John Watson: After the Final Rose

John woke up wrapped in Sherlock's arms. Warm. Comfortable. Happy. Everything he had wanted for a very long time. There was something to be said for sex as stress relief. Or at least a very satisfying way to culminate an incredibly painful two months. Even though Sherlock's rather bony knees were putting pressure on John's hipbone, it was perfect. Almost disgustingly so. And John refused to let anyone begrudge them that right now. They were happy, and they could damn well enjoy it.

Besides, Sherlock was beautiful when he was sleeping. And when he was awake, but John felt less awkward staring at someone who didn't know he was staring. It gave him a good chance to examine everything. Beautiful curling hair, long, soft eyelashes, the perfect jaw line. A body that was slightly too thin, with just a hint of muscle definition. Sherlock was amazing to look at. Even down to the freckle just behind his ear. John would try to memorize every feature, every contour, every inch. Because he could.

He was allowed to have tender moments now, and say what he wanted to and not give a shit who thought what about him. After weeks of rules and restraints and drama, it didn't surprise him that he just wanted to lay there and take in the moment. Take in Sherlock.

He had a few minutes of silent enjoyment before Sherlock started to stir. Not like that interrupted John. All it did was add a bit of stupid grin to the smile on his face.

"Morning," he whispered. "Sleep like the dead did you?"

Sherlock wasn't quite awake enough to answer. Rubbing his eyes and rolling slightly away from John he blearily responded. "Why are you so damn chipper?"

"I usually get up a lot earlier than this. And I've managed to get some sleep recently, which must have been better than you were doing." John twined his fingers into Sherlock's hair and planted a kiss on his nose which the detective wrinkled, a smile spreading across his lips. "Ten o'clock isn't exactly early."

"When is checkout?" Sherlock asked with a yawn. "Eleven?"


"Alright. I'll try to get ready." Sherlock started to sit up, but John's arm held him down.

"Don't. We don't need to go yet, and I'm enjoying this. Take your time, Sherlock." John's head rested on the other man's chest, arm pulling him a bit closer. "We can hurry later."

They didn't have much time together. John knew that. And he wanted to savour every second before he had to go.


"Excuse me?" Sherlock asked sharply. "What do you mean separate flights?"

They were standing in the airport, beside an empty check-in desk, waiting to be sent home. Of course this is when Steve wants to talk to them. Of. Course.

Steve raised an eyebrow with a cold expression on his face. "Did you expect to be going home together?"

"Well, yes, he's my fiancé," Sherlock growled. John's arm came up to his shoulder, trying to get his attention, but he shrugged it off. Why could nothing be easy for the two of them? They were not going to force this decision on him. Wasn't it supposed to be over now? "And I'm sure he doesn't have a place to stay. So he can come to my flat."

"You didn't read your confidentiality waiver, did you?" Steve asked bluntly, and then sighed. Sherlock could tear his head off. Why would he have read the waiver? He wasn't supposed to have won, and he'd been banking on that reality since day one. Now here he was, and he was obviously missing something incredibly crucial. "You can't see John for a while. At least two weeks, and unless you're incredibly covert, you really shouldn't be living together."

"Why the hell not?" He was not going to let ratings spoil his one and only romance. It wasn't right. And John obviously didn't want to head home alone either. Or at least he hoped not.

"Because if you spoil the ending to the series, you also spoil our ratings, and thus our paycheques. And then we have to sue you." Steve forced a smile out and then let his words smash it back into a frown. "And that reality comes from the people who finance me, and is not my personal decision, so don't try to peg me as the bad guy."

No. No, Steve was still absolutely and completely the "bad guy" in Sherlock's opinion.

"Then I'll risk the lawsuit and take him back with me anyway." So he loses some money. Not the first time he'd worked for free, and it wouldn't be the last. Besides, all he really needed was John. And John was coming with him.

John's arm looped through his and the doctor leaned heavily on his shoulder.

"They're guaranteed two hundred and fifty thousand pounds if we go to court. It's in the contract." John's voice sounded defeated. He couldn't have mentioned this beforehand? Like before they got to the airport and he made an ass of himself? "I'm sorry. I thought you knew."

Argh. Everyone around him was an idiot. He was an idiot. What kind of fool doesn't read the contract he's signing, no matter how slim his chances are of having to use that information? Oh right. Sherlock. And almost everyone else. Fuck, was he really reduced to the intellectual level of everyone else? That was a bit disgusting. But really, why read some long legal jargon that will never ever, remotely, apply to you?

Because when you don't expect it to, it does. Sherlock could die right then and there. Embarrassment, shame, the horrible feeling of stupidity. Neither of them could afford that kind of fee. John was on a pension, and he barely had an income, much less a steady one. Mycroft could afford it. But what he'd ask for would be worse than the original punishment.

Sherlock didn't really fancy becoming his brother's personal errand boy for some indefinite period of time, especially not because he couldn't keep it in his pants for a couple of weeks. He loved John, but...well, someone would die if that happened and he couldn't guarantee it would be Mycroft.

"I know, it's not pleasant, and I'm sorry," Steve said, with some actual sympathy in his voice. A rehearsed speech. He probably had to go through this often. "Every time we have to do this to someone, I feel terrible. But you can call, and I think both of you can be discreet. You'll see each other soon enough." Yes, Steve, you feel terrible but not terrible enough to forgo any thought to ratings. That's really kind of you.

"I'd like to talk to John in private now." Sherlock watched Steve's frown deepen.

"Alright. Suit yourselves." And he left, leaving them alone.

"Do you have your mobile on you?" Sherlock asked abruptly. "I'll give you my number."

"It's in my suitcase," John said, sheepishly. Sherlock tried not to pull a face. Why would he do that? People use their phones. Often. On airplanes. Or in his case every five seconds whether the attendant told him to shut it off or not.

John grabbed a pen and paper from the check in desk. "Here, write it down."

Sherlock scribbled his number down, while John did the same on another sheet of paper. And then they traded.

"Don't you dare lose that," Sherlock said, smiling slightly. He still had John. He could accept the rest of this nonsense as long as it came with John. "I'm not sure I can survive two weeks without hearing from you at all." That felt awkward to admit out loud but it was completely true.

"I'll call." John said. He seemed sincere. And he almost looked like he was going to cry. But he didn't. Sherlock wiped a thumb under the other man's eye, anyway, just an excuse to touch him. "Don't forget me in the meantime."

"How could I?" Sherlock asked quietly. He leaned in and gave John a deep, penetrating kiss, that the two of them held for just a bit too long. Fortunately, there weren't many people to stare. "I love you, John Watson."

"I love you," John replied quietly taking his hand for a moment and squeezing it tightly. "And I'll see you soon enough."


John spent the entire trip back to London clinging to that scrap of paper. He held it during the flight, worrying his thumb around edges, trying not to rub any of the numbers off. The paper softened slowly, and was much weaker by the time he disembarked. He had to shove it roughly in his pocket to carry his luggage, though, and thoughts of the number's safety dissipated as he dragged his belongings around and hailed and cab and set off to Harry's place.

John wasn't happy to be shipped off to Harry's with only Sherlock's phone number in his pocket not the detective himself. He wasn't going to bother to get his own place for such a short period of time. So it was either a hotel, or Harry's place. It's too bad she wasn't in the two bedroom with Clara anymore; not only did Clara make Harry almost tolerable, but the two bedroom would mean he was sleeping in a bed - no matter how crappy - rather than on the couch. Facing the kitchenette.

Harry called it her "bachelorette pad." John just wanted to not be there. It was on the opposite side of the city to 221B, and rather close to Sarah's apartment, based on what she had told John. He wasn't sure he wanted to see Sarah right now, let alone potentially talk to her..

"So," Harry asked, as soon as John showed up on her doorstep, "who'd you pick?"

John pushed her back inside. He wasn't talking about this in the hallway. She was probably going to scream enough that her neighbours heard everything through the thin walls. The whole building didn't have to hear as well.

"Close the door," John said, making his way to the couch he was about to call home for a fortnight. It was comfortable. At least he had that.

Harry closed the door, locked it, and followed him. "She reject you?" His sister seemed to almost be concerned or at least slightly softened. That was new but John knew it wouldn't last through his next sentence.

"No, I rejected Sarah," John said, heavily, bracing himself for the ensuing row. Harry didn't say anything just yet. "And Sherlock accepted."

"You seriously picked that bastard?" John felt his eyes close and rubbed at his temples.

"Just because Sherlock doesn't like you and you don't like him doesn't mean he's a bastard." John sighed and settled back into the couch, trying to regain some sense of relaxation. "And I love him. If I didn't, I wouldn't have chosen him."

"Someone like that makes you happy. I never did get you," Harry said with a laugh. Granted it was a laugh tinged with exasperation and anger. "Seriously, John, to think you would go and do an about face in sexuality over such a prick."

Harry seemed at least partially amused. That was better than John had been expecting. Far better. He had some hope for his time with his sister, now. "Does this mean you're not going to make a fuss about it?"

"Oh hell, no," Harry returned, vindictively. "You're going to hear about it 'til the day you die."


"Sherlock?" Mrs Hudson asked as he came through the door. Instantly, he found himself smothering in old woman, and affection. This was unpleasant. "Did you win, love?"

Sherlock pulled out of her embrace, and exhaustedly waved his ring finger in her face. She instantly squealed.

