Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners, Arthur Conan Doyle and in their BBC version Stephen Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Stephen Thompson. The original characters and plot are mine. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N:This is the third opus in my 'Dance' series, after I Like to Watch You Dance and Let Me Dance for You. It would certainly make more sense to read those two first. Oh and as always, reviewers are loved :)
Edit: This story is being betaed by TheRimmerConnection. All my thanks!
DANCE IS CHEMISTRY
Chapter 1: Waking
Sherlock had been awake for at least an hour, frozen on the spot in John's arms, until he dared extract himself from the mess of their tangled limbs and sneak into the safety of the kitchen. Well, safety... At least he could pretend everything was perfectly normal.
Right. Wasn't it easy to forget the fact that you'd just been about to kill yourself because your archenemy had broken you beyond repair, that your flatmate thought the best cure was to lap dance for you until you were making out on a chair and that you spent the night together on the couch? Sherlock groaned, rubbing his temples.
Several courses of action crossed his mind. Get into the shower. That one didn't sound bad, but for some reason he just couldn't bring himself to get up from his chair and wash. It would be necessary at some point, and he knew it. Yet he was repelled by the thought of having to touch his own body, even if it was just to wash it, after it had been touched by so many people in one day (and by too many people, he meant by people at all). He shivered and swallowed with some difficulty. What in the world had he got himself into? He was so confused, and had no idea whatsoever of what was expected of him now. John had effectively saved his life, but what was it worth?
John had known exactly what to do to bring him back, and it still amazed Sherlock. Of course, they lived together, so he was bound to know a few things about him and his way of thinking or what he held important in everyday life, but to be able to undo Moriarty's breaking... No, he corrected himself, he hasn't. He had just broken himself to pieces too and merged their shattered remains together. So what were they now?
Sherlock let his head fall dramatically onto the kitchen table and was suddenly bothered by a peculiar smell on his shirt. One he was familiar with, but wasn't used to smelling in his flat. He started. Blood. John's blood. Jumping to his feet he charged out of the kitchen and burst in on a still sleeping John. Grabbing him by the arm, he turned him on his back. His eyes widened at the sight of the scar and stitches. He started shaking him.
"John. John, wake up. John. John! We must get you to a hospital! John! JOHN!"
John woke up with a jolt and instinctively searched for his handgun, then realized he was in the living-room with an eerie blue gaze fixed on him. It all hit him when he saw his friend's worried expression.
"Sherlock... What's wrong? Shouting all of a sudden..."
"John, you're seriously injured, we must get you to the hospital or...There's no time to talk, put on some clothes and let's go!"
"Oh John I know you're slow but please won't you hurry?"
Sherlock gulped and fell back onto the chair he'd spent the previous night sitting in. They stared at each other. John was still naked except for his boxers, and Sherlock was completely dishevelled and stained with at least five different bodily fluids. His eyes on John's scar, he didn't dare utter a single word. John, on the other hand, was fascinated by his friend's appearance and was having a hard time forming coherent thoughts. Finally, he said:
"Look, I told you already. I can take care of that myself. I just have to disinfect it and stitch it back. No big deal."
"No big deal?" Sherlock repeated in disbelief.
"Yes. No big deal," John echoed firmly.
They fell silent for a moment.
"How long have you been awake?"
"An hour or so. Maybe two. Or three."
"Did you get any sleep at all?"
He averted his gaze. Carefully, John moved closer to him, sitting on the edge of the couch.
"Sherlock? Sherlock, look at me."
"Are you sure it's fine not going to..."
"Shh. It's all right. We're done talking about that."
"Don't you 'shh' me! I'm not a child!"
John couldn't help but chuckle, and Sherlock's indignant look didn't help either. It was so endearing John had to stop himself from kissing him on the spot. He blushed. Now it was his turn to feel awkward. Stop this! I have to be the reasonable one here. He caught Sherlock observing him and his cheeks turned crimson when he smirked. But then he seemed to realize what he was doing and he looked away.
"Why did you do it?"
Because I love you. I love you to distraction, thought John.
