A/N: Oh look, FLUFF! Fluffy fluff. Inspired by KCS's fluffy fics.
Contrary to popular belief, and yes, even the man himself, Sherlock Holmes was human. Entirely too human, honestly, and John knew that this annoyed the detective to no end. If it was at all possible, the man would probably turn himself into a robot or an android or a computer so everything would be considerably easier to deal with and delete anything that had nothing to do with his cases or anything he deems unimportant in his life.
And because Sherlock was human, John thought the man could probably afford to try and do some humanly chores around the flat though it would annoy the genius greatly. He'd given up trying to decide whether Sherlock's aversion to chores was because of his background of having helpers and servants and probably even an honest-to-god butler or because he considered himself above the banalities of mere mortals such as his ever-enduring flatmate John Watson.
John was in the process of trying to get Sherlock to at least attempt to clear out the papers scattered all over the flat by the Sherlock-sized hurricane that dug through case files and whatever else. John huffed as he surveyed the den, paper covering every inch that he could barely see the hardwood floor. It was bad enough that his military discipline and doctor orderliness railed against everything, but for Sherlock, he tried to ruthlessly squash it down because he vaguely understood the man.
But when he took one look at his chair (the couch is Sherlockterritory and John is entitled one of his own), and found it covered in different shirts soaked in the rusty colour of blood, that was the last straw.
"Sherlock, we're cleaning the flat, or I swear to all the heavens I willmove out." John said, threat utterly empty. As much as he voiced it, he knew he couldn't actually do it. Lord knows he was attached to the insufferable man, no matter how unlikely it was, and he felt like he was a surrogate brother, dad, and best friend all in one.
Sherlock however, for a second, looked at him with something akin to dread, and John almost regretted his words even as Sherlock stood from his position near the window and covered his expression with the annoyance that was more at home on the man's face.
John shook his head. "Look at the flat. It's a mess and it's starting to remind me of a battlefield between the army of filed notes on cases and the assembly of the experiment data."
"But John…" The detective repeated, but one look at his eyes and John knew that he had won.
"Sherlock, you don't want me to be the one who'll clean that up. I wouldn't know which ones are important and which ones are not, and you don't want me to chuck any accidentally into fireplace, yeah?"
Sherlock looked absolutely mortified. He lowered his violin and bow in one fluid motion, and carefully set them in the case, wiping down the strings and the bow before shutting the lid. "Fine." He glared at John, who stared back with a pleased smug.
"Well, while we're at it, might as well clean up the whole flat." John made his way gingerly into the kitchen. "There isn't a clean mug in sight, and thank God Mrs Hudson is not here to see this. She'd have a heart attack."
"You're clearly exaggerating." Sherlock mumbled, making John smile as he surveyed the mess in the kitchen.
His smile faded as he looked at the chaos.
The sink was filled to the brim with dirty dishes covered in who-knows-what, and John breathed as he settled himself. He could do this. He lived in a flat once with Harry Watson. Even if her things don't quite encompass Sherlock's level of clutter (the man wasn't usually like this; Sherlock was usually tidier and more orderly, but the lack of any interesting cases sent the detective into a particularly… destructive mood) it was still more than most people can generally handle.
His eyes settled on the table. Laboratory equipment was scattered all over the place. Beakers of every size were everywhere, filled with liquids of different colours in different hues that John was certain he could set up in a rainbow pattern. There was a set of vials with some blood plasma in them, and John decided he didn't even want to know who owned the blood Sherlock got it from. Erlenmeyer flasks and stirring rods were everywhere. The test tubes contained black goo in various amounts and consistencies, and evaporating dishes were scattered everywhere filled with moss, grass, some type of mold, and faeces.
Faeces. On the table where they sometimes ate, and more often, prepared food to eat.
That was it.
"Sherlock." John turned, his smile a little too predatory. "Sherlock, please don't tell me those are faeces, faeces on a table where we prepare our food."
Sherlock looked at him, eyes shining brightly with feigned innocence. "No?"
"Sherlock..!" John almost screamed. He exhaled audibly, threw his hands up in the air, and massaged his temples. "You know what, fine, fine, it doesn't matter, it's okay, we're cleaning it up - we're cleaning everything up, we don't want Mrs Hudson to evict us when she comes back from her vacation." He said. "So we're cleaning this all up. Everything." And before Sherlock could protest, John had a finger wagging at him. "And no, Sherlock, you may notkeep the bloody faeces on the table."