"Oh, just wait until I tell Mrs Turner. She'll love it! Is John coming too?" Sherlock didn't answer but did let her bully him into a seat in her kitchen. "He must have to get his stuff."

"You can't tell Mrs Turner and John isn't coming." Sherlock sank down, resting his head on the table just a little bit forcefully. "I can't even see him for two weeks, and then not in public."

"What?" she gasped, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Why on earth not?"

"We signed a confidentiality waiver. It might spoil their ratings if the public finds out that I won before the first episode even airs." Mrs Hudson's hand was not comforting. In a moment she took it away and went to make some tea.

"Oh, Sherlock. It'll be alright. You've done so much." He couldn't see her, but the sympathy was dripping from her voice. "If you've come this far, you can survive two weeks, I hope."

Two weeks may as well be forever. Right now, Sherlock just wanted to sleep. And potentially make obscene phone calls to Steve. Or maybe Dave. He'd settle for that. Someone connected to that production had to pay dearly for this kind of suffering.


John dug through his coat pockets one more time. Seriously, he had unpacked and hung his coat in the closet and he was sure he had had it last night. Or at least he thought he had. He actually didn't remember too much about what he had done after the flight. He wasn't feeling the best and he was lonely already, and honestly? He'd had a crappy night.

But now he couldn't find his one lifeline. The scrap of paper with Sherlock's phone number on it was missing.

Shit. He grabbed Harry's open laptop and did a quick search of phone listings for Sherlock Holmes. Nothing.

Well, fuck. He wanted to talk to him. Talk about getting home and resting and what they were going to do to get John moved in subtly. And now he couldn't.

He missed Sherlock. Far more than he should, really, considering they hadn't actually lived together or been able to see each other outside of structured dates. But he really did. It was painful how acute the absence was. Like a hole in his life that had a big "Sherlock goes here" sign. Something he didn't know he had been missing, but now couldn't live without. He couldn't walk down the hall and talk to him anymore, if he needed to. He couldn't sneak over to Sherlock's room in the middle of the night. He couldn't even call.

But Sherlock had his number, right? It couldn't be too long before the detective called him. He was sure Sherlock missed him as much as he missed the detective.


Having a gay old time, on the Bachelor the terribly punned title read. Sherlock saw his face splattered on the tabloid and instantly panicked. Anonymity breached. He knew this had been coming, but he hadn't been prepared. Nothing could prepare him for seeing his face in print, on the front cover of the trashy magazine an old lady at the supermarket was reading. Nothing. And he needed to leave. Now.

He turned, quickly, head down, collar popped, hoping his coat and hair would hide his face enough to get him out of here before someone recognized him. Before anyone recognized him. Before the old lady or the woman running the counter looked up and put two and two together.

People were stupid, but not that stupid.

He didn't need garlic that badly, anyway. And if he did he'd steal it from Mrs Hudson. Could he survive on just takeout? And not face the delivery man?

He just wanted to not have to be seen ever again. All his personal struggle, all his inner conflict, everything he had worked for, his air of mysteriousness, his recognizable but chameleon presence was about to disappear. How do you pretend you're Joe from next door or Mr Smith's old friend if you've had your face plastered all over the media?

Oh god. His world was crashing around his ears. He couldn't get to Baker Street fast enough.


"What's wrong, Sherlock?" Mrs Hudson called after him, as he came careening through the door, frantic.

"I think I may have inadvertently become somewhat famous," Sherlock replied, out of breath. "I'm just going to go hide in my flat and not come out until everyone forgets about me, if that's alright with you."

"What do you -"

Mrs Hudson's voice was muffled by the solidly closed and locked door of Sherlock's flat.


It was odd for John to be the one sitting beside the hospital bed, rather than in it. Though the ward was nicer than John's and Geoff was entirely mobile and seemed a lot happier than he had when John last saw him. The younger man had smiled and cheered when he came through the door, not expecting a visitor so soon.

"John," he called, cheerily. "You came to see me?"

"Of course, I did," John laughed, taking the chair beside Geoff's bed, watching as the other man cleared his books away. "It was first thing on my list."

"I thought 'honeymoon' would be the first thing on the list," Geoff joked, lightly. He leaned heavily on his elbows, the bags under his eyes becoming more noticeable when the light hit them directly. "Did Sherlock win?"

"Yeah, he did." John smiled back at him, just glad to know that he was still breathing. He might not have been if it weren't for Sherlock's advice. John wouldn't have a lot of things, if not for Sherlock. And that was sobering and powerful and made John feel lonely. He still hadn't heard from the detective. He was an idiot for losing that number. He fucking deserved the slow pain of not being able to even hear Sherlock's voice.

But Sherlock didn't. And Geoff didn't deserve to have to watch John break down.

"That's top secret, though. I can't even see him for a few weeks."

"Wow, that blows," Geoff said without any real sympathy. John couldn't blame him for that. "You doing alright?"

"Fine." John wasn't about to say otherwise. He wasn't going to unload his personal problems on someone who had more than enough of their own. "I'm more worried about you."

"Been doing better since I moved in here." Geoff shuffled his books once more, avoiding eye contact. "I turned myself in, you know."

"Because of my advice?"

"No, I saw a therapist on your advice. She suggested I look in to mental health facilities." There was a lot of emotion on Geoff's face, but John wasn't sure which emotion. Sadness, maybe? Regret? "I went through a lot of shit after Paul died, and I didn't really have anyone else to turn to. It's stupid and I feel like I should have been able to do it on my own, but I got support here. And I needed that support."

John put a hand on his shoulder. "Needing support isn't stupid."

"Yeah, that's what they keep telling me." Geoff smiled, just a little, just for a moment. "And it is helping. Crude as it is, I don't feel like killing myself most of the time, now. I just needed someplace to accept that I needed to get over Paul. That it wasn't my fault and it wasn't his fault and that I'll always have regrets because of it. He was a hell of a lot more to me than my best friend and I never bothered to tell him."

And that was it. Tears had welled up and started rolling in a few milliseconds. John just watched as Geoff collapsed in on himself, hands pushing in to his eyes like they would stop the tears from coming out. They didn't, but John let him cry, rubbing his shoulder softly for support.

"I'm sorry, Geoff," he whispered. There wasn't much else to say. "I'm sorry."

"You're the first person that I've actually told, outside of group therapy." Geoff's voice was surprisingly calm. He seemed to have control of himself after another second, even if his eyes were red and wet. "It's a pretty fucking big deal, but I'm working through it. Just because he's gone, doesn't mean I have to totally forget he existed. I just have to learn to deal with it."

"You can do that. You're tough and smart." John took his hand back and watched the boy redeem himself. "And, hey, if you want me to stop by your hospital bed every day with video games, I can do that too."

They both grinned. And then Geoff's face crumpled a bit, and the tears seeped out the edge of his eyes. John felt his own tears welling too. There was too much for either of them to deal with.

They spent most of that afternoon joking and crying.


"Joh- Hello?" Sherlock asked hopefully and blearily into his mobile. It was four in the morning. Tuesday morning. He had been sleeping. Or at least in some state of unconsciousness on the couch. Sleep was so rare for him these days. But if it was John, he would happily skip sleep.

"Sherlock?" A high pitched squeal of a voice said. She had a bit of a... Texan accent. Definitely not John.

"Speaking." No need to give more. A client would give him information. Any one else could piss off.

"I just saw the first episode, and I totally just found your number and I have to say, I'm really rooting for you on The Bachelor!"

He wasn't quite sure what was going on, but obviously someone had to be stopped.

"It is four in the morning." He let every bit of the acid in his soul spill into his words.

"Really? Oh my gosh, I didn't even think of the time difference. I am so sorry. It's only ten, here."

He wished he had the ability to reach through phones and punch offensive callers in the face. However, there were more important questions to deal with. What the fuck? They were airing the show in the United States too? And she had his number?

"How did you get my number?" He wasn't in the mood for anything less than direct question and answer.

"Oh, I totally found your website! This deduction thing you do looks amazing."

And that was when he hung up violently, and hurled his phone somewhere into the kitchen.


Three calls later, he had almost thrown the damn mobile out the fucking window. He was awake for better or worse, so he grabbed his computer and took down his website. Phone number, casework, notices, all of it. And then he shut his mobile off. The next day he was going to spend switching his number, rearranging his website, and dealing with hell on his own.

It had been three long, lonely days at this point. No word from John. He could call. But John was probably under more pressure than he was, being the star. It wasn't right to bother him and John had good judgment when it came to these things. Trust. He could trust John.

Not that trust stopped him from feeling cheated and lonely and hurt. John hadn't done anything. And that was the problem.

If John was second guessing he just wanted to know. He wanted to be there to talk to John. But he wanted to hear that voice. Even if a large part of him wouldn't be surprised if John just told him he wasn't into men and left.

Two hours of sleep. Two hours of sleep and he could take his mind off John for another day and just focus on not having to feel. He was feeling way too fucking much right now, and it was compromising his ability to function, to think, to do absolutely anything at this point. Sherlock thought the pain would be over after the ring was on his finger and John was with him. That was where John was supposed to be right now. His entire being, including his career was spinning out of control and rapidly down the drain. It'd be really nice if John could be there, if only to help him pick up the pieces of what used to be his existence. For right now though, he at least had one thing that had to be done.

Get his life in order.


Harry grabbed John's mobile off the floor where it sat vibrating. John was still asleep on the couch, snoring away while the phone shook. She slipped back in to her room before checking it. A new message.

