Author's Note: This is—technically—a sequel to "A Strange Kind of Charming". This is also based on a little bit of a prompt, given by a tumblr user, wherein Lestrade makes a comment about their relationship. I'm not sure if it's even up to sequel standard, or if I've officially taken the characters too far, or if it's even really following the prompt, but here it is, and that's that.
Life didn't change after it had happened.
John hadn't expected it to, in all honesty. He couldn't see Sherlock becoming the affectionate type overnight. He wasn't even sure he would've been able to handle it had he been. It was a process, John realized this. Though his heart seemed to leap up into his throat whenever Sherlock looked at him, there was definitely still a strange dance being done in his head, about the relationship aspect of falling for a man.
They had moments though.
Sometimes, when there was little else going on, they might share a moment. Sherlock had become slightly more diligent about doing things for John. He'd make tea for them or would respect John's wishes of some peace from the violin.
There was also the moment they'd had the very night of. They'd returned from the cafe', having solved another case and left the dirty work for Lestrade. They were sitting in front of the fireplace—it was a cold night, and the heat from the flames seemed a superb choice over the flat's heating…
John slipped out of his chair and onto the floor, scooting close to the fireplace. He held his hands up, palms forward, to the flame and exhaled. "Why is it gloves never seem to do the job?" he asked no one. "Always on about how gloves are supposed to keep your hands warm, and all the do is make it so they aren't exposed to the elements." he grumbled.
"In turn, keeping them warmer than had they been completely exposed to the elements." Sherlock replied. John looked up to find Sherlock standing beside him. He held two mugs—one in each hand and each steaming accordingly. "Something warm." he said, crossing his legs and taking the seat beside John.
They smiled at one another. John took the mug from Sherlock and set it down in front of him. "Ta." he said simply.
"Not a problem."
They sat in silence. Sherlock sipped his tea, staring into the fireplace. John rubbed his hands together quickly, sniffling. Sherlock glanced over to John. "Still cold." he stated.
"Yeah. Gloves didn't do much." John murmured.
Sherlock set his mug down beside him, then turned to John. He held out his hands. "I'll warm them." he said simply.
"Wha? No. No it's alright. They just need a minute." John explained. He avoided Sherlock's eyes. He noticed, however, that Sherlock didn't drop his hands. They sat, poised loosely at the wrist, palm upward, waiting. John looked at them, then allowed his eyes upward. They finally locked on Sherlock's.
John swallowed as he, slowly, placed his hands onto Sherlock's.
Sherlock's eyes fell to their hands. He cupped John's in his own and held them, forcing John's hands to curl up into balls. It was strange for John to see just how large Sherlock's hands really were. He'd always known he had long fingers, but to see them cupped and completely covering his own was… well, strange. And strangely enticing.
Sherlock then brought his and John's hands upward to his mouth. He parted his thumbs just slightly, then pressed his mouth in the gap. John could feel Sherlock's lips as Sherlock breathed onto John's fingers. He couldn't help but stare, watching as Sherlock's eyes fluttered closed. Sherlock took a few deep breaths—John watched as Sherlock's body would inhale deeply, then exhale quite slowly. He liked the rhythm. It was almost soothing.
But then Sherlock opened his eyes. And he bore straight into John's unabashedly. The two men stared at each other, Sherlock breathing slowly over John's fingers, John breathing slowly to drop his pulse. He wondered what Sherlock was thinking, pondered if Sherlock had been considering the earlier declaration he'd made. He considered the notion that Sherlock's current position was in lue of it. It made his mouth twitch upward.
"What?" Sherlock asked.
"You smiled." Sherlock's lips were still beside John's knuckles. John could feel every word coming from Sherlock's mouth. They brushed over his skin in warm vibrations before they ever hit his ears. He liked it.
"Am I not supposed to smile?"
He could feel Sherlock's smile before he could see it.
That was one of the bigger ones. Mostly Sherlock's affection was seen in little things—the way he looked at John, the smiles he gave. The way he laughed, or the squeeze of the shoulder John might feel while reading the paper. It was a process, John reminded himself once again. Even he wasn't comfortable with full on anything yet.
No one had known, of course. Well, people assumed. But they'd always assumed it. From the moment John and Sherlock had been seen together, it was assumed they were a couple. But there was the real question, the one that John had continuously skirted around and almost avoided. Were they a couple? Sherlock wouldn't say. He wasn't going to make the declaration.
