A/N: A little ficlet for you all. Reviews are love.
It had been a bad day. John had been expecting it of course, oversleeping his alarm had just been the start of it all. When he'd leapt out of bed it wasn't to find breakfast waiting or even someone to rant at about the time. No John was left with an empty flat, a burst water main outside leaving them none inside and the last of the milk being used as a swimming pool for half a dozen rather dead looking spiders on the kitchen counter. The surgery hadn't proved much better, Sarah already on a somewhat short fuse with him since their equally short romance had ended with John missing yet another date as he chased Sherlock around town after a man who was later to be known as the Cold Fish Killer (John had happily not taken the blame for that title, that was purely down to the genius of the British press). For his lateness he'd ended up in the smallest surgery room and seemed to have the run of the most disgusting or annoying patients who either oozed or moaned at him for nearly eight straight hours.
Finally a break came and he sat back in his chair with a sigh, pulling out his phone and running through the various messages that had accumulated throughout the day. He managed a small smile as the majority were from Lestrade, bemoaning Sherlock's antics on whatever case they were on. The last few even managed to bring a small bubble of laughter to his lips at the desperation in the inspector's tone.
'Seriously John, you live with this? You're a braver man than me.'
'Bloody hell, I wish you were here, he's seriously off the leash today. I don't know whether to stop Anderson from hitting him or just let him so we get some peace.'
'Are you his registered doctor or should I just inform his next of kin when I kill him?'
'John, I swear, he's coming back to you in PIECES!'
John laughed at the final line before tapping his own reply.
'I'm sure his brother knows someone that could piece him back together, hardly worth the effort or the blood. How are you getting on with the actual case?'
The reply was almost instantaneous but it made John's heart sink a little.
'Nowhere fast. Boy wonder keeps coming up with wild theories but we aren't getting far. It's a tricky one, reckon we'll be here all night. Sorry mate. We're at the Yard right now if you want to join us?'
John almost acquiesced but fatigue made his bones feel heavy and he rubbed his bad shoulder, the ache having been lingering since the morning. He sighed, knowing he would be neither use nor ornament at the Yard anyway, once Sherlock was on the scent of a case he barely noticed anyone who entered or left the room he was in unless they were of importance to the Work and that included John. Resigned to an evening on his own, John quickly tapped out a reply.
'I think I'll give it a miss. See you on the next one.'
He had almost returned his phone to his pocket but took it out once more and, despite knowing it was futile, sent Sherlock a text.
'Hope you find the answers you need. Let me know when you're done, I'll be at home.'
He knew he needn't wait for a reply and returned his phone to his pocket as his intercom buzzer beeped once more and he turned his attention back to his patients.
The close of his day at the surgery ended as it had started, the last patient so cantankerous and desperate to prove there was something wrong with him that John had nearly been forced to call on Sarah in the hope that a second opinion would placate the man. Finally an instruction to take a vitamin pill a day and eat better was enough to convince the man of a cure-all and he finally left, leaving John exhausted and glad that the day was done. With the thought of nothing more than a night in front of the telly to propel him home, John left the surgery not even bothering to suppress a groan as he saw the familiar black limousine pull up alongside the pavement.
The door opened and the ever ethereal Anthea stepped out, her smile alone telling him that he had little choice but to get in. John knew there was no point in fighting and acquiesced, sliding into the car and looking up in surprise as the door closed before Anthea had returned to her seat. The car moved away with John alone in the back seat and he began to worry that it wasn't Mycroft's car he had climbed into, Irene Adler already having fooled him months before with a black limousine and an attractive woman. He considered texting Sherlock but he was unsure whether even his mortal peril would drag him from a case let alone a simple conundrum such as whose car he was in. He kept his eyes trained on the scenery going passed, hoping at least to know roughly where he was if the worst came to the worst. He was surprised therefore to see the familiar streets that led to home and before too long he found himself pulling up outside Baker Street.
He got out but had no chance to thank his driver as they headed away, leaving him on the darkening pavement that was illuminated by the dull yellow street lights. He fumbled for his keys and unlocked the door, hearing Mrs Hudson humming in her own flat as he ascended the stairs. He contemplated popping in to see her but the thoughts of receiving stories of her Bridge club's latest antics would only compound the headache that was blossoming behind his eyes. He paused at the top of the stairs as he heard faint music echoing from the flat before he pushed the door open on the scene before him. The fire danced happily in the hearth, almost the only illumination in the room save for the reading lamp that hung over Sherlock's chair. A soft symphony echoed from the speakers, turned down low enough that the sound wasn't at risk from being at all tinny, and the detective himself kept time with an idle hand while the other held a book that looked old and well worn. John watched as the hand absently conducting the music reached down and caught up a half full glass of wine, the cut glass only adding to the elegance of the action.