John, my number seems to have been leaked and I've had to disconnect it. My new number is 020 7831 2754. Please call at your earliest convenience. Miss you. Love you. SH

She didn't even hesitate before deleting it. Serves the fucking prick right. Serves fucking John right. He couldn't pick his family over this mess?

Harry knew she was being irrational, but she didn't really care. Side effects from being an alcoholic, she was told. She usually told those people that their face was a side effect of being ugly.

Maybe she should work on her comebacks.

Or maybe she was potentially jealous of John. The bastard in question's words rang through her skull for a minute and she had to forcibly shove it down. This was about what she wanted for her brother and saving him the pain of dating an absolute, fucking prick of a man. That's what she was going to tell herself.


It was Tuesday. The day after the first episode had aired, and John hadn't watched it. He didn't want to hear himself talk about these women and man he didn't know. Harry had watched every second and had called her comments from the couch to John, who had borrowed her room. And cranked the stereo. He still heard it.

"The prick just showed up!" The prick was her new name for Sherlock. She'd ask him if he'd heard from 'the prick,' if he'd dumped him, if they were fucking. Everything she said built up to one thing: she was angry with him for choosing Sherlock. Not like he was surprised, but she was making life miserable. And after listening to an evening filled with that kind of talk, he really just wanted to speak with the only person who mattered right now.

A burning desire to hear Sherlock's voice. Sherlock still hadn't called. And he was damn well going to fix it.

Harry had unlimited internet, thankfully. Which meant that John's hopefully not tedious search wouldn't get him in trouble with his sister. More trouble. In fact, Harry being at work was the first relief from the passive-aggressive anger that John had had in a few days, and it was almost blissful.

The thing they didn't tell you about this show was that the stress you go through during filming can easily double right afterwards. John was feeling that right now. Harry had promised him a tabloid. He'd already seen them. He couldn't talk to the only person he wanted to. He couldn't see his fiancé.

He set up the computer and ran his first search. He wasn't surprised that Sherlock's number was unlisted. A quick search on a general site brought up the message boards and the articles dealing with the show.

He didn't want to look at those blogs. Or anything else. And it was terrifying now that he had to be there. Sherlock's phone number was plastered all over these boards.

That was awful. John couldn't even begin to imagine how many people had called him in the last day or so. It turned his stomach to think about it. Sherlock didn't need this kind of pressure on top of everything else. John wouldn't have known how to handle it if his number went online. He desperately wanted to help him, ask if he was alright, make sure the media attention hadn't killed Sherlock. And this awful system of pressure was the only way he could do so.

He called.

"This mobile number has been disconnected and is no longer in service." The polite woman on the phone stabbed John in the heart. "Please hand up and redial."

He double-checked. Every site had the same number. One had a message with terrible grammar talking about how they had actually spoke to Sherlock and how rude he had been. John tried again.

Same message. Disconnected.


John knew why it was disconnected. He would have done the same. If he had been one day quicker instead of waiting for Sherlock to call, he would have gotten through. The sense of urgency hadn't been there. And now, he had lost all possibility of control. He had to wait. Either Sherlock called him, or he didn't.

And now, John wasn't sure. He sat, staring at the message boards and the forums, not really forming any coherent thoughts as a sense of panic threatened to take over.

Sherlock could have called quickly before disconnecting. Couldn't he have? Was he really that desperate?

Did he regret John?

John shut the damn computer off, but didn't move.


When John hadn't called by that night, Sherlock was angry. Not with John, mind you, but with himself. It was stupid for him to hang so much on one very fallible person. John didn't have time for him, and he should have known better to even ask for it.

And maybe he was a little bit angry with John. The man couldn't even have texted him back? Even if it was a break up or a 'can't talk now' message?

John was toying with his heart now. Or at least it fucking seemed like it, and it hurt that someone who had seen him so vulnerable had seemingly forgotten him. John had everything about Sherlock and everything Sherlock was in his hands and didn't seem to realize it or worse, he didn't care. And Sherlock was sure that by midnight, he'd be depressed and unable to sleep and the anger would dissipate into self-loathing again. He was going to sit here and debate whether or not his public image would recover and whether or not he'd be able to take a case and whether or not he had enough groceries to survive two months.

He didn't. He needed to go shopping. Maybe he could talk Mrs Hudson into doing it for him?

Possibly. But not likely right away. She might have to see one of the tabloids first. Which he didn't want her to. Or anyone else, for that matter, even though they didn't actually seem to have anything that negative to say about him...yet. As far as he had seen anyway. The blogs were a different story. About half of them were really positive. The other half thought he was ruining the dynamics of their favourite show. And all they had seen was episode one.

Delightful. Hopefully no one got a hold on his new number.

Sherlock sighed heavily, resting his head on the back of the couch.

How the fuck was he going to survive this? His sense of loneliness was new and palpable as he sat alone on his couch trying not to remember a couple of weeks ago when he had John beside him. It was hard to remember that he'd lived this way for years before John. It was doubly hard to remember what it was like to not be always searching for the other man's blond hair and blue eyes out of the corner of his eye. Sherlock knew it was pathetic, but he was trying to recall everything the doctor had ever said to him just to be reminded of the sound of his voice, trying to recall every time he touched him or was touched by him just to feel some ghost of it on his skin.

Before he knew it, he realized his eyes were getting uncomfortably watery. No, he was not going to start leaking, and blubber to himself on the couch damn it. That was not going to solve anything and it would make him feel worse.

And that was exactly what he didn't need right now.


The first time John saw Sarah on the street, he was busy trying to distract himself from his own utter depression. He was wearing sunglasses and a hat, which was keeping public attention to a minimum, but it still wasn't fun. Harry was insisting he go out and do things, though, and really? He couldn't say no. He wanted to be out of Harry's apartment as much as humanly possible. If only so he could stop hearing her call his fiancé a prick every third sentence..

What he really wanted was for Sherlock to call and whisk him off on an adventure. A case, or a desperate vacation away from the media. Anything.

But he hadn't called. And John still couldn't get through, even though he kept trying.

And then he walked around a corner and saw Sarah getting onto a bus. Probably off to work. She looked tired but fine. And she wasn't wearing sunglasses or hats or anything.

John supposed she didn't have to. Not yet. She was just one girl out of twenty four, so far. It was John and Sherlock who stood out.

He passed the tabloids every day. The first one had had Sherlock's face plastered all over it and was talking about the liberal implications. Suggesting that the competition was rigged and John was gay, or that they were forcing him to pretend to be bisexual, or that they told John to keep him for a while to add drama. None of which was true. John treated Sherlock like he would have anyone - he let himself be wooed by the person not the gender.

Not like mass media would ever understand that concept. He wasn't about to go and change their minds with one stupid show. Reality sucked.

And now, Sarah was walking by, taunting him, almost. As if she was saying 'should've picked me, it would have been easier.' He would have talked to her by now. Would have had someone to share all the ridiculousness with.

But he didn't want to share it with Sarah. He just wanted Sherlock to call.


Sherlock tore up the piece of paper with John's number on it and threw it out in a fit of rage. He was frustrated. He didn't want to even look at the internet in case he saw himself. Or John. Which would hurt more.

He didn't even want to talk to John right now. That's what he was telling himself. He was lonely, hurt, bored, unhappy, and everything else, and John wasn't there. For anything. He wasn't even concerned, or he would have called.

Could he really have fallen in love with someone so callous?

He knew better. He didn't know what was wrong, but all he could assume was that it was him. Something about Sherlock was wrong. John didn't want this any more. John couldn't come see him because he was regretting it. John's family was talking him out of this terrible, terrible decision. And it was probably a terrible decision, Sherlock couldn't even deny that part. He was an unbalanced, psychopathic mess of a man right now and he still didn't really understand what John saw in him in the first place. The doctor probably got off the plane, and realized what a huge mistake he was making, and decided not to see Sherlock again hoping that would be letting him down gently.

So he tore up John's number and threw it out, satisfying his more violent urges for a time.

John and his lack of contact could very happily fuck off. He didn't need him anyway. He shouldn't need him at all.

Besides, he had the number programmed into his mobile.


The second time John saw Sarah left him far more broken than the first. They made eye contact, passed each other on the street. She didn't say hi. Or even nod her head. From her standpoint, they didn't know each other.

And that left John completely alone. Sarah hated him. Somehow, he expected that. It still hurt, but at least it was expected pain. But he had also expected to have Sherlock there when he dealt with that. Or with the old lady asking him for his autograph.

He had expected Sherlock to give him a way out of Harry's flat.

And that wasn't fair to ask of Sherlock, but that's what he wanted. He wanted a voice and a person that he could look forward to seeing and talking to so that he didn't have to deal with the reality of living with his sister and all that anger for a few hours. He wanted to know that the good part was still coming. It was. He would see Sherlock soon. But he wanted to see him now, and the frustration was killing him slowly.

Nothing he could do about it though, except look into Sarah's ice cold eyes, and keep walking. The new tabloids came out tomorrow.

Harry had promised to buy him one. Whether he wanted it or not.


"Sherlock, just go out and see him," Mrs Hudson said with a sigh. She brought him some groceries and tea, but promptly started her usually motherhenning when she saw him still sprawled out on the couch.. "He loves you. He asked you to marry him. He's not the kind of boy that will go back on that."