"John I needthose for an experiment!"
"It's completely safe!"
John levelled at him patented look #34, the one that says 'Sherlock, you're not going to win this one, I am a doctor I know sanitary and our place is not a lab and please good god please we livehere" with one stare. Sherlock always buckled under it, and John merely grimaced and continued picking up the papers on the ground.
John watched Sherlock stoop and pick up the papers for a moment, and came to the conclusion that he wanted the kitchen cleaned up before anything else. It was unsanitary, not to mention gross (it was one of the few things in medical school that he really honestly hated to work on), and for crying out loud, it was a place where they sometimes ate and prepared food. The HSE would have a fit.
He was honestly started to reconsider the wisdom of eating at the table in the kitchen. This was why he ate in the den.
"Maybe we should start with the kitchen first." John said. He placed a hand on Sherlock's shoulder, and steered him towards the kitchen. The other man protested a little by trying to shake John off, but John's hand remained firm as he pushed Sherlock in the general direction of the sink.
"Wash or dry?"
"What?" Sherlock asked, blinking at John. Honestly, with his expression, one would think the man has never washed the dishes in his life.
John repeated the question, and Sherlock seemed to mull it over. He grabbed the dish towel wordlessly, and looked much like a child pulled away from playtime to do chores.
Which was, essentially, what John was doing to Sherlock and when this realization struck him, John couldn't stop giggling. Sherlock looked at him with interest and puzzlement, and John could only imagine what thoughts Sherlock had right now in regards to his rather odd flatmate.
John picked up a pan that he was certain used to be silver and definitely notbrown, and his face wrinkled in disgust as he rinsed the offending kitchenware when it produced a smell that was a mix between coffee beans, tea leaves and a dash of rubbing alcohol. "Sherlock, are you sure that we can still eat from these?"
"Of course I'm sure. It's quite safe." Sherlock said with some level of indignation, giving John his look #25: 'Don't be an idiot John, you know perfectly well I am not an idiot and wouldn't knowingly poison the both of us with my experiments'.
Hm, #25. Maybe, John thought idly, he should produce a series of blog posts on these stares and looks that conveyed a lot of what they wanted to tell each other without a single uttered word; that would surely entertain his readers. It would also explain to anyone who loved to speculate on their relationship, John decided, what those so-called meaningful looks meant. Just so people would shut up about it.
A sharp sting on his bare arm brought him out of his thoughts (John had rolled up the sleeves of his jumper earlier to keep it dry) and John turned to glare at Sherlock, who held the towel loosely in one hand. Sherlock raised an eyebrow at him, giving look #32 'I did nothing, what are you staring at?', and John rolled his eyes. "Patience. I only have two hands."
"I don't have all day to work on cleaning. We should get started to finish quickly." said the detective, staring at John with an innocent look that was, to John's surprise, actually Uncategorized in his Expressions Index.
John didn't buy it, however. "You've been moping around the flat for the past few days, Sherlock, case-less and bored to death. Look at what you did to the flat." John gestured, flicking some droplets of water on Sherlock's face. "Would you rather I didn't help and let you face Mrs Hudson's wrath on your own?"
Sherlock had the audacity to look offended at this, and John blinked back at him a little confused. "I do not mope!" The detective defended, and that sent John into a rather giggly state that wasn't becoming of a man his age.
Sherlock started laughing as well, and the man flicked the towel at John again. John grinned at this, and splashed some water back at his friend. The two grownmen (although honestly, John was willing to concede that he has regressed quite a bit ever since meeting Sherlock and aged more than he would have imagined, as well) chased each other around the kitchen, with Sherlock flicking the towel at John and John splashing him with water from a graduated cylinder he grabbed off the table.
They were acting like two brothers enjoying time together in the midst of house chores, and John was rather pleased with this observation. He liked loosening up every once in a while, and liked that Sherlock was loosening up a little, as well. Even if they made a little more mess splashing around like that. Well, that was fine. It just meant they had to mop the floor as well, and surely the floors needed it anyway.
They finished the dishes soon afterwards, working methodically as John washed and rinsed, and Sherlock wiped and put them away. They were rather remarkably efficient, showing testament to how well the two uncannily worked together. John remarked that they could always fall back on dishwashing jobs if ever they run out of cases and John retires from practice and they needed extra money, and the mock-mortified look Sherlock gave him followed by a good-natured laugh sent John into another fit of giggles.
