Disclaimer: I do not own. Or make any money from this fic.
A.N Here is another one of my Sherlock musings, encouraged to finish by WyrdSmiths fantastic 'Food For Thought' Harry Potter/Sherlock crossover. As ever I am a huge Johnlock fan, one of the greatest literary partnerships and friendships ever written. This was finished while listening to the audio commentary for A Scandal in Belgravia XD Enjoy.
John had known logically that eventually Sherlock would see his scar, they lived together and with the amount of trouble that they got into John was fairly sure Sherlock would have had to patch him up and got a chance to see the scar that had sent John Watson home from combat and honourably discharged from the army.
It had been seven months since he had moved in with Sherlock and he was surprised that Sherlock hadn't seen his scar before now. It wasn't that he hid it, despite being incredibly self conscious about it, but with Sherlock the need to hide things disappeared with the manner that his brilliant mind would pick it up anyway. It led to life being a lot simpler and more honest as well as frustrating and embarrassing at times.
During that time he had absently thought over the reaction that the consulting detective might have the sight of the scar. Analytical and curious purely in the facts was the most likely reaction, figuring out from the scar what had happened, what he had been hit with, how long it had taken to heal fully, where he had been treated etcetera.
However he was shocked that when Sherlock did see his scar this was as far from his reaction as possible. The summer had been a warm one and John's shirts and jumpers had been exchanged for t-shirts, even Sherlock had been forced to leave behind his beloved trade mark scarf and jacket for a lighter coat that John had bought him for his birthday.
The look on his face when John had presented him with the neatly wrapped present and card had been heart warming and painful for John. Sherlock had clearly been expecting the day to pass unnoticed except for Mycroft's card and present being delivered by courier. It made John realise just how alone Sherlock had been before he had come along, whether Sherlock would admit that he enjoyed having human, live company or not -high functioning sociopath and all that. Pulling out the light coat Sherlock had been stunned into mumbling thanks to John and avoiding eye contact. So when John had disappeared into the kitchen, finally opening the doors and bringing through a cake and a large box Sherlock had been practically squirming with uncertainty at the unknown situation. Placing them on the coffee table John had taken the cake off the top and placed it in front of Sherlock telling him to blow out his candles before he opened the box. Being treated to a mumbled lecture on the tradition of blowing out birthday candles and where it came from Sherlock had complied, blowing out the candles before lifting the lid on the box and peering in. Peering back out was a small boxer pup who blinked up at Sherlock curiously.
"He's kind of a present to you and to us both. I thought having a puppy around the flat could be nice," John had explained uncertainly after a few moments of watching the exchange. He wasn't sure that this was a good idea after all, the case they had worked on a month ago had taken them to a house with a young pup. John had watched in amazement as the pup fawned over Sherlock and Sherlock actually interacted back, petting it, rubbing its belly, pulling its tug rope. So when he had been scanning his brain on what the hell do you get a high functioning sociopath genius who has no desire for a lot of material items, can be destructive at times and gets bored easily, and when he wants something generally just steals it off John so that rules out anything that John already owned, the puppy had sprung to mind. Going through the pet shop he had been about to give in when he spotted the lone boxer pup sitting forlornly in its cage. The owner informed him that it had been the runt of the litter and no one else had wanted to by it because it had a damaged right back leg.
It was one of those emotional, overly sentimental moments Sherlock was always on at him for. But the puppy had reminded him so much of himself and Sherlock, loners, left to fend for themselves, faulty in some way that he had immediately asked to get everything it would need and was walking out the shop with it twenty minutes later to find a home for another outcast at 221B Baker Street. But now he wasn't sure it was a good idea.
"A puppy?" Sherlock finally spoke raising grey eyes to peer at John.
"Yes," John nodded slowly, Sherlock rarely if ever stated the obvious like this.