Sherlock glanced briefly at his ring. His taunting, cruel ring. "He didn't answer my text."

"Something must have happened, dear," Mrs Hudson said quietly, patting him on the shoulder. She was the only person who could get away with calling Sherlock 'dear' to his face. Other than maybe John. "You've got to get out of the house some time."

"I'm not allowed to see him." Or he would have days ago and gotten this over with.

Suddenly the sweet old woman that was Mrs Hudson, dealt him a sharp smack to the side of his head. The impact was jarring, especially when you didn't expect it. She glared at him with more than a little bit of frustration, putting her hands on her hips.

"Sherlock Holmes, you're smarter than that. Work around the rules."

And that was probably the only useful piece of advice Mrs Hudson had ever given him.


"What the hell are you so down about?" Harry asked after about an hour or two of avoiding each other. John didn't feel like being near her, but he didn't want to go out again. He was tired and depressed. Unsurprisingly.

"I saw Sarah today," John said with a sigh.

"Rekindling an old flame?" Harry joked from the couch, John just frowned and kept washing the dishes. It was his payment for free rent for a few weeks.

"No. She wouldn't even say hello. It just made me miss Sherlock." John tried not to sigh too heavily again. It was driving Harry insane.

"You do realize this is the same prick who basically called me drunk and abusive and said that's why Clara left, right? John, this man is not a nice person." Harry had gone from joking to angry. In no time flat. John wasn't scared of it anymore. Harry's mood swings were just a part of living with her.

"You never told me that, but I'm not surprised," John replied, cautiously, but not too cautiously. He wasn't afraid of Harry. He was the one in the military, even if he did have a few scars now. "He did tell me he said some nasty things and that you had said some yourself."

"I did not, the lying bastard." Harry pulled herself up and walked over to John. "This man does not deserve to be part of our family. You're not going to have a happy ending with him, and he doesn't deserve one for what he said about me."

"Harry, you're being ridiculous." John set the plate down and dried his hands. If they were going to fight, he could at least be ready. "Sherlock was cruel because you were cruel first. And probably rude. And really, he's been through a lot of hell to get a 'happy ending' and so have I. I don't think you get a choice in that matter."

"See, this is why I deleted his stupid text message. You need some time away from him, or you'll go just as crazy as he is." Harry started stomping towards her room. John stopped her.

"What text?"

"The one with his new number," she said with a mean, false smile. "I'm not having that bastard calling my home every night."

"I cannot believe you sometimes." John's eyes fluttered closed and his hand went to his head. He wished he was more surprised. But the first thing he really felt was relief.

Sherlock had texted. He wasn't leaving. John needed to tell him what happened, and fix everything before Sherlock thought it was over.

"I hope he's suffering," Harry growled. "He shouldn't get away with saying those things about people."

"Fuck off, Harry," John said with a rush of anger. His fucking sister was ruining the one good thing he had right now. And if she did manage to sabotage it, he would never forgive her. "You've fucked up enough relationships without fucking up mine."

She spun away and grabbed her coat. John just watched her walk out. It was either that or attempt murder.

"I'm going out. I swear, if you weren't my brother..."

She didn't finish before she slammed the door. She was going to be drunk when she came back. Not like John was ever sure that she was sober. And he would hate her even more when she was drunk. His irresponsible, useless, fucking sister.

If there was anywhere else he could be, he would be there. Hopefully he didn't punch Harry in the face when she got back.


Sherlock did some research. The last several sightings of John had all been around the same five block area. There was only one grocery store in that range. If John was smart, he'd be getting his groceries or running errands earlier in the morning. Sherlock also needed groceries.

And had the patience to wander the area until he found John. There was a sighting every day, so far. Which meant that John had a routine and went out. Probably couldn't stand Harry for that long. Not like Sherlock could blame him for that.

But he needed to talk to his supposed fiancé. Even if John rejected him, at least he had a concrete answer, one way or the other.

He was going skip the disguise. He didn't care. He just wanted to fucking see John and talk to him and maybe yell at him a little. Besides, disguises look stupid. He didn't want John's potentially last image of him to have a fake moustache in it.


John left at five thirty. He hadn't slept, and he felt sick, and Harry wasn't back yet, which meant she was probably staying the night at some woman's house. He camped out at an all-night coffee shop until about seven, and then downed his fifth coffee and closed up his newspaper and went out. He was going to walk until he thought of something to do. How to get himself out of this mess. How to get in touch with Sherlock and tell him about Harry. How to get out of his sister's flat and never have to go back.

Sarah was there when he came out. He almost bumped into her, and she stopped in her tracks on her way in. Apparently this was her usual coffee shop. Or at least the one she was going to this morning.

They stood awkwardly. No avoiding it this time.

"Hello," John said softly. "Haven't seen you in a while."

"Look, John, I don't know what I did to deserve this, but please fucking leave me alone," she said, immediately. She looked angry and tired. John really couldn't blame her. "I don't want to see you."

"I'm sorry, Sarah," he murmured. "I've been staying with Harry. I didn't realize she was so close to your area."

"Because brushing by me on the street a few times doesn't enlighten you." She looked close to tears. "You have no idea what I've been going through."

"I can guess. I'm sorry, Sarah." He was repeating himself. But he didn't know what else to say. He'd hurt her, and now he was continuously hurting her by just being nearby. Great.

"You don't love me, can you please stop flaunting the fact that I lost? Please?" She was crying now. Completely broken down and sobbing crying. John put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. Trying to comfort her. Even though he knew it probably didn't mean much.

"Is there anything I can do?" he asked softly.

"Just go the fuck away. Please. Please." She was trembling. People were staring. And John would be happy to disappear if that's what she wanted.


Sherlock, watched John come out of the coffee shop. Watched him talk to Sarah, watched her start to bawl and then John touch her. Watched him offer to help her and try to comfort her. She obviously didn't want his affection but John was offering it anyway. And that hurt.

John was just as prohibited from talking to Sarah as he was talking to Sherlock. So why did Sarah's plea for help get attention while he got ignored? Simple. Sherlock wasn't stupid.

He wanted John to know he saw them. That was all. The last vindictive gasp in him before he went home and shattered into a million pathetic pieces.

A brisk walk brought him close enough to say it quietly to John's back. Getting so close, he was finding it hard to keep his resolve...and admittedly his composure. But fuck, he was angry and John could have fucking ended this last week and saved him a hell of a lot of time...and pain. He said the words, and told himself that this was it.

"You could have just told me."


John spun around just in time to see Sherlock's back retreating faster than he thought a walk could take a person. Sarah made a face and turned away, but John didn't even look at her before he took off.

At the very least, he could disappear for her. But really, he wanted to catch Sherlock.


Despite his careening run, Sherlock was gone by the time John rounded the corner. He kept looking. He checked the stores. The alleys. He asked passersby. Unsurprisingly, no luck. Sherlock had disappeared faster than John could think to follow.


The letter basically flew through the slot about fifteen minutes after John locked the door. Harry was off at work, but the letter was addressed to him. He was busy wallowing in his own shame.

Finally, finally, he gets to see Sherlock, and he's immediately left in the street with a misunderstanding. He knew how it looked. He'd do the same thing, in Sherlock's position. It looked like he had abandoned him. And John felt sick just thinking about it.

All he had to do was unfold it before the ring dropped out onto the floor. John picked it up and went back to the couch where he sat with his head in his hands. No. This had gotten too far away from him, too far out of hand. Sherlock was leaving him. And John didn't really know why, but it was very possibly because he didn't want this. It was a struggle now, and John was really painfully aware of that. Sherlock didn't have to put up with this. John didn't have a choice anymore, but he desperately wanted Sherlock to be there, as selfish as that was. He didn't want to think about life without him.

The desperate hope was still there, though. If Sherlock was leaving him he could at least know why. He could try to fix it. Because he wasn't going on like this without at least trying.

He read the note carefully.


If you were having second thoughts, you could have told me. I haven't slept or been able to leave the house in days. If you were going to leave me, you could have at least saved me those hours of doubt. Have fun with Sarah.

Sherlock Holmes

That was the catalyst John needed. He stood up, put his shoes on, and went to go buy some hair dye. It was a good thing he hadn't cut his hair since he got back. The shaggy look would help right now.


Sherlock was lying on the couch, unmoving and had been since he'd dropped the ring off. John didn't want him. He had lost his anonymity. His reputation would probably be destroyed in a matter of weeks. He couldn't even take a case if he wanted to.

What was the most painless and dignified way to commit suicide? CO poising involved vomiting. Not a good choice. Pills involved far too much effort and were potentially painful, depending on the medication. All the poisons he had on hand were violent and painful. Excruciating even. All he wanted was a quick easy death.

Maybe jumping? Too much time for regret. He just needed a gun, really.

Tomorrow. If he slept at all, tomorrow he could get a gun.

But the doorbell at one in the morning would jar anyone out of a chain of thought. He still didn't move. He heard Mrs Hudson call out and shuffle to the door, but he couldn't hear what she was saying.


"I'm sorry," she answered politely, not opening the door all the way. "Can I help you?"

"Mrs Hudson?" The dark haired man asked. He was wearing a baggy sweatshirt, tight pants, and sunglasses. Oddly enough. Hair was shaggy and unkempt. "Can I come in?"

"Do I know you?" Wariness was probably a good thing when your tenant was Sherlock Holmes. John pulled off his sunglasses. Mrs Hudson's eyes went wide.