John tossed two of the dishes in the bin, some sort of green slime coating a section and seemingly crawlingtowards John's hand, but not before Sherlock scraped a sample of it onto a watch glass. That man and his experiments. Sometimes John wanted to tell Sherlock to just rent 221C or borrow Mrs Hudson's attic and convert it into a lab to keep everything out of the kitchen.
Speaking of experiments, it was time they tackled the clutter of laboratory equipment on the table. "How do you propose we do this, Sherlock?" John asked, not certain on how to clean up Sherlock's things. They are Sherlock'sthings, after all, and quite honestly John wouldn't even touch them, preferably, but he wanted to help Sherlock get things done.
Besides if he backed out now, Sherlock wouldn't finish cleaning everything. John wasn't entirely kidding about Mrs Hudson's wrath.
"I'd rather we not, actually."
John rolled his eyes, and shook his head. "No. If you're not going to clean them up I'm grabbing a garbage bag and donating all of the usable items to the nearest school."
"Fine, fine, gather all of the unused equipment and we'll take care of them first." Sherlock directed with a little resignation, and John handed him the nearest beaker. Sherlock reached up to a cupboard and put most of everything away.
That left them with the test tube rack and the black goo, the evaporating dishes, the beakers, the blood plasma, and the green slime on the watch glass.
For a moment, John wondered if Sherlock purposefully leaves the dishes messy like that so he could observe and experiment on whatever growth comes out of it. He decided that it wasn't worth it to know, and simply stared at Sherlock, waiting for more orders. "What about these?" He asked, prompting the man when he realized Sherlock had retreated into his mind palace again, staring vacantly at one of the beakers.
"I knewthat was why it turned red." The detective-scientist-madman exclaimed, pointing excitedly at the beaker with red liquid. "Potassium thiocyanate! How could I have forgotten that!" Sherlock berated himself, slightly rubbing the back of his head.
John coughed to catch Sherlock's attention, and gestured at the things still on the table. Sherlock frowned a little. "I cannot get rid of all of them, John. I'm observing some of the chemicals and repeating the experiments because I had to throw them away would be pointless."
John knew he wasn't going to win, well, not completely, anyway, and he conceded to at least move most of the items to one side of the table. "But I won't have the faeces or that green slime on the table. Especially the faeces. Get rid of those, Sherlock, oh god, I give you enough leeway for various body parts already."
Sherlock huffed, but saw reason and threw them into the bin. Before John could even argue about it, he said that the black goo in the test tubes were perfectly safe, and that he would transfer the slime into an evaporating dish and cover it so it would not escape.
John nodded at this, and proceeded to wipe the table with some disinfectant when he slipped on a puddle they made earlier, he knewthey should've mopped first, knocking a beaker of orange liquid on himself. "Oh bloody hell…"
His white jumper was fast becoming orange, and something burned on his skin. John shrieked (in a very manlyway, really), and Sherlock's eyes widened and hurriedly sent John into the bathroom for a rinse. John shredded his jumper far too quickly before he stepped into the shower, not looking around to see what might be swimming in the tub in the far corner, shutting the door on Sherlock (who was following closely behind him - thank you, Sherlock, but he could take care of himself) and scrubbing himself with fingers to rinse as much of the chemical off him as possible.
When he emerged from his room after a few minutes (he moved from the bathroom into his own en-suite after the initial rinsing) wearing a fresh pair of pants and a new jumper, John was relieved to find the kitchen table devoid of any lab equipment, with Sherlock glancing at him guiltily as he mopped the floor. John merely laughed, telling Sherlock that it was all right. "I hadn't had any sort of acid spilled on me before. That was certainly new." He said good-naturedly, and Sherlock grinned at him with smile #19, 'I'm sorry about that, but I'm happy you're taking it well - here I'm doing this for you to make up for it', and for John, that was enough.
The kitchen was all clean, and it was time to move on to the den.
Sherlock and John stood side-by-side, looking at the chaos in front of them. "You're right." Sherlock conceded, and John blinked at him incredulously. Did Sherlock just admit John was right? John particularly cherishedthese moments. Sherlock frowned apologetically at John, and John smiled victoriously. "It is rather disorganized."