"For both of us, for the flat?" Sherlock carried on. Nodding uncertainly John wondered where he was going with this. "A step such as getting a puppy together would indicate that you planned on staying here with us for a long while," Sherlock tried to comment lightly but the flash in his eyes told John everything. Sherlock was scared that John would have enough and leave, that he would find somewhere else and someone more normal to share a flat with and Sherlock would be left on his own again, with no one that appreciated his genius and tolerated his moods, that understood him as much as anyone could understand Sherlock Holmes. What hadn't seemed like a second thought to John was a promise to Sherlock stronger than words could make.
"Yes for both of us. I thought it would do us good to have a pet," John commented lightly reaching into the box and pulling out the pup before flopping on the sofa beside Sherlock. "And both of us will be sticking around for a long while yet," He confirmed Sherlock's line of thought as he passed the puppy to Sherlock.
"Gladstone," Sherlock said after a moment.
"Hm?" John asked curiously distracted from watching with fond amusement as Sherlock and the puppy eyed each other, the puppy curled comfortably on Sherlock's lap.
"His name, Gladstone, from a doctors Gladstone bag, what do you think?" Sherlock turned to look at John, his eyes shining and happy.
"Gladstone…sounds good to me. Welcome home boy," John reached out and ruffled Gladstone's ears. That night as John had trudged to bed he heard Sherlock murmuring to Gladstone and smiled despite the thump of pain in his heart for the man as he murmured about the best birthday.
Gladstone had settled in well, turned out that the opposite to Sherlock and John he was incredibly lazy and spent most of the day sleeping. And then the summer had gotten even hotter. Old windows were tugged and yanked open as wide as they would go, fans were strategically placed and whirring full blast, electric bill be damned. And it was still too damned hot.
John had given in and dug out his wife beaters that he usually wore to the gym, t-shirts were even too hot and had made his way downstairs barefoot, black wife beater and jeans on. He was just pouring himself a glass of orange juice when he had heard Sherlock's footsteps freeze in the doorway. Wondering what was wrong John turned after a moment and caught the detectives gaze locked on the left side of his body, the wife beater revealed enough of his scar to capture the detective's attention. Instead of the analytical gaze he had expected Sherlock was staring at him with shock and…fear if John was reading him right.
"Sherlock?" John asked after a moment trying not to squirm uncomfortably at the gaze locked on his ruined flesh.
"I…I hadn't realised that it was so bad, you said shot," Sherlock tone was shocked and slightly accusing as he stepped further into the room.
"I was, but I caught an infection. The hospital out there wasn't the best equipped to deal with it and by the time they caught it the best way to stop it spreading was to cut out the flesh to give the medication a chance to work on the rest of it," John explained. He knew his scar wasn't a pretty one, one that woman would oo and ah over. A chunk of flesh was missing from the back of his shoulder, one large indent around the size of an apple, the front had a star shaped effect from where the bullet had torn through his flesh and then the wound getting infected, the veins around the scar were permanently damaged and an angry red colour all the time while being slightly raised. He was self conscious about it, he hadn't been able to look in the mirror for the first month after surgery, but as a doctor he knew that he was damned lucky that he hadn't lost the arm, the medical team had done their best to make sure he didn't so he counted his lucky stars. He wouldn't be of use to Sherlock in his adventures with only one arm.
"But…" Sherlock frowned deeply, a frown John was only used to seeing when Sherlock was contemplating his most complex mysteries when he was right in the centre of them. Though he had seen that look directed at him before, generally after he did something to protect Sherlock or put him first, or did something that Sherlock hadn't been expecting him to do, it was normally followed by Sherlock informing him he was 'most curious'. Except he hadn't done anything like that, he hadn't really done anything so he wasn't sure why exactly he was getting the look.