Instead he said:
"Did you enjoy it?"
"Did you want it?"
John understood the pause meant 'eventually'. Because at first Sherlock hadn't wanted it. He hadn't wanted anything.
"Well, so did I."
Sherlock turned a disoriented look on him. John thought some physical contact would be good, and took his hand, eliciting a shiver from his partner.
"You have to go and fix this wound, John," Sherlock said, tracing the scar gently, avoiding the undone stitches. "We should have taken care of it before we fell asleep."
John leant in and rested his head on Sherlock's shoulder – he stiffened and his grip tensed a little, but he didn't protest. Breathing in the tousled black curls, John stroked his friend's hand soothingly, running circles with his thumb.
"What did you rack your brain about while I was still sleeping?"
At first Sherlock considered denying it, but then he thought that would be rather insulting. This whole affair was so confusing. He still felt something gnawing in the pit of his stomach – fear, perhaps, or still self-disgust?
"Hey. I'm here."
"I know you are."
"John, I've... discovered things."
Sherlock noticed he relished pronouncing John's name even more than before. Stupid, he thought, slapping himself mentally.
"Good things, I hope?"
Sherlock nodded. He could tell John didn't really know where this was going, and so went on tentatively, averting his eyes.
"When I discover things, I want to experiment..."
John blinked. This was a little too convoluted for a first morning. Of course he hadn't expected Sherlock to stay in bed with him – they weren't even on a bed anyway – or to make him breakfast and whatnot. But he hadn't expected a frenzied consulting detective shouting about stitches and hospital either, or this now... Discoveries? Experiments? What was he on about? It was too early for chemistry riddles.
Chemistry. Oh. Oh. Why hadn't he seen this coming? John closed his eyes. He had. Of course he had. Well, good news for the body, bad news for the heart. He ignored how silly that sounded even in his own mind.
"You want to experiment on me."
It wasn't really a question but he still managed to sound nonplussed about it.
"On us, John. I want to experiment on us."
This startled him. Us? So there was such a thing? Sherlock stood up abruptly and stepped away.
"Of course if you don't want to, I'll understand, I–"
"It's fine. Naturally it was only a one-time thing, I'm sorry I asked, I was just–"
"Don't worry about it. You have worried yourself enough, and I'm... Thank you."
He just stood there, head down. Not actually curling in on himself, but still looking shy. John stared, mesmerized. That 'thank you' made him want to stand up and embrace Sherlock there and then, like a koala bear curled up to its tree, and hold him tight. Literally. And forever. At this point he didn't even find the thought absurd.
"Will you stop babbling and listen to me?"
He stood up and took the pale hands in his, intertwining his rough fingers with Sherlock's long, slender ones.
"I'd love to. Experiment on us."
Sherlock squirmed. That didn't sound right. Had John misunderstood? He wasn't asking him out so to speak.
"John, I didn't mean–"
"I know. As I said, experiment all you want." I'm yours.
He hadn't actually had time to finish saying it the previous night, and he certainly wouldn't say it now. Because that did sound absurd – not to mention incredibly cheesy. John had never understood the phrase until now. 'I'm yours.' You can't be somebody's property because you can't own a person. You can pretend and believe you do, but you can never know – because it's another person and you're not in their head, not under their skin, not in their blood pumped by heart beats, not in the air of their lungs... John took a deep breath. This was crazy. It would definitely kill him.
"You can do whatever you want."
Sherlock's breath caught in his throat, but John went on before he could say a thing.
Something like fear flickered in the opalescent eyes, and John felt the urge to drink it all up.
"... you have to tell me first. Not in detail, but the general idea of what you intend to do. Whether you perform it on me or yourself."
"Do you think I could hurt you?" Sherlock asked, sounding offended and almost hurt.
"I think you could hurt yourself. And not with the right mindset."
Sherlock arched an eyebrow.
"Because there's a right mindset for such a thing?"
He nodded. John chuckled.
Sherlock blinked. Twice. Then blushed, hard. He tried to squirm away from John's grasp but the doctor kept their hands firmly entwined.