"I just want to see Sherlock, if I can." John asked quietly.

"Of course. Get in here, John." She practically dragged him in, and slammed the door. "I don't know what happened, but he's so depressed. He's been having a really bad time of it since he came back."

"Is he here?" John asked in a whisper. "Is he alright?"

"Not alright, but here, yes," she said, quietly. "Go talk to him. Please." The look on Mrs Hudson's face and worry in her tone, almost set John into a whole new wave of panic. Something must be really wrong.

John shuffled up the stairs and into the flat. Sherlock was lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling. He didn't look at John when he came in. Though John could still see how pale he'd become, and the bags under his eyes. His face seemed hollow with eyes that seemed plaintive, far away. John was again trying not to just start shaking the detective and demanding he tell him what was wrong. He knew what was wrong, he just hoped he could fucking fix it.

"Just leave, John." Sherlock murmured. "I know you don't want me." The other man's voice was flat, a monotone that spoke to volumes of hurt dwelling just under the surface.

"Sherlock, if I didn't want you, I wouldn't be here." John walked over to the couch and dragged him up by the arms. "Today was the first time I've talked to Sarah since we've come back, and she basically told me to fuck off and disappear."

Sherlock shook off John's touch with a bit of violence and marched to the kitchen. Not making eye contact.

"You offered help to her. You fucking held her. I didn't even get a phone call. I think that says everything."

"Harry deleted your text message before I saw it." John closed his eyes. "Not an excuse, but I was waiting for you to call me."

"You know where I fucking live, you asshole," Sherlock growled. "Stop by maybe? Send me a letter? Would have been faster."

"I came. I'm here. I'm sorry it took me so long." John was. He should have been here days ago. He should have known that Sherlock needed him. Instead, he let himself get swallowed in complacency. In waiting. He didn't like that he had let himself and Sherlock down, but it was done. He wasn't going to let it crush them. "And I'm sorry I wasn't here. I'm here now. I plan on staying."

"No, no, no," Sherlock said, flippantly waving him off. He was angry. But John was too. "Go back to your heterosexual, normal existence. You seem to like it there."

He had dragged himself across town in the middle of the night to make up for the neglect Sherlock had been suffering lately. Yeah, Sherlock had a right to be angry. But he was also going to make it right.

"Sherlock, stop," John growled, shaking the other man by his shoulders. "I love you. That's all there is to this."

"You're simplifying," Sherlock gasped, eyes closed. He was going to go on but John stopped him, lips mashing together, breathing ragged and quickly, tongue forcing its way into the detective's mouth, Sherlock willingly moving into the kiss, rough and hard. There was more passion that either of them had mustered in a long time. All of the passion that this fucking competition had drained from them. All they had had for weeks and months had been angst and drama and horrible negativity. John wasn't going to let it end there.

Raw emotions filtered their violent movements, John's teeth pulling at Sherlock's lips, the detective's nails clawing at John's back, every little scrape drawing an electric shiver through his body. Every bit of give under his teeth, or returned pressure against his tongue, or desperate scrabble of hands was an effort to bring them back to what they still had. An emphasis on the fact that they both still felt the same way they had two weeks ago, that they should be able to just relax and be happy.

And they would be, damn it. John was going to prove something.

They broke away for a minute, but the pause did nothing to cover the fact that both he and Sherlock were already hard.

"We will make this work. I will make this work. The rest of them can fuck off." John heaving chest was starting to ache with a need for air. Sherlock looked him in the eye but didn't say anything. "It will be fine, even if it isn't right now."

"... I believe you," Sherlock said with a heavy sigh. "I shouldn't, but I do."

"Good," John said, before diving right back into their kiss. Sherlock writhed softly beneath him, just as desperate, just as firm. Nothing could be soft. They needed the harsh reality of their emotions, every tense and sharp pain and passion. They needed to feel their passions burn a little to reestablish their footing.

John roughly grabbed at Sherlock's shirt. He could fumble with the buttons, but Sherlock was grabbing his back and moaning loudly into his kiss. It was easier, more satisfying to pull sharply and feel the buttons give beneath his force. Hearing two or three clatter against the floor, Sherlock paused. But the look in his eyes was so clouded by lust, John couldn't imagine he was angry.

Instead of worrying he took that moment to shuck off his own sweatshirt, and undo their trousers. There wasn't any conversation. There wasn't any thought to it. There wasn't even any lube that John knew of, and he certainly wasn't about to try and experiment with things in Sherlock's kitchen. So he pulled Sherlock as close as possible and kissed him deeply, his arms wrapped tightly around the other man's back, holding them together, pinning their cocks between them. It wasn't perfect, but they didn't care. What mattered was how much they both wanted this. Needed it. Wouldn't survive without it.

The pressure was good. Sherlock's fingers dug into his back again, this time - without the protection of clothes - he felt the scratches well. But even the sharp rasp of pain didn't do anything but intensify the pleasure of the moment.

Sherlock gasped, heavy breathing taking over his body. His chest shook and heaved against John's tight grasp, and he writhed, twitching, almost struggling to increase the friction. John felt his cock twitch between them. He felt the rough, velcro-like contact where their trousers were still tangled on their legs, felt the hard push of the counter, but didn't have the wherewithal to care.

Sherlock hissed after a particularly good motion. "John," he gasped sharply, '"Oh, god, John."

John shifted their position to get some leverage and did it again. He moaned as well, hitting the perfect angle to create just the right friction. They were sweating, the effort turning into a visible, tangible sheen on their skin. Enough to keep the friction from being painful, not enough to make either of them slick. John kept thrusting, pressing against Sherlock, controlled, but not in control. He was completely lost to the feeling, the emotions and the physical contact; they were close. He was touching every inch of Sherlock he could, Sherlock's moans were in his ears, and every point of contact was screaming. He could hear himself, hear the noises and the gasps and the wild sharp cries that he hadn't been able to suppress.

Sherlock's abdomen was tensing. John could feel his own tensing muscles, the feeling growing. He didn't know what he was saying. He wasn't even fully registering what Sherlock was saying. All he knew was that his world was blacking out, everything being overwhelmed by the friction between them, the sensations on his body, the almost burning intensity of coming hard and roughly and feeling someone else do the same, convulsing against each other, leaving marks and semen and exhausted, panting lack of control. John was sure he had screamed, and Sherlock's voice was still echoing in his ears.

The two of them were barely still standing, the counter supporting them. John was sure his legs wouldn't keep him upright. Everything felt loose and relaxed. Like it should be. Calm. Perfect.

"I love you," John whispered, head resting heavily on Sherlock's shoulder. "Please remember that, at least."

"I love you, John." Sherlock murmured back.

They pulled apart, and John adjusted his trousers before walking over to collapse on the couch. Sherlock took a moment to catch his breath before following.

"What are those ridiculous pants you're wearing?" Sherlock asked, panting, slightly. John took in the beautiful sight of the detective's flushed face, and the lust still dancing in his eyes. "Did you really think borrowing Harry's clothes and dyeing your hair constitutes a disguise?"

"At least I made an effort. I'm trying not to get sued," John said with a laugh. "I just hope no one saw that."

Sherlock curled his legs in and leaned against John, both of them shirtless and happy. "I'm glad you came. Even with the ridiculous outfit."

"Of course I came." John sighed, and got up to get his sweatshirt. He dug through the pockets on his way back to the couch. "I had to."

He was nervous, every fibre of his being burning a bit. Hoping for this to work one more time, because he needed it to work and if it did everything would be better.

And then he dropped to one knee and offered Sherlock up his ring.

"Sherlock Holmes, will you marry me?"

The pause felt like an eon. And John was tired and scared and this might be his last chance. He loved Sherlock. That's all he needed to know right now.

"As long as you're sure," Sherlock said with a slight smile. He looked relieved, and more relaxed. Like something huge was lifted off him. "You might regret it in a day or two."

"I won't." John's voice didn't waver. He knew what his choice was, even now.

"Yes." Sherlock's eyes looked like they were watering. Crying, just slightly. "I can't seem to manage without you anymore."

John felt choked up, himself. He couldn't live without Sherlock either. Everything came second to that.

"Well, I'm not going anywhere." John slid the ring on Sherlock's finger and pulled himself up onto the couch. "I don't want to go anywhere."

"Stay here, then," Sherlock whispered, before leaning in for a kiss. His hands trailed down John's chest and across his back and along the top of his waistband. His very tight, rather uncomfortable waistband. And every dance of fingers across his skin was turning him on. Again. And every caress of a tongue in his mouth brought Sherlock closer and more desperate. Warmer.

"I just want to hold you, John," Sherlock murmured in his ears. John could sympathize. That was all he wanted too. "It's been a bad week, and it's going to get worse, and I just want to reassure myself that this is real."

"It's real. I'm staying."

"Good." Sherlock surged back into their kiss, hands on John's trousers, sliding them off him, the both of them stripping between breathless kissing. Being freed from his tight pants was a relief in and of itself. Being touched by Sherlock was even better. This was better.

Well, not entirely. The rough touch of fingers, the gasp of Sherlock as his fingers dug into his shoulders, the fact that both of them were aroused and together was just the beginning. They still had to face tabloids and gossip and horrible phone calls. And a season finale special. But for now, it was better.

