided to become Sherlock's friend Junior year. They'd been more accepting the past few day, but John really couldn't give a flying fuck about the homophobic assholes.

Thankfully, John had written his address weeks ago when he was still fairly blissed out, so his speech didn't reflect his current mood. John just read the words he had on the paper before them, just trying to get through the stupid thing as fast as possible so he could sit down and continue to feel miserable.

"That was John Watson," Principle Lestrade announced, clapping John on his shoulder briefly before allowing him to escape back to his seat. "He'll be heading off to Harvard come next fall."

John saw Sherlock jerk forward out of the corner of his eye as he settled into the folding chair on the stage. He made a conscious effort to ignore the grey gaze, but John could still ifeel/i Sherlock looking at him

They began calling names, and still Sherlock didn't look away. It took all of John's concentration to at least appear indifferent to the other boy's scrutiny. Until they got to the D's. It was rather difficult to ignore Sherlock when he deposited himself in Sally's chair.

"You aren't going to Harvard," he stated in that silky-smooth voice of his. "You're going to Georgetown because your Uncle works there so the tuition is reasonable, despite the fact that you hated the school and their pre-med program isn't what you hoped."

"I iwas/i going Georgetown," John answered angrily. Angry was good. Angry was better than heartbroken, at any rate. "Now I'm going to Harvard."

"Why? Why would you do that? You can't afford to go to Harvard."

"Why do you care?" John snapped back.

"Tell me. Tell me why," Sherlock demanded.

John was going to tell Sherlock exactly where to shove it. It was none of his business. Sherlock was the one who had decided that. The words 'deduce it', filled with anger, were on his lips. But then he met Sherlock's eyes. And instead of what he was planning on saying, to his utter horror, he heard the truth come out of his mouth.

"Because I love you."

Sherlock was struck dumb. John pressed his advantage.

"That's right. I bankrupted myself so I could go to the same college as you because I love you, and I can't really imagine what I would do without you. But I guess I'll find out now, won't I?" By the end of his tirade, there were angry tears at the corner of his eyes.

Sherlock made the noise. The one that sounded like he was kicking himself in the head.

"Of course. That day, when Sally ambushed you. You were coming to tell me what a colossal idiot you had chosen to be. And I…oh god," Sherlock said, burying his head in his hands.

"What did you think I was going to tell you? And how did you know Sally ambushed me?" John asked.

"I overheard you in the locker room. I came looking for you…you were taking too long. And when she said people were talking and you didn't say anything…"

Sherlock actually looked uncomfortable. John had never seen him quite so awkward.

"I didn't say anything because I was trying not to punch her in the face. And then I told her in rather explicit terms where I was going and what I was going to do to you. Not that I can imagine why you care. I have bent over backwards for you, Sherlock. I do everything you ask, and all the things you just assume I should know. I cut class, I make excuses, I don't press you up against lockers and kiss you senseless, and I didn't ask you to the prom because you're so obsessed with privacy."

Sherlock gaped at him.

"We never engaged in public displays of affection, none of your friends were aware of the fact that we were in a relationship…I thought you were ashamed of me," Sherlock confessed after several minutes of looking like a beached fish.

"You thought I was…" John clamped his traitorous mouth shut. "And why would that matter? I was just a 'physical diversion'" he quoted scathingly.

Sherlock looked as if he had been struck. "Never. John, I…I love you."

Sally chose that moment to finally return with her rolled up piece of printer paper. "Hey! Freak, out of my seat. Haven't you ruined his life enough already? Thank god he finally came to his senses and broke up with you."

John suddenly had an epiphany. And he felt like the idiot Sherlock was always calling him.

"It was a pre-emptive strike," John said with conviction, staring into Sherlock's devastating blue-grey-green eyes and ignoring Donovan's insults.

"Yes," Sherlock said in response.

John grabbed Sherlock's hand and yanked him up before dragging him in the direction of the podium. He ignored Sherlock's questioning "John?" and Molly's indignation at being shoved out of the way in the middle of reading a name.

"Excuse me," John said into the microphone. "I'm sorry for interrupting. This will only take a minute. I just wanted to clear something up." John took a deep breath before continuing. "I am in love with Sherlock Holmes," he announced before pulling the other boy down into a kiss in front of all their classmates and relatives. "Still think I'm ashamed?" he whispered into Sherlock's ear, delighting in Sherlock's laughter in response.

Worth it, John thought, remembering that laugh later that night. John smiled through the blood on his face, even as his father's boot connected with his ribs again and shouting about having another faggot in the family. He's worth it.