"Understatement." John said, and tiptoed around a stack of papers. "I'll take this half, and you take that half." He gestured at the side of the fireplace, and Sherlock nodded.
"Throw anything without a heading away. They're merely scratch papers and unimportant." Sherlock instructed, and John nodded. He set up a bin in the middle of the room, and the two worked on each of their sections silently until John spoke up.
"Sherlock, why don't you go all digital and transcribe these into your laptop or one of those external hard drives?"
"Says the man who types with two fingers at around ten words per minute?"
John shook his head at this, smiling, and tossed a crumpled piece of paper at Sherlock's head with an accurate aim as the man turned back to his work. It hit the detective at the back of the head, and Sherlock turned to him with a shocked expression.
John levelled him a good imitation of Sherlock's innocent-looking #32, and Sherlock laughed at this, throwing a ball of paper back at John. John ducked, and tossed another back at Sherlock, and that was the start of their mini paper-ball fight.
John was clearly winning, and Sherlock protested that it was only because there was more surface area of him to hit. John laughed at this, and gloated that for once, being freakishly tall was a disadvantage for Sherlock. Sherlock merely scowled, and John laughed even more until the detective started laughing as well.
They looked around, and found that the room was now littered with small balls of paper in addition to some of the scattered paper earlier even if they had made a decent enough dent in cleaning the den.
Another round of brotherly competition began when Sherlock decided that he wanted to show John up on who can toss more paper balls in the bin. The man never was a graceful loser. But John seemed to be winning once again, and Sherlock gave up with a huff, opting to toss one at John again, which hit him on top of the head.
This sent Sherlock into a bit of happy laughter, and John laughed as well, pleased that Sherlock was laughinglike this, freely, without holding back. They went back to their task, and eventually finished up cleaning the whole den, which was the usual consequence of working hard at a chore for hours.
They plopped onto Sherlock's couch afterwards, exhausted after all that cleaning. John leaned heavily against Sherlock, who leaned back on his friend heavily as well.
"Well. I hope we didn't miss a spot." John quipped, sending Sherlock into another wave of laughter, and John grinned at that.
Neither man noticed that they fell asleep like that.
When Mrs Hudson opened the door, she was met with merry laughter from her boys in the den. She'd come back from a vacation at a friend's in Derbyshire, and it was pleasant to hear that her… well, she considered them her children, with everything that she does to try and take care of them (despite her insistence that she wasn't their housekeeper), were enjoying themselves. She dropped her bags off in her kitchen and drank a little water before making her way to their den to check on her two tenants.
The sight that met her warmed her heart. Friends or not (and no, she didn't believe they were simply that, but that wasn't any of her business now, was it?), the boys looked positively adorable as they leaned on each other, dozing. She glanced around the den, surprised that it actually looked more or less pristine (she expected it to look like an earthquake shook the flat or that something had exploded somewhere, but she was confident that the good doctor would hold the detective back), and even more shocked that the table had no experiments whatsoever.
"Mrs Hudson?" A voice called out to her in the den, and Mrs Hudson returned to look at the two boys stretching and yawning a little like two adorable children waking from a little nap. "Welcome back." John said.
"We cleaned up for you." Sherlock piped up, making Mrs Hudson smile.
"Of course, dear. Thank you." She said to them both, and made her way out into the hall again. She needed to go into the loo, and maybe check how the bathroom has been doing. Even if the boys said they cleaned, well, she might trust the pair with a lot of things but this was certainly not one of them.
She smiled at the thought. Her boys.Well.
Whatever she would find in the bathroom, she'd forgive them.
John stood up, stretching a little. He glanced at his watch, and decided he could go for a snack. There must be a pack of biscuits left in the fridge behind the hand in the foil. "Sherlock, tea?" He asked the detective, who stretched out lazily in the couch, now that John'd left. Sherlock nodded, and groped around for his violin case, and retrieved the instrument with loving care and started playing something that sounded vaguely familiar to John.
"Bach?" He called out as he set the kettle on to boil.
"Vivaldi." Sherlock answered, to which John said "ah" in reply.
A womanly shriek interrupted their conversation, and Sherlock stopped playing the violin with a small screech. John almost dropped the mug he was holding.
"Boys! What did you leave in my bathroom?" Mrs Hudson screamed, and John and Sherlock looked at each other, mortified.
They did miss a spot, after all.
Reviews would be much appreciated :D thank you for reading!