John let himself get lost in the touches, in the soft pads of Sherlock's fingers. Gently tracing along his skin, around his muscles, lingering on his scar. The scar seemed to fascinate him to no end, watching him swirl fingers across the rough bumps and the dip in his skin, finding every divot and rise. John let his head rest on Sherlock's neck, then lapped at the muscle joint.

Sherlock gasped, and lay back against the side of the couch, letting John come down on top of him. John wasn't one to waste an opportunity. His breath grazed across Sherlock's lips, but his brain was focused on their intertwined thighs. The friction was close enough to be exciting, but not quite satisfying. Just the level of tantalizing that John wanted to produce. Sherlock gasped sharply each time John shifted.

Supporting himself on his hands, John pressed his tongue to Sherlock's shoulder and bit down.

"Nnnngggggh." Sherlock moaned louder than John had heard from him in a while. He seemed to like the pressure of teeth and suckling. And John wasn't about to deny him that kind of pleasure. Every shift of the detective's body begged for attention, everything John could give. So he gave everything he could. He dragged his palms against Sherlock's bare flesh, lapped his tongue over the sensitive nerves on his neck, his chest, and bucked back into Sherlock's movements. Both of them were dripping in readiness. John felt the precum smear against his chest.

He very slowly made his way down Sherlock's chest, swiping a tongue over Sherlock's nipple. His reward was a harsh, loud moan. Sounded like music to John, right now. Anything that came from Sherlock was the best noise he could imagine. He traced the lines of Sherlock's abdomen, trailing kisses towards his cock, then turning away just when he got close. His mouth settled on Sherlock's inner thigh and the detective almost screamed.

"John." A wild hand scrabbled in John's hair, desperate for something to hold. "Please."

He had planned more teasing, but he couldn't ignore Sherlock's tone. He didn't want to either. He just wanted to enjoy this.

His tongue flicked at Sherlock's tip, swirling the fluids there and steadying the base with a hand. He gave a little sucking kiss, before swallowing just the tip and putting pressure on it. Sherlock groaned wantonly.

After a few seconds John moved again, tracing a line with his tongue down the underside of Sherlock's cock, slowly down to where his hand was. Moving his hand slightly, John cleared the way to continue down to Sherlock's balls. Gently pulling one into his mouth, he waited for the reaction. A soft moan, a quick jerk, just enough that he could tell Sherlock liked it. Spending a little more time there, John nuzzled and licked and worked the loose skin and the firm tissue at Sherlock's base, watching as his cock twitched with pleasure and as Sherlock struggled for more contact.

John obliged. Moving his way up Sherlock's cock with his mouth, he made sure to vary the pressure with his tongue, changing angles and moving incredibly slowly. Working any area that Sherlock particularly enjoyed for a few extra seconds before moving on. When he had made it back up to Sherlock's tip, he took as much of his cock into his mouth as he could, sucking sharply and working the base with his tongue.

John didn't let go for a second and Sherlock absorbed every bit of pleasure like a sponge. Every motion gave a new thrust and a twist and a tensing of muscles. Sherlock was ready and it didn't take much work on John's part to bring him to climax.

Fingernails scraped John's scalp. Sherlock was gasping and babbling, loudly. Mrs Hudson was probably awake, but John was fairly certain she would forgive them this time. And he could taste Sherlock in his mouth, and feel the contractions under his fingers. Feeling Sherlock come hard and furious was almost as good as coming himself.

"John, that was amazing," Sherlock breathed, as John slithered back up the couch to lie on top of him. John ignored his erection to take in the feel of Sherlock's breathing, the slight heave of his chest, the gentle motion of his muscles.

"Glad I haven't lost my touch," he joked. Sherlock groaned softly in agreement.

"You certainly have not." And then his hands started to move between them, sliding downwards, creating some friction. Heading directly where John wanted them to go. "My turn."

"You don't-ah! Have to," John gasped, as Sherlock's fingers brushed the side of his cock, sending shivers down his spine. "We don't always have to be equal."

"I want to," Sherlock replied bluntly. "Stop worrying, John."

John did. He couldn't really worry when strong hands were guiding him to turn around, easing him until his back was against Sherlock's chest, and he could feel Sherlock's mouth breathing just above his shoulder. The light, tingling sensation of barely touching fingers shuddered through his abdomen. Sherlock bit down lightly on John's shoulder at the same time as his fingers ghosted along the base of his cock.

John's moan was far louder and more debauched than he had intended. For such a soft touch, he could feel his nerves sing wherever Sherlock's fingers traced. And every time Sherlock's tongue lapped at his neck, or teeth nibbled his collarbone, he could feel the shock go straight to his groin.

If Sherlock wasn't careful, he might come just from this.

Sherlock didn't let him get that far, though, before the palm of his hand slid down his stomach and wrapped around his cock. A gentle squeeze at the base.

"Oh, fuck," John moaned. The feeling was more than he had expected and been prepared for. It was taking everything he had not to lose his control immediately. He bucked sharply into Sherlock's hand as it slid slowly up and then back down. Achingly slowly. John could feel himself twitch and his muscles start to shake. It felt incredible, and tantalizing. And it was feeling better with every stroke.

John felt himself thrusting in time with Sherlock's increasingly frenzied strokes. His back thumped heavily against Sherlock's chest, slick with sweat and sliding against each other.

John felt the pressure build and lost himself in the sensation of his approaching climax. The pressure and motion of Sherlock's fingers drew him over the edge, spasms ripping through him and overwhelming his vision. He knew he was screaming, but he really didn't care, and he wasn't thinking about it. All he cared about was coming.

And when the sensations washed away, he basically collapsed into Sherlock's arms. The slight resistance of Sherlock's cock made him smile. He wasn't quite sure how Sherlock was this... virile, for lack of a better word, but the detective recovered quickly. After taking a moment to regain some strength and energy, he wiggled around until he was face to face with his lover.

"You're pretty damn good yourself," John murmured, not letting Sherlock respond before he wrapped a hand firmly around him. Sherlock bucked violently. He was close already, and John could tell. Which was kind of flattering. All he had done was writhe and let Sherlock get him off. Then again, Sherlock was probably having the sex he never had as a teenager. John was pretty sure Sherlock hadn't allowed himself to experience puberty the way most fifteen-year-olds did.

John could feel the friction of his hand as he gently squeezed and dragged his palm along Sherlock's cock, and he could feel Sherlock respond viscerally and rapidly. There was urgency in his motion, and John was happy to oblige. Quick jerks, in time with Sherlock's bucking, and a few moments later Sherlock was coming, shaking beneath John's fingers and crying out. A few moments later, he relaxed, clearly sated.

John smiled, and lowered himself down on top of Sherlock ignoring the stickiness, and the slick sweat between the two of them. In a minute, he would get up, clean them off and find some place to sleep. For now, he was going to enjoy just being here.

"I know it doesn't make up for a week of hell, but do you feel a bit better?" John asked quietly, dragging his fingers across Sherlock's brow. Sherlock's eyes closed and he leaned in to the touch.

"Yes, a bit. As long as you're staying." He didn't open his eyes, and his voice was quiet.

"I'm staying. You don't have to worry about that."

"Good. That's all I want."


John opened the door to Sherlock's room. Instead of a bed, he saw a disorganized pile of papers, and a shower of debris - or clutter, or whatever you'd like to call it - covering every surface.

"Sherlock, where, exactly, do you sleep?" Sherlock was struggling into the clothes John had recovered from the floor. He looked at John liked he was half asleep, before grasping for an answer.

"...The couch usually." He shrugged. John pulled Sherlock's robe closer around him. There had been no way he was putting Harry's trousers back on. He wasn't dealing with Sherlock's disaster of a room right now, either.

"Well, where are we going to sleep tonight? Your bed is obviously not an option."

"There's a spare room upstairs, if you want," Sherlock murmured. "Mrs Hudson says it ours if we need it."

"Good. We'll sleep upstairs." Sherlock seemed to perk up when John went to collect him.

"You want me to come too?" He sounded far too hopeful. John raised an eyebrow.

"Of course? Why wouldn't I?" he asked, trying to convince Sherlock to keep up with him. If they didn't get to sleep soon, he was going to pass out.

"I wasn't sure you'd want to share a bed." Sherlock grabbed his hand as they made their way up the stairs.

"I do. Always," John added. He did. There was nothing better than waking up in the morning next to the person you love. "You should mention things if you're worried about them."

"Mm." Sherlock didn't give an answer, but John let it go. They needed to sleep. Badly. He rolled the covers back and shuffled in with Sherlock.


Mrs Hudson left them breakfast. And a note.


If you're going to be loud, lock the door, please. I thought one of you was dying! And that's really not a sight fit for an old woman's eyes. Glad you made up, though. ;)

Enjoy the pancakes!

Sherlock almost died of embarrassment on the spot. John's unnaturally dark hair registered in his peripheral vision as he peeked over the detective's shoulder. He wasn't sure if he hoped it would wash out, or if he was okay with John's "disguise." It might give them a little more freedom. But he missed the glimpse of dirty blond hair that he was used to.

John flushed, and wrapped his arms around Sherlock's waist.

"Well, that's a little embarrassing."

"A little?" Sherlock's voice was a bit shrill. Great. Because he needed to emphasize his shame just that much more. "I don't think I can ever look her in the eyes again."

"You'll live," John said giving him a squeeze and grabbing the pancakes. "She obviously doesn't mind."