"Sherlock?" He asked hesitantly. People wondered often how he managed to read Sherlock to way he did, how he, plain Dr John Watson out of everyone, including Sherlock's own genius brother, managed to read and understand the self diagnosed sociopath better than anyone. How he could predict his moods and defuse them quicker than anyone else. He had tried explaining to Lestrade once when they were drunk on one of their nights out, but he had gotten a funny look, a giggle, a snort and then Lestrade had told him to get out a denial, so he hadn't bothered trying again with anyone and merely chose to shrug.
But it was Sherlock's eyes. Yes the man could seem cold as ice and blank as a piece of paper, yes he was a master actor and could fool most people upside down inside out if the fancy took him. But his eyes, his eyes told everything that John ever wanted to know. And they held so much in them that John didn't need his socially incapable, emotionally stunted housemate to say anything when he could just read it in his eyes.
He read the flash of pain and humiliation every time Donovan called him a freak…he had had to be held back from physically attacking her a few months ago when she had gotten particularly vicious and it had been more than just a flash of hurt. Everyone had been stunned, including Sherlock, as Lestrade struggled to hold back a swearing, threatening John from attacking the detective, and everyone knew John was not the type of man to hit a woman, but he had sworn he would make an exception, assault of a police officer be damned if she didn't watch her mouth. Well it had been a lot more colourful than that, including something about pathetic jealousy, an inferiority complex, a deep seated hatred of herself that she clearly needed to attack someone just because they weren't like herself, and didn't that make her a good cop, not to mention screw around with a married man. Even Sherlock had been standing blinking at him while Donovan was such a deep red John wondered how many weeks it would take for the colour to fade from her cheeks.
No, John could read everything he needed to to see passed the façade Sherlock had no doubt learnt to wear from an early age to protect himself. The emotions were there if you looked. Not to mention that his eyes changed shade with his mood. John had spent the first two months of living with Sherlock trying to figure out what damn shade his new housemate's eyes were. Were they grey, were they ice blue? But he had finally figured out they were both. When he was excited, happy, content, relaxed - as relaxed as Sherlock got - or when he had a cup of tea or a chocolate hobnob, for some reason, they were blue. When he was anxious, upset, angry, concerned, worried or frustrated they were grey. When he was just thoughtful, wondering, considering, or right after a case they were a blend of the two. So right now looking into grey eyes he knew that something was wrong.
"You could have died, that is a serious infection," Sherlock gritted out confusing John even more.
"But I didn't, they caught it in time. And I doubt I would have died, they would have taken the arm first," John said easily. He had long come to terms with what happened to him. Sure he hated the scar and covered it up as much as he could, and mostly refused to look at it in the mirror, and he still had the nightmares and pains from it, phantom or real.
"You could have died!" Sherlock suddenly roared angrily, loud enough to startle a yelp from poor Gladstone who had been dozing happily in a patch of sunlight falling onto the sofa, and apparently startle Mrs Hudson.
"Boys? Is everything alright?" She yelled worriedly up the stairs.
"Its fine Mrs Hudson!" John yelled back without breaking eye contact with Sherlock who was breathing heavily.
"Is one of you injured?" She yelled fairly calmly. It said a lot about their life where their landlady shouted with a fairly calm tone to ask if one of them was injured, or that it was a natural question and conclusion to come to.
"We're fine!" Sherlock snapped down the stairs.
"Alright, if you need an ambulance, just shout," She called before they heard her retreating back into her flat. Gladstone had lain back down but he was watching them with wide brown eyes curiously. Turning back to Sherlock John frowned worriedly.
"Sherlock, I'm fine, what's wrong? I didn't die, I didn't lose the arm, I just have one hell of an ugly scar and a stiff shoulder," John asked slowly.
"If you had died we would never have met," Sherlock said as though everything was clear. Except now John was very worried, Sherlock never stated the obvious like that.
"No, we wouldn't," John said slowly, his voice clearly saying he didn't get it.
"I would never have met you…and I would still be alone. I wouldn't have someone who…understands me and respects my work…I would…I would still be alone," Sherlock said awkwardly looking away from John to stare at the floor. Understanding to a point flooded through John, he knew Sherlock enough to know there was more to it, but Sherlock was like a Russian doll, you had to keep taking pieces away to get to the centre of things.