John sighed, sitting in Sherlock's armchair. Sherlock's back was stiff. His eyes were focused into the microscope before him. Every once in a while, Sherlock's hands would shift. He'd switch out plates, he'd refocus the scope, he'd take notes. John stood, clasping his hands behind his back as he made his way into the kitchen. "So… what are you doing here?" he asked.
"Gathering data on some specimens." Sherlock replied evenly.
"Specimens?" John asked.
Sherlock nodded, but didn't elaborate. John nodded in return, leaning against the table. After a moment, Sherlock's eyes turned upward to John. "Problem?" Sherlock asked.
John shook his head. "No, no. I was just… watching. Observing, I suppose you could say." he replied, crossing his arms over his chest. Sherlock's eyebrows lifted in surprise for a moment. "Oh? And what do you see?" he asked, eyes lit up quite suddenly.
John took a quick glance around the table, then let his eyes comb over Sherlock. "Well." he said, sucking in a breath. "You've… been at this table since you woke up. Which was approximately three hours ago. So whatever you're doing, it's been on your mind all night. It also means you probably didn't sleep very well. I'm only assuming that bit, since you look a bit tired around the eyes." John surmised. Sherlock's eyebrow was cocked. He crossed his arms over his chest. "Go on." he said.
"Erm…" John swallowed, placing his hand on the table behind him. "Well, I can also assume that you're… hungry. Because you haven't eaten since sometime yesterday morning." he tried.
Sherlock's eyes squinted. The corners of his lips turned upward. "What." John said.
"Observant." Sherlock replied.
They locked eyes. It was moments like those that sent chills through John's body. It was hard to keep calm when Sherlock fixed his eyes upon him. His heartbeat instantly raised itself. He knew that Sherlock was calculating his next move. He was looking from John's clothing choice to the bags beneath his eyes to the way his lips moved, and he was basing his next move on it.
Sherlock's hand moved slowly. John watched it out of the corner of his eye as it covered John's hand. The fingers wrapped around John's hand slowly, pulling it from the table. John allowed Sherlock to pull him closer. Sherlock's eyes were moving up and down John's frame, stopping finally on his eyes. "So I did well then." John said finally.
"Could still use a bit of work." Sherlock replied. John rolled his eyes, but Sherlock tugged on John's hand delicately, bringing them face to face. "Vast improvement, however. Half the battle of deduction is recalling what each part equates to." his voice had dropped down to a murmur, just a purr comparatively.
John's jaw clenched. Sherlock's face was only inches away. "Would you like to know what I've been observing?" Sherlock asked, eyes focused on John's.
"I suppose." John croaked after a moment of silence.
"You've been watching me for the last three hours, sometimes quite intensely, sometimes as though lost in thought. I can suspect, then, that you're thinking of me. Perhaps about me. My guess is that you have questions." Sherlock said. John continued staring, though his heart had done a flip. Sherlock continued, "I've also noticed that the stretch of time taken to watch me has become longer. Perhaps then, the questions you have are not specifically pertaining to me, but about us. There's a correlation, between the amount of time you've spent watching to when the time began increasing. Three weeks ago."
"Right." John said.
"Three weeks ago you came down from your room and made quite an outstanding declaration. Since then you've been sitting quietly, observing me. Waiting for my next move. Your questions, then, must be about where our relationship stands."
John's eyes quickly darted around the room. He gave a subtle nod, licking his lips. "You do know what you're talking about." John said, clearing his throat quietly and focusing back on Sherlock.
Sherlock's eyes were traveling John's face again. His hand, the one holding onto John's, was slowly uncurling and re-wrapping itself. Sherlock's fingers were making their way to John's palm. They were spreading over once again, touching John's wrist delicately. His face was coming closer—John's eyes fluttered, attempting to find somewhere to focus in on. He finally focused on Sherlock's eyes, which weren't more than centimeter's from his.
Their lips touched.
John's breath caught in his throat.
The touching of lips became a kiss.
If John caught Sherlock on a particularly affectionate day, he received just a quick grazing of lips to his cheek. And those were days when Sherlock was giddy with excitement. The last real kiss John had received was the day of, the moment when Sherlock had—in exasperation—forced them together.
That kiss burned slow. Sherlock wasn't hurried. He moved his mouth quite fluidly, taking his time. His lips parted quite seductively. Their kiss became deeper.