"John, you are completely missing the social implications. I don't know how you just accept these things and move on." John didn't make any sense. How could he accept the fact that Mrs Hudson now had access to reputation damaging information? Or you know, the fact that she had potentially seen him naked. Ew. Fuck, he almost felt like throwing up suddenly. Sherlock still felt nervous that John had access to that kind of private information on him, and he trusted John. No one else needed to know. Or see any of that.

"Sherlock, if we don't just accept things, we're both going to go crazy. Half the world thinks we're insane for getting together, and we're going to be dealing with even more backlash." John passed the syrup and a plate of pancakes. As an after thought, he dug around to find them each a fork. "We've got each other, and Mrs Hudson isn't angry. We can live

with something little like this."

If he said so. They could. He would have to. John had been as upset as he was last night, as needy, as desperate. It felt good to have someone need him as much he needed them. It felt good to feel that need. And terrifying. But he knew he couldn't lose John again, and he wasn't going to leave John alone in this. They could tackle it together.

And besides, the producers were paying the two of them well. Sherlock could easily not leave the house for the next year or so until everyone forgot who he was.

"Eat your pancakes," John instructed, finally passing him a fork. Sherlock dumped syrup over them and sat on the couch.

"Did you bring your things?" he asked, quietly. John hadn't brought anything. He already knew that. What he needed to know was if John was staying with him or if that was a promise which was only meant to placate him.

"No, which was stupid. I'm going to have to call Harry and tell her we're picking the suitcase up." John took the spot beside him, already eating pancakes. It was two in the afternoon, however. They had a right to be hungry. "Do you mind coming with me?"

"No, I don't," Sherlock replied. If John wanted support against his drunk of a sister, Sherlock was happy to give it. He had some things to do, as well. "Do you think we could stop at Scotland Yard on the way back? I need to give Lestrade an update and my new number."

"Do you think that will be alright?" John looked worried. "Or is that a breach of contract?"

He had thought of that. Lestrade was trustworthy. And John was disguised well enough to get past Donovan and Anderson. The weak intellect on those two was pathetic.

"Try not to talk to anyone, and wear your sunglasses." Sherlock thought for a moment. "And your sister's pants. It's enough for a few minutes. And Lestrade will be fine."

"Alright, then." John finished off his plate. That was fast. Sherlock might have to talk to him about eating slower. Wolfing down food was a huge choking hazard and left one susceptible to subtle poisons. Eating slowly gives you a chance to find any taste that is slightly... off.

He poked at his pancakes.

"Call your sister," Sherlock instructed.


"You're a bastard, John," Harry growled. "My sink is black, and I can't find my spare key."

"I've got the key, and the sink should wash out if you run some water," he sighed. Harry had given him a headache. Already. "Look, I'm just going to pick up my stuff and drop off the key. We'll be there in an hour."

"I am not sticking around. Your shit is in the hall. Drop the key through the mail slot." Harry hung up on him.

Great. Harry was furious. Not like that wouldn't change next time she needed a favour. And, hey, maybe it saved them a very torturous sisterly lecture. Or a very unpleasant round of Sherlock versus Harry. Either way, at least he knew he could pick up his stuff and go home.

"Well, my stuff is in the hall at Harry's place. Don't be surprised if it's half-missing by the time we get there."

Sherlock very solemnly placed his hand on John's shoulder and looked him in the eye.

"John," he said, completely monotone, "Your sister is a bitch."

They both broke out into smiles.


His stuff had been in a pile in the hall, just as Harry had said. It all had been there, though, and it was an easy matter to shove it into the duffel bag that Harry had tossed on top. That was actually far more thoughtful than John had been expecting. And made it a bit easier to pack everything into a cab and head to the Yard. Sherlock carried John's bag for him, so they could head in without fuss; security wouldn't search him, but they would definitely search John. Black-haired, sunglassed, tight trousered, John. With a baggy sweatshirt on to boot. Who felt a bit like a rockstar and a bit like an idiot. But Sherlock seemed happy. Judging by how often his eyes went to John's ass, John was very assured of how much Sherlock was enjoying this.

No one looked up when Sherlock breezed through the desk, John in tow. Donovan rolled her eyes and murmured, "At least this one doesn't come with cameras." But otherwise, they were left alone. Sherlock slipped into Lestrade's office.

Lestrade's eyebrows went up as Sherlock closed the door and John whipped off his sunglasses.

"I don't want to know," He immediately started with. "I'm assuming there's a reason for... all of that, but I don't want to know."

"Confidentiality contract," Sherlock replied briskly. "You can't say a word about John being here, and none of your employees recognize him like this. I'm trusting you, Lestrade."

The two of them locked eyes intensely for a moment. John watched Lestrade break away first and leave Sherlock victorious.

"I get it. No problem." Lestrade stood up with them. "What brings you?"

"I need to give you my new number. Preferably in person so I properly warn you to give it to no one."

"Did you have an incident with the last one?" Lestrade asks with a smirk. "You couldn't have just texted?"

"No." Sherlock's eyes were like razors. He started to pace. "The only other person with this number is John. If it leaks, I will know it was you."

"I'm not going to give your number to anyone, Sherlock." Lestrade sighed and rubbed his forehead. "But I do have a case if you're interested."

John saw the light flare and then die behind Sherlock's eyes. "No. Not right now. However, if there's anything I can do from the security of my flat, I am dying for some mental stimulation. But I don't think I can manage footwork until the insanity around this show dies down."

"Fair enough," Lestrade agreed. "I don't really want a flock of fans staking out my office anyway."

"Good." Sherlock picked the inspector's phone off his desk and programmed his number in. "There. All set."

"Hey," Lestrade added as they turned to go. "I'm happy for the two of you. Glad you won."

John saw the smile. It was a bit sad, but genuine. Like he was worried about them.

"Thank you," he said for both of them.


John very purposefully brushed against Sherlock as they made their way out of the building. A thigh against Sherlock's, his hand briefly palming Sherlock's ass under his coat. In public, which was both kind of shocking and a tad embarrassing.

Unfortunately for Sherlock, most of the embarrassment came from the fact that he could feel himself getting aroused. They couldn't get to a cab fast enough. And John stood almost on top of him the entire time, breathing his air, sharing his body heat. A foot twined against Sherlock's ankle and he shuddered.

He knew John was doing this on purpose, he just didn't care. He was even enjoying it. A silent promise of good things to come. And, you know, the knowledge that his fiancé wanted him as much as he wanted John. This was exhilarating and new and perfect. And John was all that too.

Once they settled in to the cab, John's hand landed on his thigh, and rubbed gently, slowly moving its way upwards. Sherlock suppressed a shudder, and leaned back in his seat. John was right beside him, hand slowly moving close to his hand close to Sherlock's crotch and then just as slowly dragging it away. Repeatedly. With some teasing caresses. And breathing heavier than necessary.

It didn't really matter that Sherlock knew it was on purpose. It was working. By the time they arrived at Baker Street, he was quite happy to throw some money at the cab driver and scramble back to 221B.


Sherlock made very sure to lock the door behind them when they came up to the flat again. John's teasing was driving him up the wall, and he wasn't repeating the incident with Mrs Hudson again. Ever. If at all possible.

Dear god, had that been horrifying.

John had sat down on the couch and stretched himself out, incredibly slowly, giving Sherlock a great look at every lithe inch of John's fully clothed body. A sensual, deliberate movement. Combined with an aching soft, sexual, moan. That was not the moan of someone with back pain.

"John, you are killing me," Sherlock said with more force than he had intended.

"How so?" John was laying himself out on the couch now, shirt riding up just high enough to show a silver of stomach. Oh, not fair.

"I think you know," Sherlock growled, stalking forward, and gripping John's collar. He leaned in and pressed a hard kiss against John's lips. "Stop being so coy."

"Try to convince me that you're not enjoying it," John said, wickedly, wriggling away from his grasp and standing up. "I'm going to make some tea."

"I think tea can wait," Sherlock murmured, gripping John by his shoulders, and slithering one hand around his waist, then lightly over his trousers. He instantly felt a reaction. Which was a huge relief, since he had been bordering on hard for far too long now. John leaned back against his chest, before purposefully taking his hands and pulling them off him. And walking over to the kettle.

"Really?" Sherlock whined, not too pleased with how much control he was losing so quickly. John very calmly filled the kettle and set the water to boil. He could feel his erection start to ache. And he could clearly see John's through the tight trousers. "You're really going to have tea right now?"

"We've got ten minutes for it to boil," John said with a very mischievous smile. "I can think of a few things to fill time."

Sherlock was on him immediately, lips mashed together, teeth clicking together, tongues entwined. His fingers sliding John's sweatshirt upwards and sliding across soft skin, getting a small taste of the sensation he was craving so viscerally. John felt so amazingly good in his arms, it was so satisfying to just hold him. He could hold him forever. But John wasn't about to let him.

John pulled away swiftly, but didn't go far.

"You're in a hurry," he murmured. But Sherlock's shirt was being oh so slowly unbuttoned. One tiny button at a time. John was pushing him slowly towards the couch, with each sensuous pop of buttons coming undone. He stopped midway down Sherlock's chest and pushed him on back on to the couch then climbed on top, one knee on either side of his narrow hips.

"John," Sherlock moaned, feeling fingers ghost along his chest as John continued his slow, methodically unbuttoning. Hi hands came up to the edge of the other man's shirt.