"No we wouldn't have met, but there is no way of knowing that you wouldn't have met someone else, another flatmate who respects and understands you," John smiled only to lose it at the fierce shake of the head he received and those piercing eyes drilling into his soul once again.
"No! No! No one understands me like you do and no one ever will,"
"Sherlock that's not true, people just need to get to know you first," John tried to comfort him.
"I don't want anyone else to understand me. I just need you! You are enough," Sherlock frowned.
"Sherlock more people understanding you and being friends with you won't change us," John said slowly.
"Yes, yes it will, because they will expect me to 'open up' and share with them, and tell them things and I have no desire to do that with people," Sherlock scowled. God John had never seen a grown man who could pout quite like Sherlock and not look silly.
"I am people and you talk and 'open up' to me when you are in the mood," John chuckled.
"No," Sherlock shook his head, curls bobbing with the movement.
"No?" John asked confused.
"No, you aren't people, you're John," Sherlock said firmly.
"And there is a difference?" John was feeling more and more confused with this conversation, with where it was going, with what Sherlock was trying to say, and what that damned extra heartbeat was doing showing up yet again around Sherlock. Maybe he should get himself checked out? Palpitations were never a good sign. Maybe he had heart disease, or high blood pressure - it certainly couldn't be normal living with Sherlock were things were likely to go boom if you looked at them funny.
"Yes," Sherlock nodded.
"Mind sharing it?" John sighed.
"You're my John, who doesn't find me weird or a freak or scary. Who thinks my deductions are fascinating and amazing and bloody brilliant and who doesn't get angry when I deduce something about him. You don't automatically think I am the murderer and don't expect me to go on a killing spree because I am bored. You believe that I am a good person even though I have shown my failings and the facts that I struggle to understand basic human social niceties and behavioural traits. You also enjoy adventure as much as I do and trust me to follow me without all the information. You provide companionship and friendship where I have never known it truly before, and you do not use me to further yourself. You sneak me food when I am distracted and loom after me even though you grumble, you stay around even though I am difficult to live with, I do not thank you for all the things that you do for me, I do not inform you of everything that I plan to do and keep you awake at all hours of the night. You are different, I do not grow bored of you and you surprise me when I think I have figured you out," Sherlock listed as though he was reciting the periodic table leaving John completely stunned.
"I am not different, I'm plain and boring," John spluttered not sure exactly what to say.
"No you are not. You are my John, and I find myself quite scared at the idea of having to live without you, or at the idea that I may never have met you," Sherlock said simply. And it clicked. John suddenly understood everything, he understood another aspect of Sherlock.
"Sherlock, have you ever had a relationship?" John asked slowly as he turned and flicked the kettle back on to boil, adding the water to their cups in the silence that followed before Sherlock answered slightly confused.
"What type of relationship? There are many relationship types in the world. I had a relationship with my mother and father, I have one with Mycroft and Molly and Mrs Hudson and Lestrade, I even have a negative relationship with Anderson and Donovan and…"
"A romantic relationship Sherlock," John clarified before Sherlock could wonder off into psychologically analysing all the various relationships he had in his life. Setting the two mugs at the kitchen table he motioned for Sherlock to sit down opposite him as he himself sat.
"I do not understand why you are asking this question," Sherlock frowned.
"It's important, please?" John requested softly.
"I had an attempt or two in university when I wished to appear normal and when I wished to understand what everyone was talking about. However I found them unappealing, a waste of time and disappointing so I have not done so since, no," Sherlock answered, but John read the discomfort in his eyes. Smiling warmly to show he wasn't judging he asked.
"Do you know what type of things couples do?"
"I have taken time to assess the mating rituals that humans perform in yes given that a lot of crimes are based around passion, sex and the feelings that couple form for each other and how they can be twisted into hate," Sherlock nodded with a frown.