"Case all finished?" said John when it seemed his presence was going to be ignored.
"They've got what they need from me, I've left Lestrade to do the leg work," said Sherlock before he smiled to himself, "Good God I sound like Mycroft."
John frowned as Sherlock seemed more intent on his book than his presence, "My day was rubbish, thanks for asking," he said, "I've had three cases of flu, four baby jabs, a case of chicken pox and several episodes of hydrochondria."
"You should really see a doctor for all that," said Sherlock, looking up towards the kitchen as a timer beeped.
"Are you cooking?" said John.
"Experiment," said Sherlock, "The sheep entrails I needed arrived this morning, Mrs Hudson was somehow quite happy to pass them on to me."
John grimaced, "I don't even want to know," he said tiredly, "I'm going for a bath, try not to blow anything up for a bit."
Sherlock cocked an eyebrow but said nothing, turning back to his book and the music.
John scowled and headed towards the bathroom, hoping that he would find nothing living in there and his robe still where he'd left it. What he found surprised him more than even finding Sherlock home had done, the bath was already filled with steaming hot water with an equally steaming cup of tea set on the rim beside it. He almost choked in shock before he headed back to the living room but Sherlock's chair was empty, the detective nowhere in sight. Deciding not to waste the opportunity John returned to the bathroom, discarding his clothes from the day before he slipped beneath the welcoming heat of the water.
The occasional bash or clang from the kitchen beyond didn't bother him in the slightest, John was quite used to the experiments by now and new whatever damage would be put right even if the detective grumbled about it. He wasn't sure how long he'd spent but the knock on the door startled him out of his reverie before Sherlock's voice echoed through the wood.
"I'm beginning to think you may have expired in there," said Sherlock, "I'll be proved innocent of it in the end but you know what they'll think if I'm left to deal with your corpse."
"I dread to think what you'll do with my corpse," said John, "I'll be out in a minute if it's safe, you've been clanging around a hell of a lot in there."
Silence was the response but John heard the other man wander away back to the kitchen. John climbed out of the cooling water, glad his shoulder felt looser from the heat before he dried off, slipping on his robe and pyjama bottoms that hung on the back of the door next to Sherlock's eponymous blue silk dressing gown. John let his fingers tease the luxurious material for a moment before he opened the door, rubbing a towel over his hair. He'd barely gone a step when darkness enveloped him and he reached up to grab the blindfold over his eyes.
"Relax, it's only me," said Sherlock against his ear.
John felt his muscles relax but anticipation still thrummed through his veins, "I don't know if that scares me more," he said, "What's this in aid off?"
"I would have thought the blindfold would be enough to denote a surprise," said Sherlock, soft lips skimming the sensitive skin behind John's ear, "You really didn't think I'd forget did you?"
John didn't get a chance to answer as he was moved bodily forward, knowing when he finally reached the living room and the soft rug between their chairs. The blindfold was whipped from his eyes and he had to blink in the low light from the fire, a smile highlighting his features at the sight before he turned to the man behind him.
"That looks frighteningly like a romantic dinner," said John, wrapping his arms around his lover's neck, "I thought when we started this little thing of ours we agreed to keep to the status quo outside of the bedroom."
Sherlock smiled, "You took my hand the other day at the Yard when you thought no one was looking and I think its time we took another step," he said, "Birthdays are meant for grand pronouncements aren't they?"
John raised himself on his toes and pressed a kiss to the firm, full lips, "Its not the grand pronouncements that I love you for Sherlock, it's the little things," he said, "Its coming home from a case before the chase is up, its getting your brother's lackeys to drive me home after a rotten day, its running me a bath and cooking me dinner just because its another however many years since I came into the world. I love you for all of those and I love you for the fact that you are confident enough to let me bring us into the light."
Sherlock smiled, glad that he had made the correct choice for them both, no more hiding, no more secrets, the rumour mill could run riot and he no longer cared. Let Donovan, Anderson and even Lestrade make their predictions for its failure, let them warn John off and let them threaten Sherlock not to break his heart. They knew what strength already lay between them.
"Happy Birthday John."
John smiled, kissing him once more before he looked down at the feast laid out on the carpet, "You know, you've not blown up the new microwave yet which means we could heat this up later," he said, fingers already unbuttoning the soft purple shirt his lover wore, another little thing he often did when he had found out how much John adored it, "I want to unwrap my present now."
Sherlock didn't need to answer, following the older man's lead back into their bedroom as he realised it was indeed the little things that mattered; it was John not getting riled when he blew things up, it was John not bemoaning having to work while Sherlock chased criminals around town, it was John accepting Sherlock and the time it had taken for him to want their relationship public, it was the fact that John would be there every morning.
Let the rumour mill talk.