"No, I don't think so," John murmured, taking a moment to place Sherlock's hands above the detective's head. "Relax a bit. Slower."

Too slow, Sherlock wanted to say, wanted to start doing something. But he felt himself relax on John's command. He was enjoying this slow torture. He shouldn't be - it was obviously sexual torment - but he was. This is why other people spent so much time with these things. He hadn't really gotten it before John. Clearly the doctor was the missing element in his equation.

The last button came undone, and the shirt slithered down to either side of his chest, exposing him. He still felt warm. And ready. And waiting. John leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss to his sternum. Sherlock shivered. Compared to his bare chest, John's lips felt incredibly warm, heated. Passionate.

John's tongue trailed along his chest, flicked over a hard nipple. He felt himself buck sharply, not quite able to get any friction from John. It was deliciously frustrating, every moment. The hard yet soft muscle of John's tongue was creating waves of pleasure. He felt his hips thrust again.

John promptly got off the couch. Sherlock almost sat up to follow him, but John pressed him back with one hand. And then ever so slowly started to peel off his sweatshirt.

One sleeve, the shirt coming up with John's arms, baring his stomach, then chest, then one arm, then the other and shoulders.

John's bullet wound stared back at him, a point of interest in a beautiful landscape. His eyes were roving, but they were often drawn back to that one spot. One of the elements that had brought John to him. One of the many incredible things that made John unique.

"Hard, yet?" John asked, half amused. Sherlock heard the water roiling in the kettle. No whistle quite yet.

"Of course," he growled. "And you are too."

John smirked. "Good observation." To emphasize his point, John pressed himself into Sherlock. Just for a second, but fuck it was good.

Then the kettle whistled. Sherlock swore violently as John walked over to the kitchen, still shirtless and poured a cup of tea.

"John, you're making tea while we both have raging erections? Really? Now?" John stirred his cup very slowly before removing the tea bag.

"Did you want a cup?" he asked politely. Infuriatingly.


"Suit yourself then." John made his way back to the couch, gently set his cup on the floor beside them, making sure it was out of the way. Obviously he was thinking more than Sherlock was. "It has to cool a bit."

John's legs settled on either side of him again, hands beside his chest, John's mouth hovering inches above Sherlock's own. Warm breath coursed across Sherlock's face, along his neck, heat emanating from the body above him, but just not close enough. Not close enough to touch, not close enough to give him any satisfaction. They hovered like that for a moment before John moved, pressing a kiss first to Sherlock's lips, then to his cheeks, jawbone, and slowly trailing his way down Sherlock's neck with sucking, nipping kisses. Every single flick of tongue seemed to go straight to a nerve, every nerve was on fire, and every single neuron was screaming for attention. Sherlock couldn't take his mind off the wet pressure on his neck and the throbbing at his groin. He wanted to be touched and touch, and as his hands tried to drift down so he could wrap John in his arms, he felt the other man shift.

"Patience," was all he said, as he sat back on to his knees. Sherlock watched longingly as John climbed off him once again and then - still incredibly too slow for his liking - began to remove his socks, trousers, and everything. Every bit of clothing dropped to the floor and Sherlock had a moment to just stare and appreciate before John knelt on the floor beside him and started working on his own waistband button.

"I hope you don't need me to hang these trousers up in the closet," John murmured as he slowly peeled them off, pooling them at his ankles then lifting one foot at a time. "They look expensive. It would be a shame if we ruined them with wrinkling."

"John, if you go anywhere right now, so help me..."

He didn't finish that threat. John's mouth was on one of his hips, lightly tonguing the area and coming closer and closer to where he wanted. John paused right at the base of his cock and let a warm puff of breath send shivers up the other man's back.

Then he started, tongue dragging itself slowly up Sherlock's cock, hand moving to the base. John was good. Or at least, Sherlock's mind was completely occupied with what John was doing, which he was fairly certain meant that John was good. Every swipe of tongue brought forth incoherent, involuntary noises. Every time John hit a particularly sensitive nerve he let out a shout. He wasn't trying to. In fact, he found it fairly embarrassing that he was so loud. But he couldn't help it.

This feeling was amazing.

John paused for a moment, breathing heavily himself. Sherlock regained enough to voice to express himself.

"John, inside me?" Not entirely coherently, maybe, but hey, it got the message across.

"Lube?" John asked quickly, obviously just as turned on as Sherlock was. The detective waved blindly at the cabinet.

"Top drawer." John smirked. Probably at the fact that Sherlock was prepared for everything, but the other man didn't care right now. All he cared about was John's mad scramble to get to the lube and back, in the shortest amount of time.

It was still too long before John's freshly slicked and warm hands came back to him. John slicked himself up with two strokes of his lube covered hands, and then went to take care of Sherlock. He felt the tentative pressure at his entrance and relaxed himself as forcefully as he could. He could do this. John didn't have to be so cautious.

"John, please, now," Sherlock moaned, thrusting down a bit on John's finger. "Faster."

"You're sure?" There was far too much worry in John's eyes as he slipped a second finger in. "I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't," Sherlock growled. "I want you inside me now, and I swear it won't hurt me."

John still went slowly. He stretched a bit more and worked his fingers before climbing up on to the couch, between Sherlock's legs.

"Alright," John murmured before thrusting calmly into him. Sherlock would have protested the speed but he was far too gratified by finally getting the touching he wanted and the sensations he had been begging for. John's one hand also closed around the base of his cock and stroked gently upwards. His hips bucked, and John moaned softly, starting to lose the control he had been tenuously holding on to.

"Sherlock," he moaned. "Oh fuck this is good."

Sherlock felt himself smile, despite the panting and the breathlessness. "I should hope it is. Otherwise we're doing something wrong."

"Definitely not wrong," John gasped. Neither of them could really hold a conversation, though. The feeling on his cock, the movement of John inside him, the waves of pleasure that shot through him every time John hit his prostate... it had taken over everything. All that existed for the two of them was the drag of skin on skin, sweat, and each other's moans. John's pace picked up and Sherlock used hands to prop himself up, giving some leverage for him to thrust back in to him, his chest rubbing against John's, hair damp and tousled. John's abdomen started tensing and Sherlock could feel him getting close.

Every bit of John inside him tensed, and exploded. The added pressure, the feeling of liquid warmth and John's sated cries pushed Sherlock over the edge too. He grabbed at whatever was nearby - John, the edge of the couch - and screamed as he came.

John lay naked on top of him for a moment before he lifted his head and came up for a deep, long, kiss. The two of them relaxed, and let the moment take over.

This was real. And it was so amazingly good.


"Trouble in Paradise," John read from the tabloid. "John Watson, the Bachelor, made Sarah Sawyer cry. Bonus story - Sherlock: Already moving on?"

They both smiled. The picture was one of John - black hair, tight clothes, and sunglasses, from a bad angle coming out of a cab with Sherlock. The article talked about Sherlock Holmes and how he had already gotten a new boyfriend after he was tragically rejected by John Watson.

"Apparently reporters are blind," Sherlock murmured. "That is so obviously you that I'm not sure how anyone is fooled."

John went to the kitchen to pour the tea. "Not everyone is as amazing as you are."

It had been a couple weeks since John moved to Baker Street. No one had called them, or found them out, or threatened them with a lawsuit. In fact, it had been shockingly quiet. And now that they were together, they had enough support to face the media monster. Tabloids were funny if you could read them together and laugh. The episodes were funny if they watched them together; John got to see all drama between the women and he could reassure Sherlock that he didn't have a speck of remorse for what he had chosen. Slowly, both of them were settling into a sense of security.

Sherlock smiled at him from the couch. "You know you're saying that out loud?"

John's grin spread. "You tell me every so often. Stop being modest, Sherlock."

If nothing else, they were good for each other. John felt healthy and alive and happy. And Sherlock seemed to be enjoying having someone to love and understand him... and bicker with. Someone he could stand on a day to day basis. All the time. And his self-esteem seemed to be improving, which pleased John a lot.

It was perfect. There was no other word for it.

Plus, he had the promise of murders and adventures after it was safe to head out of the house together. For now, he spent a lot of time helping Sherlock with experiments and pretending to be someone else when he went to the grocery. Or anywhere else. For all the rest of the world knew, John Watson had disappeared.

His roots were coming through, though, and his hair was starting to look ridiculously long and shaggy. He'd have to get it cut. And probably dye it again. Or take the dye out. He wasn't sure yet. But they'd figure it out.

For now, they were keeping tabs on what the media said about them.

"Are you disappointed that they're still talking about how you made Sarah cry?" Sherlock asked, quietly. "I know she came close."

"She didn't," John said, placing a cup of tea beside Sherlock. They'd had this conversation a few times. "There wasn't anyone I would have chosen except you."

"You must get sick of reassuring me." Sherlock picked up his cup and took a very cautious sip. He didn't look as sad as the first time he'd talked to John about Sarah. John could be happy for that. They had had a lot of time to talk since he'd gotten there. Lots of time to talk, and lots of time for Mrs Hudson to chat his ear off and tell him about how she met Sherlock. John loved every moment of it.

"Never," he said, leaning in and placing a gentle kiss on Sherlock's lips. "I'll reassure you until we die if I need to."

Sherlock smiled. "I hope I don't need it for that long."

"If you do, I'll be here." John settled in beside him.

"I hope so." Sherlock's melancholy was suppressed with happiness. John knew he was still delighted with this fact.

"I will be."

It was as easy as that.