"So you know that couples will go out together on dates to the movies, to the theatre, for walks, to the library, shopping, out for meals. That they will share their day with each other when they come home even though they either text or call throughout the day speaking, that they don't like to go a few hours without making contact with their partner a lot of the time. That they know when the other is upset and will do small things for them to try and make them feel better. That they will give them things of their belongings to use, or that they will just use their partners belongings without thought and even if the other may complain they don't really mind or do anything about it, even leave it somewhere convenient for the other to use. That they are able to spend time comfortably together in a room just doing different things or watching TV together and be content because the other is in the same room…"
"John those are all things that we do! And we aren't a couple!" Sherlock protested loudly looking disgruntled.
"Are you sure about that?" John smirked.
"What, of course not, we would know if we were," Sherlock crossed his arms.
"Are you sure about that? How about the fact that any girlfriend I have leaves because either you are even more insulting than normal, or because I have run out on one too many dates because you have text for the simplest of things?" John asked.
"That does not mean we are a couple," Sherlock frowned.
"Alright how about we go out for meals and automatically sit together, even you who dislikes people being in your personal space. When one of us have had a hard day we will sit together on the sofa instead of on our chairs, even you," John pointed out.
"If you don't want me to sit close to you then you only had to say," Sherlock scowled making to stand.
"Sherlock that's not what I am saying!" John snatched Sherlock's hand before he could storm away knowing they would never get back to this moment if Sherlock left now.
"Then what are you saying because I don't understand!" Sherlock snapped, his eyes flashing with confusion in their deep grey scanning John's face. Smiling warmly and comfortingly John tugged Sherlock back into his seat before dragging his own forward so they were knee to knee.
"Sherlock we act like a couple in every way except for the fact we don't kiss or have sex. Everyone else besides us have seen it, bloody hell Mrs Hudson saw the pull between us the first day I moved in!" John laughed, though it was a little hysterical.
"So you are saying we're a couple," Sherlock frowned deeper, his anxiety settling as his mind decided that this was a puzzle he had to figure out.
"Yes," John nodded.
"Just without the kissing and…sex," Sherlock repeated.
"And you are ok with the couple bit? That doesn't bother you?" Sherlock's voice was incredulous at this one.
"No," John grinned.
"And the kissing and..erm sex?" Sherlock asked, his voice not changing but his eyes were a lighter grey, meaning his was nervous.
"Wouldn't be protesting," John shrugged still grinning.
"You would have sex with me?" Sherlock choked clearly having expected that to be a no. John watched with amusement and delight as a blush lit up Sherlock's milk white perfect skin on his cheeks. "I no longer find this amusing John! If you wish to make fun of someone I suggest you go elsewhere and…"
"Sherlock do you honestly believe that I could or would tease you about something like this?" John asked seriously.
"No, logic and what I know of your character and the fact you are so defensive of me when other people insult me, then no you would not tease me about something like this. However you have shown no indication that you are anything but completely heterosexual, and you have not shown any sexual indication towards myself," Sherlock shifted in his seat, his eyes drifting down to where John's hand was still closed over Sherlock's wrist, except now John's thumb was running in circle over the inside of his wrist, seemingly subconsciously given his body language.
"Sherlock, sexuality isn't set in stone. It's just labels. Love is love for me, sure I have not shown any indication of relationships with men since I moved in here, but I have had them. It's the person that matters to me, not the sex and I have never had a connection or pull to anyone the way I have to you before, I guess I just ignored it because I was scared of losing what we had if there was no chance," John shrugged.
"But I annoy you, you get frustrated with me," Sherlock was feeling confused now, and that was something he both loved and hated to be.
"Sherlock we live together, hell we live in each other's pockets, there are very few hours of the day where we aren't together and that's generally when I am at work. Even the best couples snipe and get annoyed with each other when they live together, it's part of being a couple," John chuckled.