John wasn't in a hurry. He was savoring the moment—the feel of Sherlock's fingers in his hand, the taste of Sherlock's mouth in his. His eyes had closed. His other hand, the free one, was making its way to Sherlock's cheek. His thumb was grazing over those sharp, beautiful cheekbones of Sherlock's. He was entranced, suddenly uncaring of the world around him.
So engrossed was he that he hadn't even heard the footsteps.
He hadn't even heard the familiar mumble of a voice.
"…I tried knocking but no one answered so I just came in…" Lestrade was saying. He trailed off, lost for words at the sight of the two men in the kitchen. Sherlock pulled away slowly, lazily looking to Lestrade. "So then… the truth is revealed." Lestrade said, smirking.
"Truth?" John asked, dumbfounded. His head was swimming, just a little.
"Yes John. The truth. Lestrade is crudely implying that we've been a couple for a long while." Sherlock's icy eyes peered over his shoulder at Lestrade, who leaned in the kitchen doorway, arms crossed over his chest and smirk seemingly permanent on his lips. John looked up to Lestrade. "We aren't…" he trailed off, looking back down to Sherlock.
"Not buying that one, mate." Lestrade said, shaking his head just so.
John looked back down to Sherlock, who was now watching him. "We… weren't?" he said quizzically. Sherlock looked thoughtful for a moment, his eyes quickly roving over John. They weren't looking at anything directly, John realized this, but he waited to find where they'd stop anyway. Finally, Sherlock looked back up to John's eyes. His head gave one quick, tiny nod. John returned it, looking back to Lestrade. "We weren't." he stated more confidently.
"No? Could've fooled me." Lestrade said haughtily.
"Not until recently, anyway." John went on. He looked back to Sherlock.
Sherlock had turned in his seat. He was facing Lestrade himself now, both legs and arms crossed. He had a supercilious look on his face and a glint in his eye. He was staring at Lestrade, eyes fixed. Lestrade was staring straight back. It was a battle of will, it seemed. Who would blink first? John was betting on Greg. And he was right. Lestrade's eyes shot over to John. "Good fit, I think." he said easily.
Sherlock didn't speak, but a smile did crack the stone-y expression he'd had.
"Does that mean we'll have dinner parties and the like? A bit of settlin' down maybe?" Lestrade joked, inviting himself in further. Sherlock rolled his eyes, rotating in his seat and going back to his microscope. "Surely you jest." he stated. "I am, ultimately, married to my work, Detective Inspector."
"Oh, he's pulled out the title. Means I'm gettin' to him, I think." Lestrade said with a smirk.
"The relationship between John and I does not interfere with or even remotely concern my work." Sherlock stated officially.
"Never said it did. That's puttin' words in my mouth."
"I was making the statement official as it seems to be of larger concern to you."
John rolled his eyes. "Alright, alright. Lets just stop now." he said. "It's not a…a thing. We're not going to become some kind of… I don't know." John shook his head, "Some kind of tea-party throwing type of couple, or one of those who kisses at every moment or even holds hands. It's not like that."
Lestrade squinted his eyes suspiciously.
John sighed, "Or at least not during a case. Or in public. I don't know." He looked down to Sherlock, whose eyes were now focused on him. "No?" he asked innocently. John's eyebrows furrowed. He looked quizzically to Sherlock, who kept the same innocent face. "I don't know." he said again.
"Should I leave, guys? I actually had a case I needed you for, but…" Lestrade interrupted.
Both men turned to look at him and spoke simultaneously.
"No, it's alright. Let's hear it." John had said.
"Yes, could you give us just a moment." Sherlock had said.
They looked at each other once again.
"Right well… I'll just be downstairs then." Lestrade replied. "Just… come down when you're ready." he went on, backing out of the kitchen slowly. "I'll be waiting next door." he announced finally. He bounced down the stairs, grinning at the voices, just audible from the bottom, arguing:
"I only thought you'd be uncomfortable with it."
"Why would I be uncomfortable touching someone I care for. You seem to think I care about what other people think of me—"
"Care for? I tell you I'm in love with you and I get care for?"
"Love, John. Someone I love."
There was silence after that. Lestrade let himself out the door of 221B Baker Street, unphased and more than patient enough to allow them their moment. He leaned against the police car, where Donovan waited. She rolled down the window impatiently. "Is freak coming or not? What's going on?" she barked.
"Give 'em a minute. They're having an important conversation."