"Rule number two."
"How many are there?"
"Think of it as safety guidelines, like using goggles, aprons and gloves when doing chemical experiments."
"I don't wear aprons."
John smirked and tried to ignore the unexpectedly arousing mental image – God this was so silly...
"Rule number two: we don't run away from this. If we want to stop, we say so."
At this Sherlock squeezed their hands and furrowed his eyebrows.
"John. I don't want you to leave. You're my best friend. The only one I've ever had. I need you in my life."
John stared dumbfounded, rendered speechless. Sherlock's eyes were burning – with determination, fury, passion? He had no idea. He couldn't think straight at the moment. But Sherlock wasn't frantic, wasn't even aroused or anything. Those pupils were blazing with something much deeper, and John had no idea a friendship confession could ever be so... intense.
"I won't experiment if it will jeopardize what we have. Had..." He sighed in frustration. "I don't know where we're standing, John. This... this is new. It's confusing. Not you. Not us."
John arched an eyebrow.
"But my body is confusing." Then he added as an afterthought, frowning even more: "And so is yours."
He looked back up almost excitedly and John couldn't help but visualize a little kid, eyes shining and amazed at a new, fascinating toy.
John tried not to burst out laughing – seriously, what was he on about? He couldn't hold back an amused and puzzled smile, looking inquisitively at Sherlock.
"It's not boring."
As the words dawned on him, John's eyes widened. His vision blurred a little, although no tears came out – he wasn't on the verge of crying; just of falling even deeper in love with his friend, if that was even possible.
Sherlock, keeping their fingers laced, wrapped his arms around John's lower back gingerly, and started to sway softly. He sighed and brought his cheek against the smaller man's ear, and John revelled in the freshness of the skin being pressed to the side of his head.
"I don't know what we have. But I know when I thought I'd lost it, I..."
He swallowed, groping for words.
"... didn't like it," he concluded with a frown, and if John had seen his face he couldn't have resisted kissing him because it was positively adorable.
John chuckled against the black mop of hair and let himself be swayed against Sherlock's chest – he felt slightly trapped, what with his arms being twisted behind his own back just because the self-centred git wanted to hug him and simultaneously keep his hands in his. As he hummed and rested his head on the angular shoulder, John thought he couldn't have been happier to oblige.
He knew Sherlock was already testing, exploring.
"I don't know what will happen. That's the whole point of an experiment. But I don't want you to..."
There were so many words. Hate me. Despise me. Fear me. Find me repulsive. Because you should, shouldn't you? His throat tightened and stifled the words that wouldn't come out. He felt his pulse throb in his chest and resonate against John's. Finally, he croaked:
"People say I'm a freak."
"They're right. I'm not normal."
"But normal is boring."
"Not to you," Sherlock whispered.
OK, time to stop this downward spiralling. Remaining trapped in the long, awkward arms, John put enough distance between them to look Sherlock in the eye with resolve.
"But in fact, no one's really normal around you. Lestrade is a crazy enough D.I. to ask for your help on cases and for following you all the way to Dartmoor. Mrs. Hudson puts up with you and can fool CIA agents. Molly Hooper enjoys working at the morgue even more than playing with her cat and falls only for madmen. I'm not even going to start on the subject of Mycroft or Irene Adler – not to mention Moriarty's obsession with you. As for myself... I get off on danger and am addicted to the thrill you give me. I'm not even gay and yet I always put you before my girlfriends. I ignore body parts and clean up the remains of failed experiments while I eat my toast in the morning. I work at the clinic in the day as I answer your texts and do research for you, that is, when I'm not ditching the job altogether or sleeping off the previous night. I come home for tea and force you to eat as if I were your babysitter and not your flatmate, follow you on crime scenes, watch crap telly and write on my blog before running around London after criminals – or pursued by them. If I wasn't living with you, I'm sure I'd be the madman in the house."
Sherlock was piercing him with his gaze and seemed to be hanging on his every word. John grinned.
"You are a freak. And so are we."
A/N:So, should I make Sherlock wear an apron? ;p