"So couples storm out when they have become annoyed with each other?" Sherlock asked slowly.
"Some yes, that is the way I deal with things so that I won't say things that I know I will regret. Just as its part of being a couple wanting to come home to you after an hour once I have calmed down, as it is part of being a couple for the same things that have annoyed me to find amusing at other times," John shrugged. He watched as Sherlock bit his lip, his mind probably going 10,000 miles a second as he pieced everything together and tried to figure it out, as he came to his choice that would change their lives from here on out.
"You want us to be a proper couple then? That is the point of this conversation is it not," Sherlock finally spoke, his eyes settling into a blend of blue grey.
"That's the point of the conversation yes Sherlock, I am asking if you would like to be a full couple instead of living as one," John nodded.
"Oh…you really want a relationship with me?" Sherlock's perfected mask slipped and the doubt and worry showed on his face and in his voice. He blinked when he suddenly found John in his personal space, inches away from him, his dark blue eyes locked with his own and his warm breath fanning over his face.
He found his breath catching and holding it as he waited to see if John was about to do what he thought he was. He breathed out through his nose when slightly chapped lips, thinner than his own, a slight taste of tea lingering on them, but warm, firm and completely John if there was a way to recognise someone's lips as the persons they belonged to when they were pressed against your own. A strong, calloused hand slipped up the back of his neck and buried into his curls, gripping the base of his neck as John pressed deeper into the kiss.
Sherlock's eyes fluttered shut as all the feelings that he had associated with John seemed to magnify and double with the simple press of their lips. Protection, safety, warmth, friendship, care, understanding, hope, life, living, heat, respect, admiration, complexity, simplicity, strength, love. Everything that he had always associated with John, everything the other man had brought into his life, everything he had unconsciously associated with the man who now had his arm wrapped around Sherlock's waist, his fingers clenching in Sherlock's curls and his lips coaxing and teasing an automatic response from Sherlock's.
Sherlock was stunned to find that the physical connection between himself and John managed to slow down and quieten his mind, it wasn't wandering off onto eighteen different subjects as it normally did, or spinning at an impossible but slightly tiring speed. Instead it was focused on John and only John, on the feelings John was creating in his chest, his stomach and his abdomen, taking in the feelings of John's lips and hands on his body and cataloguing the responses he had from them.
He was shocked to feel the growing arousal creeping over his body, reacting to the simple kiss. He was a man, he had been a teenager with hormones it wasn't like he had never felt aroused before, however his mind worked so fast that since he had become older he had been able to distract his body away from any stirrings or longings of arousal, any carnal desire that he had felt, any of his bodily needs were taken care of like food or sleep, he quickly took care of it when he could no longer ignore it but that was that. But now, his body seemed to be set on a slow burn, originating from the three points of contact John had with his body. His heart was beating faster in his chest and he could feel the pulse in his neck to match his heart, his head was spinning slightly and his skin felt as though it was tingling, which was ridiculous because with only skin to skin contact with John there was nothing that could make his skin tingle, but that it what it felt like.
"Does that answer your question?" John panted after he had slowly and clearly reluctantly pulled away, though his hand was still holding Sherlock's curls, his arm still around Sherlock's waist. Sherlock's eyes quickly scanned John taking in all the evidence that was in front of him to read the situation and read the truth in John. His eyes were dilated, his breathing quicker and he could see the slightly faster thump of his pulse in the jugular of his neck.
"Yes. So we are a couple?" Sherlock asked quietly.
"If that's what you want us to be," John nodded.
"I don't have much experience with these things John, I do not want to push you away or lose you," Sherlock frowned, the idea of John not being here making his heart clench.
"And if we could have so much more?" John murmured.
"Is it worth the risk?" Sherlock genuinely asked quietly, his eyes roaming desperately over John's face.
"Love is always worth the risk Sherlock," John smiled before pressing their lips together again.